February 2, 2015 in Insurance

Can Mom’s insurance cover son’s car?

Dear Insurance Adviser,

If I add my son to my auto insurance, can the title for his car be under his name only? Or will both of our names have to be on the title?

— Gracie

Dear Gracie,

Whether a young driver is old enough to be the titled owner of a vehicle is a legal question, not an insurance question. You’ll need to contact the department of motor vehicles in your state for the answer.

You’re safer not being listed as an owner of his vehicle, to better protect yourself from any lawsuits. If you are a titled owner on his car, it does increase your risk of being sued for his accidents.

If the car he uses can be titled in his name, check with your auto insurance company to see whether it will insure his vehicle on your policy. Most insurers won’t do that and will want him to have a policy in his own name. However, in that case, his insurance costs will be 25 percent higher or more.

There are two things you’ll want to remember. If he does have his own policy while he is living at home, make sure that he carries the same liability coverage that you carry on your car. If you have $500,000 in liability coverage on your vehicle, so should he. Second, when he’s ready to move out of your home, be sure the car title and insurance are in his name. Otherwise, he may not be covered when he borrows or rents another car.

I hope this helps.

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