How Long Can You Stay on Your Parents’ Car Insurance?

Although no official time limit exists, you may need to buy your own car insurance policy when you move out of your parents’ home.

Michelle Lambright Black
Michelle Lambright Black

Michelle Lambright Black is a credit expert, freelance writer, and founder of CreditWriter.com. She has over 20 years of experience writing and speaking about credit and money, and focuses on helping families and small business owners make smart, informed decisions about their credit, money, and financial products (including insurance). Michelle's work has appeared in publications such as Yahoo! Finance, Reader's Digest, Parents, FICO, Forbes, Bankrate, The Seattle Times, MarketWatch, BuySide from Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and more. She's also a three-time finalist for the best personal finance freelancer award from the Plutus Foundation. When she isn't writing or speaking about credit and money, Michelle loves to travel with her family or read a good book. You can connect with Michelle on Instagram or Twitter

Courtney Mikulski
Courtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
  • 3+ years producing insurance and personal finance content

  • Main architect of the Insurify Quality Score

Courtney’s deep personal finance knowledge extends beyond insurance to credit cards, consumer lending, and banking. She thrives on creating actionable content.

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Updated February 6, 2024

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Getting a driver’s license for the first time often instills a new sense of independence in teenage drivers. Despite this newfound freedom, most teen drivers aren’t independent when it comes to their car insurance.

For most younger drivers, it’s cheaper for parents to add a child to their existing car insurance rather than taking out a separate policy. And minors typically can’t enter a legal contract — which can include buying car insurance — but it depends on the state.

Most car insurance companies don’t have rules that dictate how long you’re allowed to remain on your parents’ car insurance policy. But some circumstances might force you to purchase car insurance on your own. Here’s what you need to know.

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How long can you stay on your parents’ car insurance policy?

Taking out a car insurance policy in your own name may feel like a rite of passage to a new driver. But in most cases, staying on your parents’ car insurance policy for as long as possible is the most affordable option. The average cost of car insurance for teen drivers is $180 per month for liability coverage and $369 per month for full coverage.

If you’re living with your parents or you’re a full-time college student, sharing an auto insurance policy is usually fine. But as your situation changes, your auto insurance coverage might need to adjust as well.

Here’s when you typically can and can’t remain on your parents’ car insurance policy.

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    Drivers with their own cars

    Every state and insurer has different guidelines. But if you live with and keep your vehicle at your parents’ home, you might be able to stay on their car insurance policy — even if you’re the sole owner of the vehicle.[1]

    On the other hand, if you move out of your parents’ house, the situation changes. Once you keep your car at another primary location, you’ll need your own auto insurance policy.

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    Students away at college

    If you’re a college student living away from home but your parents’ house is still your primary residence, staying on their car insurance is typically fine. This is still the case even if you take your car to school with you.[2]

    If you’re a college student, your parents might qualify for a discount if you plan to drive your vehicle only occasionally. And insurance companies usually offer discounts to undergraduate and graduate students who earn good grades.

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    Adult drivers living at home

    Your age won’t make you ineligible for remaining on your parents’ car insurance policy. As long as you reside at the same home address, you may be able to share car insurance with your parents. In some cases, you may need your own policy if you purchase a vehicle in your name, but it depends on your insurer and specific situation.[2]

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    Married drivers living with their parents

    If you and your spouse live with your parents, the two of you may be able to insure the vehicles you own on a parent’s policy. In this case, make sure you and your spouse are named drivers on your parents’ policy since you share the same address. And if you have your own policy and vehicles, listing your parents as drivers on your policy is a good idea.[3]

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    Adult drivers living on their own

    Unless you’re living at college and plan to head back home in the future, you’ll typically need your own car insurance policy when you’re an adult driver living on your own. Even if you keep one of your parents’ vehicles at your new residence, you still need an auto insurance policy in your own name if you have a permanent change of address.[3]

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    Married drivers living on their own

    Your marital status doesn’t affect your ability to stay on your parents’ car insurance policy. Instead, your car insurance company typically cares about your permanent address. If you don’t share a home address with your parents, you need your own car insurance policy.[3]

Pros and cons of staying on your parents’ car insurance

As with any financial decision, staying on your parents’ car insurance policy comes with advantages and disadvantages. Below are some pros and cons to consider before you make a decision about the solution that’s best for you.

Pros
  • Staying on your parents’ car insurance could offer significant savings — especially for first-time drivers.

  • Remaining on your parents’ insurance may help you take advantage of discounts that wouldn’t be available to you, like multi-car discounts.

Cons
  • Young drivers are more likely to have accidents that could increase their parents’ insurance premiums.

  • Your parents’ car insurance rate may increase significantly when adding a younger driver to the policy.

Cost comparison: Staying on parents’ policy vs. buying your own

One of the main reasons that drivers older than 18 stay on their parents’ car insurance policies is because they want to save money. In many cases, remaining on a parent’s car insurance can help you lock in a lower insurance premium.

How much sharing car insurance can save you depends on your unique situation, including your ZIP code, vehicle, and more.

Here’s a comparison of average monthly auto insurance rates for people 18 and older — drivers who stay on a parent’s policy versus drivers who purchase their own insurance.

Coverage TypeParents’ PolicyOwn Policy
Liability only$173$184
Full coverage$347$369
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

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How to lower car insurance rates for young drivers

Whether you stay on your parents’ policy or purchase car insurance of your own, you can take steps to try to lower your car insurance rate. Drivers have numerous options to save money on car insurance — both as teens and young adults. Here’s how to do it:

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    Choose higher deductibles

    If you have full-coverage car insurance, raising your collision and comprehensive deductibles could reduce your premiums. Just make sure you can afford the higher out-of-pocket costs if you file a claim.

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    Reduce coverages

    While you have to meet state-minimum insurance requirements, you may not need as much coverage as you have. Consider removing gap insurance, collision, or comprehensive coverages if you drive a lower-value, paid-off vehicle.

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    Maintain a clean driving record

    Keeping your driving record clean could also work in your favor when you’re trying to save money on car insurance. A clean driving record can make you eligible for discounts and could help you avoid rate increases.

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    Comparison shop

    Shopping around for the best car insurance rates may also help you lower your car insurance rates as a young driver. Whether you’re taking out a policy on a new vehicle or considering switching insurance companies, it’s smart to compare rates with at least three companies to make sure you’re getting the best deal available.

Parents’ car insurance FAQs

Check out Insurify’s guide on factors that affect your auto insurance rates, and read the answers to questions about how long you can stay on your parents’ car insurance below.

  • Can you drive your parents’ car without being on their insurance?

    When you live in the same household as your parents, you should be listed on their car insurance policy as a named driver. However, if you don’t live at the same address as your parents, you may be able to borrow your parents’ vehicle on occasion with their permission, despite not being on their insurance.

  • Can you stay on your parents’ insurance if you move out?

    If you move away for college but plan to move back to your parents’ address, you may be able to stay on your parents’ car insurance policy. But once you move to a separate, permanent address, you’ll need to set up a car insurance policy in your own name.

  • Can a married child stay on their parents’ car insurance?

    A married child may be able to stay on their parents’ car insurance in certain circumstances. However, they must reside at the parents’ home to share the same car insurance policy. Otherwise, they need to purchase their own car insurance coverage.

  • How do you buy your own car insurance policy?

    You can buy car insurance by working with an insurance agent, purchasing a policy directly from a car insurance company, or shopping online through a marketplace. No matter how you choose to buy your own car insurance policy, it’s smart to compare quotes from several insurance companies to make sure you find the best deal available.

  • Can you stay on your parents’ car insurance if you move out of state?

    If you temporarily move out of state, such as for college, but plan to live at your parents’ home during school breaks, an insurance company may let you remain on your parents’ insurance policy. But if you’re moving out of state to live at a permanent address, you’ll need to buy your own car insurance.

Methodology

Insurify data scientists analyzed more than 90 million quotes served to car insurance applicants in Insurify’s proprietary database to calculate the premium averages displayed on this page. These premiums are real quotes that come directly from Insurify’s 50+ partner insurance companies in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quote averages represent the median price for a quote across the given coverage level, driver subset, and geographic area.

Unless otherwise specified, quoted rates reflect the average cost for drivers between 20 and 70 years old with a clean driving record and average or better credit (a credit score of 600 or higher).

Liability-only premium averages correspond to policies with the following coverage limits:

  • Bodily injury limits between state-minimum rates and $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident
  • Property damage limits between $10,000 and $50,000
  • No additional coverage
Full-coverage premium averages correspond to the same bodily injury and property damage limits in addition to:
  • Comprehensive coverage with a $1,000 deductible
  • Collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible

Quotes for Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, State Farm, and USAA are estimates based on Quadrant Information Services’ database of auto insurance rates.

Sources

  1. Progressive. "Can You Stay on Your Parents' Car Insurance?."
  2. Erie. "How Long Can You Stay on Your Parents' Car Insurance?."
  3. Liberty Mutual. "Can you still be on your parent's car insurance?."
Michelle Lambright Black
Michelle Lambright Black

Michelle Lambright Black is a credit expert, freelance writer, and founder of CreditWriter.com. She has over 20 years of experience writing and speaking about credit and money, and focuses on helping families and small business owners make smart, informed decisions about their credit, money, and financial products (including insurance). Michelle's work has appeared in publications such as Yahoo! Finance, Reader's Digest, Parents, FICO, Forbes, Bankrate, The Seattle Times, MarketWatch, BuySide from Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and more. She's also a three-time finalist for the best personal finance freelancer award from the Plutus Foundation. When she isn't writing or speaking about credit and money, Michelle loves to travel with her family or read a good book. You can connect with Michelle on Instagram or Twitter

Courtney Mikulski
Edited byCourtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
Courtney Mikulski
Courtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
  • 3+ years producing insurance and personal finance content

  • Main architect of the Insurify Quality Score

Courtney’s deep personal finance knowledge extends beyond insurance to credit cards, consumer lending, and banking. She thrives on creating actionable content.

Featured in

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