Being divorced and having to deal with co-parent issues is never easy- especially when the children become teenagers. One frequent question that comes into our office is in regards to how (or if) custody/placement of a teenage driver affects your auto insurance.
As someone with children from a previous marriage, I’m no stranger to placement schedules and custody arrangements and how different they can be from individual to individual, so there is no clear cut, definitive answer. However, regardless of anyone’s particular situation- there is some pretty standard advice that we can give out.
Regardless of your situation (divorce or no divorce), every licensed driver in your home needs to be listed on your insurance policy. There are two ways to do this- they will either be listed as being insured under your insurance policy or as listed as having insurance somewhere else. If they already have their own insurance (i.e. a roommate or maybe another adult who lives with you), then you’ll just have to provide documentation to YOUR carrier that they have their own insurance (such as their policy number and carrier).
If you live with someone who has their own insurance and you provide that documentation to your provider, you should not be rated due to their information. That means that their accidents or driving history or even their credit score should not impact your rate. What it DOES mean is that the insurance company has full transparency that another licensed driver has access to your keys and car. Even if you can’t imagine a situation where this other-insured, licensed driver may ever borrow your car, the insurance company can… like that one in a million chance when they just need to borrow the keys to back your car into the road to move their car… and they run over the kid playing ball…
If your teenage driver is going to be covered under your ex-spouses insurance, then this applies to your teenager. You need to list them on your policy, so your insurance knows they exist and have access to your car. They also need to know that they have insurance someplace else and therefore, your policy price shouldn’t increase.
If the plan is to add your teenager onto your policy; then you’ll need to call your insurance company as soon as he or she gets his or her driver’s license. And yes- you should expect an increase. Motor vehicle crashes are the number 1 cause of teenage fatalities… that is because they don’t have the practice driving that most experienced, adults have. This raises their rates. If your student gets a 3.0 GPA or higher, make sure you ask for the good student discount. Most insurance companies have those if you can provide a recent report card.
The key in any tricky insurance situation is honesty with your trusted advisor. Asking questions and being straight-forward can save you a lot of heartache later on when a claim is paid out correctly and you don’t have to worry about how something is covered. Remember, your trusted advisor works for you- so keep them in the loop!