Can I be on my parents’ car insurance if the car is in my name?

You can be on your parent’s car insurance for longer than you think. But in most cases, you cannot be on your parent’s car insurance if the car is in your name alone.

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Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently a professional writer.

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Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business. Brad is licensed in all P&C lines.

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Reviewed by Brad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Brad Larsen

UPDATED: Apr 15, 2022

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Things to Know

  • You cannot be on your parents’ car insurance policy if the car you drive is in your name
  • Car insurance companies weigh factors like financial dependency and insurable interest when insuring cars and setting rates
  • There are ways you can stay on your parent’s car insurance, but they must own the cars they insure

The question “Can my parents insure a car that is in my name?” is related to this question: “Can I insure a car that is not in my name?” In either case, you or a parent’s car insurance company will not insure.

Car insurance companies want policyholders to own the cars they insure for several reasons, including fraud avoidance and risk reduction. Also, if you are financially independent, car insurance companies will push you toward getting a new policy.

Learn more about the rules of insuring cars based on title and how long you may stay on your parents’ car insurance policy. Also, find out about your options if your parents cannot insure the car you drive.

Can your parents insure a car that is in your name?

In most cases, no. Car insurance companies enforce strict requirements for the types of cars they will insure. For one thing, insurance companies want to know that their policyholders have an insurable interest. In your parents’ case, that means they have a financial interest in insuring your car.

Car insurance companies restrict who can insure a car. Insurance companies prefer to pay claims to the right people and reduce fraud. For example, when a person filing a claim has an insurable interest, they are more likely to use the claim money to repair their car after an accident or covered event.

When someone lists the wrong residential address on their policy, that person might have done so to get lower the cost of car insurance. As the National Association of Insurance Commissioners explains, this is one type of soft insurance fraud.

If you hold the title to the car you drive, that proves insurable interest, especially if you are its primary driver. You need the car to get to work, meaning you have a financial interest in having a functioning vehicle.

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Does your car insurance and registration have to be under the same name?

In most states, there are no laws specifying that a car needs to be in your name for you to insure it, and New York is the only state that has such a law. That said, the other states often put limits on the cars you can cover. Like car insurance companies require insurable interest, states do, too.

In a state like California, you can put two people’s names on a car title. You might also have a grace period in your state to have the car’s current owner change the car’s title to you.

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

On a related note, can you stay on a parent’s car insurance policy if you move out?

You can stay on your parent’s car insurance if you live with them, drive a car they own, and you are financially dependent on them.

  • Most teen drivers meet all three criteria, and parents can save on the teen’s car insurance by adding them to the parents’ policies.
  • College students fit two of the criteria, although their permanent addresses are often their parents’ addresses.
  • If you move out of your parents’ primary residence, you can still prove financial dependence by living in another home your parents own and driving one of their cars.

In the third scenario, it might not matter how old you are. Unlike health insurance — which allows parents to keep their dependents on a policy until those children turn 26 — there is no official age limit for parents having their children on a car insurance policy.

But in some cases, car insurance companies will have their policies regarding coverage for grown children, and they may also define “dependent” differently.

When will you need to buy a car insurance policy?

Above, we listed three scenarios when you can stay on your parents’ car insurance policy. In other cases, you likely need to purchase a car insurance policy if you live in another residence, hold the title to your car, or otherwise have some financial independence from your parents.

For instance, you and your new spouse will likely need to buy a car insurance policy after getting married. That is especially true if your spouse has a vehicle.

Car insurance companies assume that married couples are more likely to be financially independent. Also, your parent will have increased car insurance rates as they add more people to their policy, especially if your spouse has a spotty driving record.

It is also a good idea to get car insurance after turning 25 — provided you have a clean driving record. A 25-year-old will have lower car insurance rates than younger drivers, especially teens.

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What can you do when your parents cannot insure a car you own?

Although your parents cannot insure a car you own, their car insurance policy may still cover you in these three scenarios:

  • You have permissive use of one of their cars. Since your parents know you, their car insurance company might allow this temporary form of coverage should you get into an accident, but only in a car they own and insure.
  • Your parents add/keep you on their policy as a named driver. That might be easier to do if you live with your parents. In any event, car insurance companies want your parents to list you if you borrow your parents’ car often.
  • Your parents add you as an additional interest. Their insurance company might allow this if you can establish that you have a financial interest in your parents’ car.

In all these cases, your parents need to own the car, so the reverse is true if you own the vehicle they drive.

Staying on Your Parents’ Car Insurance — or Not

To review, these are the factors that can determine whether you can still be on your parents’ car insurance:

  • Whether they hold the title to the car your drive
  • How old you are (depending on the car insurance company)
  • Your financial dependency
  • Whether you live with your parents or on your own
  • Your relationship status
  • How often you will use your parents’ car
  • Your financial interest in your parents’ car

The bottom line is that your parents’ car insurance company will not insure your car, but they may cover you if you meet some criteria. Always look for honest ways to save on car insurance, especially when you need a new policy.

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