Do I Have to Add My Child to My Car Insurance?

Father teaching his son how to drive.

When your child first starts driving, it can be a momentous milestone not only for them, but for you, too. Not surprisingly, your child taking the wheel unsupervised for the first time can be equal parts exciting and nerve wracking (OK, maybe slightly more of the latter).

One question a lot of parents of new drivers might be wondering is how to properly insure their children. Or, more specifically, you might be thinking: Do I have to add my child to my car insurance?

The answer is, for the most part, yes. It is very common (and, in most states, including Missouri and Illinois, required) to add your teen driver to your own car insurance policy. Keep in mind, this regulation only applies to licensed teen drivers. If your child is still driving under supervision with a learner’s permit, they will be covered under your existing policy.

As new drivers tend to be more prone to accidents than seasoned motorists would be, adding a teen driver to your policy can be pretty expensive. In general, prices are worse for adding a teen boy than a teen girl, as teen boys are more statistically likely to be involved in accidents, which translates to higher insurance costs.

With that being said, there are opportunities for you to mitigate these higher costs through applicable discounts if your son or daughter qualifies. These discounts are numerous, in fact—if you know how to find them. Students with exemplary grades, for example, may qualify for good student discounts. Your insurance agent should be able to outline all of the discounts for which your family might qualify.

You can also save some money by sharing vehicles and/or listing your child as an occasional driver of a vehicle rather than the primary. If your child is lucky enough to have their own car, AAA suggests looking into a mid-size sedan. They provide better protection than smaller cars, are not prone to rollovers like pickups or SUVs and do not inherently encourage reckless driving like sports cars may. While safety is surely your number one concern, it’s also worth mentioning that all of these factors should get you a lower rate on your policy (and that’s a win-win).

Now, just in case you are considering playing the system and not telling anyone about an additional licensed driver living under your roof, we strongly suggest you reconsider. Purposefully hiding this from your provider is against the law, and if your child is in an accident, you could be denied coverage. Or, you could be called to foot the bill all at once for every premium you should’ve been paying all along (ouch). It’s insurance fraud, it’s illegal, it’s not worth it. So, don’t do it.

The bottom line? We want you to play by the rules, but there are a lot of things to consider in terms of insurance before your child gets behind the wheel. And there’s no way we could outline every circumstance for you in this blog. Your best bet is to have a conversation with your insurance agent to see what the process entails and what discounts are available. A good agent should be able to work with you to find the most affordable options. If the agent is unwilling or unable to do so, it might be worth shopping around to find a better fit for you and your family.