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When Should You Add Your Child to Your Car Insurance Policy?

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Deciding when to add your teenage or young adult child to your car insurance policy can be a big decision for parents. On one hand, adding them as a driver will increase your premiums. But on the other hand, you want to make sure they are properly covered when they start driving. Here are some tips on when you should add your child to your auto insurance and how to get the best rates.

What Age Can You Add a Child to Insurance?

Most car insurance companies will allow you to add a child to your policy once they obtain a learner’s permit or driver’s license. The minimum age to get a learner’s permit varies by state, but is usually 15-16 years old.

Here are some general guidelines on when you can add a child to your insurance:

  • 15 years old – If your state issues learner’s permits at 15, you can add your child once they obtain their permit. They will be covered while driving with a licensed adult.
  • 16 years old – Most states issue driver’s licenses at 16 years old. Add your child as soon as they get their license.
  • 18 years old – If your child does not drive until 18, add them once they get a license.
  • Any age if your child does not drive – You may want to add children of any age who do not drive to your policy. This gives them coverage as a passenger if they are injured in an accident while you are driving.

When Should You Actually Add Your Child to Insurance?

Just because you legally can add your child to insurance does not mean you necessarily should right away. Here are some guidelines on when it makes sense to add your child to your policy:

  • If your child will be borrowing your car on a regular basis, add them as soon as they obtain their license. This ensures you have coverage when they drive your vehicle.
  • If your child is financing or leasing a car, add them when they get the vehicle. The lender will require they be insured.
  • If your child has a car in their own name, add them as soon as the car is theirs. Insurance follows the car, so they need their own coverage.
  • If your child only drives occasionally, you may be able to delay adding them until they start driving regularly. Just make sure to add them before letting them borrow your car.
  • If your child is away at college and will not have a car, you can generally wait to add them until they return home for summer break.

How Does Adding a Child to Insurance Affect Your Premiums?

Adding a teenage or young adult driver will make your car insurance rates go up. How much will depend on factors like:

  • Your child’s age and gender
  • Type of car they will drive
  • Your insurance company
  • Your state
  • Your child’s driving record

Generally, you can expect your premiums to increase around 50% – 100% when adding a teen driver. The increase may be higher or lower depending on the above criteria. Shop around with multiple insurers to find the best rate.

Some tips to keep costs down:

  • Put your child on the least expensive car to insure on your policy
  • Ask about “good student” discounts if your child has a 3.0+ GPA
  • Consider raising your deductible or dropping comprehensive/collision coverage on an older car your child drives
  • Ask about discounts for driver’s ed, low mileage, etc.

Steps for Adding Your Child to Insurance

When you are ready to add your child to insurance, here is the process to follow:

  1. Gather your child’s driver’s license number and VIN of the car they will drive.
  2. Contact your insurance company and ask to add your child and their car to the policy.
  3. Your insurer will walk you through the steps to add your child as a driver and have them rated based on their age, license status, car year/make/model and other factors.
  4. Your insurance company will provide a new quote and adjusted premium reflecting the addition of your child and their vehicle.
  5. Pay any additional premium that is due. Make sure coverage meets your state minimum requirements.
  6. Your insurer will issue any new documents for the updated policy. Your child’s name should now appear as a driver.
  7. Verify your child is covered before allowing them to drive!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will premiums be high after adding my teen?

In most states, teen premiums start decreasing around age 18 if your child maintains a clean driving record. Rates go down more significantly when they reach their 20’s and have proven safe driving skills.

If my child only drives rarely, can I just buy temporary coverage?

You can certainly discuss this option with your insurer, but temporary or intermittent coverage for teen drivers is very limited. It’s best to add them to your policy for maximum protection.

What coverage limits should I get for my teen driver?

Experts recommend at least 100/300/100 liability coverage. Higher limits of 250/500/250 or above are even better to protect your assets. Also consider uninsured motorist and comprehensive/collision coverage.

Can I get a discount if my teen only drives certain cars on my policy?

Yes, some insurers will limit your teen to only drive certain lower-risk vehicles on your policy in exchange for lower premiums. Ask your agent for details.

How can I remove my teen from my policy when desired?

To remove your teen, contact your insurer and specify the date you want them removed. Provide this request in writing for documentation. Return to lower premiums after they are taken off your policy.

Adding your child to your car insurance policy is an important rite of passage when they start driving. Make sure you take the steps to properly insure them while getting discounts to keep costs affordable. With some smart planning, you can get your teen covered while keeping your premium increases to a minimum.

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