How To Add Your Child to Your Car Insurance

The process, cost, and impact of adding your teen to your policy

A teen learning to drive

kali9 / Getty Images

Learning to drive and receiving a license are both exciting milestones for every teenager, but getting the right car insurance can be challenging. Their lack of driving experience can make getting auto insurance more expensive, since young drivers carry a higher risk of being involved in car accidents. In this case, adding your child to your car insurance policy is more affordable than purchasing a separate policy.

You’ll need to notify your agent or insurance representative when your teenager becomes a licensed driver so they can be added and rated on your policy. The easiest way to add your child to your existing car insurance is by marking them as an operator of your vehicle or adding their vehicle to your policy.

Learn more about auto insurance law for teens, how to add your child to your car insurance, the cost of adding a teen to your car insurance, and how to qualify for discounts.

Key Takeaways

  • You can add your child to your car insurance by marking them as an occasional driver to your car, or adding their car to your policy.
  • Most insurers will let you list a teen with a learner’s permit on your car insurance policy at no cost until they obtain a driver’s license.
  • Teenage drivers carry a higher insurance risk, so adding them to your car insurance policy will raise your premium.
  • Insurance companies often offer discounts to help reduce premiums following the addition of a teenager.

Is Insurance Mandatory for Your Teen Driver?

Insurance law prohibits teenagers from driving without insurance, so they can either purchase their own insurance, or secure coverage under their parents’ or guardians’ policies. The law mandates that you carry the required state minimum liability insurance, which will differ by state, but those are just bare minimums and may not suffice in a real-world accident.

When it comes time to insure your child, you must notify your insurance company within 60 days of your teen obtaining a driver’s license so they can be included in your policy. There are consequences to not informing your insurance company that you have a teen driving your car. Your insurance company could cancel your policy or deny your claim if you don’t inform them about all licensed drivers who will operate your vehicle, including teenagers.

Some insurance carriers require a notice when a teenage driver receives a learner’s permit, while others do not require it until a teenager receives their driver’s license. Before signing with an insurer, ask about its requirements, as they may vary with each carrier.

Adding a Driver to Your Policy

If you’re the parent of a teen, there are generally two options for adding a rookie driver to your auto insurance policy: You can add them as a driver to your vehicle, or you can add their vehicle to your insurance policy. If you choose to do the latter, your name must be on the title of the car.

Some insurance carriers won’t let you add a driver who isn’t an immediate family member to your auto policy. If you’re hoping to add a niece or nephew, for example, double-check with your provider about the requirements.

Any driver you add to your policy will enjoy the same protection you get from your coverage. All drivers covered under your policy have access to all cars listed, but the liability limits remain the same for all drivers.

To actually add a driver to your policy, the steps to take are pretty simple, and you can make the change at any time. You can either call your insurance provider or log into your online account to add the new driver. You will need the following information from the new driver:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Driving history
  • License information
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN), if you plan to share one policy that covers all vehicles in use

Costs of Adding Your Teen to Your Car Insurance

Adding a teenage driver to your car insurance will increase your premium. Because there is more risk involved with a teenage driver for an insurance company, the cost of your policy can skyrocket when you add a teen. According to recent data, the cost tends to rise by an average of $800 per year.

That said, the cost of adding a teen to your policy won’t be as high as what they’d have spent on a separate car insurance policy. A stand-alone policy for a teen driver can be more expensive, since insurance carriers consider teens a greater insurance risk. The exact cost of a teenage driver’s insurance policy, however, will vary depending on the age of the driver, where they live, driving history, and the type of car they drive.

For multi-car policies, most insurance carriers rate a teenage driver based on the most expensive vehicle in their household, while others rate based on the vehicle they will drive.

How To Get a Deal on Teen Car Insurance

Taking advantage of your insurance company’s discounts is one of the greatest ways to land a deal on teen car insurance and lower your premium. Typically, car insurance companies will not inform you about the discounts they offer unless you explicitly ask about them, so be sure to mention it when comparing policyholders.

There are many discount options to consider with your teen and and an insurance agent, since you won’t always combine them or use them at the same time. Below, learn about many of the discounts you or your teen might qualify for.

  • Good student discount: Teens may get a break on car insurance if they get good grades and exhibit responsibility in school. For instance, full-time students may get premium breaks for achieving a “B” grade-point average or higher. Some of these discounts may even last until the teen turns 25.
  • Student away discount: If your teenage driver is away at school and the car they drive is no longer in consistent use, but only used when they visit for holidays, you may be eligible for this discount.
  • Safe driver discount: Teens who complete a driver’s safety education course through their state may get this discount. With numerous course options available online, including one focused on defensive driving, check with your insurance carrier to see its qualifying courses.
  • Low-mileage discount: Insurance companies may offer a low-mileage discount if you let them place a telematics device on your vehicle to track your teen’s driving habits. This discount often comes as a pay-per-mile or pay-as-you-drive insurance.
  • Bundling discounts: You may qualify for an insurance discount if you buy your home and car insurance coverage from the same company in a bundled package.

The rates insurance companies charge to cover teenage drivers can vary greatly, so comparison shopping can help you get a deal when adding a young driver to your policy. By reviewing the rating and underwriting rules of each policy, you will be able to identify the best company for you. Working with an insurance representative can help determine the best way to insure your teen.

Other Ways To Lower the Costs

Besides insurance discounts, there are a few other ways to lower the costs of teen car insurance.

Get the Right Car

While car insurance for teens is quite expensive, some cars equally cost more to insure because they are frequently stolen, are more likely to be involved in an accident, or cost more to repair. It may be difficult to secure coverage at standard rates if you have a sports car, high-performance car, or a tuned vehicle, for example. You’ll also pay more to insure a newer model than an older model of the same vehicle. 

Discuss the type and model of the car you own, or are hoping to buy for/with your teenager, with your insurer to understand how it will impact your insurance rates. For instance, if the car is inexpensive, skipping comprehensive insurance may make more financial sense.

For an older car, you may consider dropping collision coverage since the cost of repairs your insurer can pay after you meet your deductible often won’t exceed your car’s book value.

Adjust Your Deductible

You may consider adjusting your deductible to reduce your insurance costs. In this case, increasing your deductible will lower your premium since you’re committing to pay a higher out-of-pocket cost when you make a claim. However, bear in mind that younger drivers are statistically more likely to get into accidents, so you might be on the hook for more bills down the road.

Share a Car

Sometimes, lowering your insurance costs is as simple as sharing the car already listed on your policy. Instead of adding a new car to your auto policy, designate your teen as a secondary driver—which may cost less than electing them as a primary driver.

Install Safety Features

Some insurance companies will extend lower rates to car owners whose vehicles are installed with safety features, such as anti-lock brakes, anti-theft devices, airbags, and automatic seatbelts.

Maintain Good Credit

Insurers often use your credit information to determine whether they’ll offer an auto insurance policy and how much it will cost. You will pay lower premiums if you have a good, credit-based insurance score.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I have to add my child to my car insurance?

The law doesn’t require you to add a child with a learner’s permit to your car insurance; however, you should add them to your policy when they receive their driver’s license. Inform your insurance company about a teen using your vehicle; otherwise, they could deny your claim or void your policy in case of an accident.

If my teenager isn’t on my car insurance policy, are they still covered?

Your teenager isn’t covered if they are not listed on your car insurance policy. Your teen is covered only if they own their car—the title is in their name—and have a separate policy from your own, or you add them to your policy.

When adding a child to car insurance, do I have to add them to all of the cars?

When a child gets their license, you can add them to your policy as an occasional driver since they’ll drive one of your cars. Or if they have their own car, you can add their vehicle to the policy.

Article Sources

  1. IC Massachusetts Government. "Tips for Teen Driving." Accessed Oct. 11, 2021.

  2. Progressive. "Should I Add a Driver to My Car Insurance?" Accessed Oct. 11, 2021.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Teen Drivers: Get the Facts." Accessed Oct. 11, 2021.

  4. Progressive. "Car Insurance for Teens." Accessed Oct. 11, 2021.

  5. South Carolina Department of Insurance. "Teen Drivers, Insurance and Safety." Accessed Oct. 11, 2021.

  6. Allstate. "How Telematics May Help You Save Money on Car Insurance." Accessed Oct. 11, 2021.

  7. Allstate. "My Teen Got a Learner's Permit. Does He Need Car Insurance?" Accessed Oct. 11, 2021.