Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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The lowdown...

You’re not required to buy all types of insurance but you are required to buy car insurance when you own a car. If you choose to drive a vehicle in your name without insuring it, you’re putting yourself at risk of financial loss and at risk of being penalized in the court of law.

Not only is it important to carry the right amount of insurance, it’s important that you list the right drivers on your policy so that your coverage always safeguards you. When you have a teen, you can quickly get confused.

Compare coverage premiums for your teen today! Just enter your zip code into our free rate tool today.

You don’t always have to insure your teen, but choosing not to when you’re supposed to will leave you very vulnerable. Here’s what you need to know:

Your Teenager Doesn’t Always Need to Be Listed As a Driver

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Insurance companies have a right to know when someone lives in the home who could expose you to a loss. This is why all insurance contracts have a requirement stating that you must update them of changes to the household members living in your home.

Many companies actually require you to disclose the names and ages of people living in the home who are 14 or over, even if they don’t have a license or drive.

While you need to give your insurer your teen’s name, you don’t actually need to list them as a driver until they have their license.

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How do auto insurance companies cover drivers who don’t have their licenses?

If your teen is driving your car but they are just in the process of learning, the coverage question becomes a little more complicated.

They are exposed to loss but they aren’t the average type of risk because they only have a restricted permit. This is where the rules can vary from carrier to carrier.

Typically, the most popular insurance companies will cover a teen who has their learner’s permit automatically as long as they were listed as a household member and they qualify as an insured under the contract terms.

The coverage is usually free, but in some cases, the insurer will charge a fee. Know that there are restrictions on the free coverage because the teen must be supervised by a covered driver when they have a loss.

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What is the definition of insured on your Personal Auto Policy?

Personal Auto Policies have several different categories that detail what is and isn’t covered. Not only does it detail what is covered, it also details who is covered by defining who an insured is.

Be sure your teen fits the definition of an insured before assuming they’ll receive a coverage extension when they’re issued a permit:

If your teen has passed the deadline to get their license or they are graduating from a restricted driving privilege to a full-blown license, you need to add them to your insurance policy as soon as possible.

Your carrier can require you to add a teen to your policy when they live in your home, have access to your cars, and have their license.

If you don’t comply with the insurer’s rules to add your in-home teen to your policy, the company is entitled to cancel your coverage or even deny your claims that you make.

Since you are in violation of the terms your contract, they are acting within their legal rights to terminate your coverage. Staying in compliance can help you avoid serious issues.

Do you have to insure your teen when they have their own insurance?

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If your teen is very independent and they chose to buy their own car, you may be able to save yourself the expense of adding them to your insurance. Since they are a vehicle owner who has their own insurance in their own name, they don’t have to be rated.

Just because they don’t have to be rated doesn’t mean they don’t need to be listed.

You need to tell your insurer that they live in your home and have coverage but doing this won’t raise rates.

In fact, the insurer can only add the teen as a deferred driver who can drive your cars but can’t be rated.

If your teen has moved out of your home, whether or not you’re required to insure them depends on if they are financially dependent on you. If they still ask you for money to pay their bills, they are considered dependent or they are living independently.

Since they are dependent, a victim involved in an accident with them can come after you and sue you. The cost for legal defense alone is exorbitant and this doesn’t include judgments that could be awarded to the claimant.

Your insurer won’t pay if the teen isn’t on your policy. This is why you need to be sure to insure a teen who can legally be defined as a dependent.

If you don’t have your teen listed as a driver on your policy, add them today. Failing to do this could cause some major trouble if there is ever an accident.

When you get quotes to add your teen, compare them to rate quotes through other companies by getting online quotes on an Internet car insurance quote database.

If you feel like you will get a better deal by switching carriers, you can move forward and apply for the better policy with the better rate. Compare today by entering your zip code below!