What Parents Need to Know About Car Insurance for Teens | Scott Goodwin Law

What Parents Need to Know About Car Insurance for Teens

by / Monday, 08 November 2021 / Published in Motor Vehicle Accidents
A smiling teen girl in the driver's seat of a car holding the keys.

Having a teen take their first steps toward becoming a licensed driver is a momentous event for any family. Aside from the significance of it being a sign that your child is getting closer to adulthood and living an independent life, it can be a major change for your household. All of a sudden, you need to make time to practice driving with your teen so that they can get all of their supervised driving time as part of Michigan’s graduated licensing system. Then there are all the worries about whether or not your teen will be safe behind the wheel. 

As soon as your teen enrolls in the first segment of driver’s education, it’s important to start thinking about your family’s auto insurance coverage. We all know that anyone in the state of Michigan who owns a vehicle is required to have auto insurance. But what if someone isn’t a licensed driver, but is legally allowed to drive with a learner’s permit? Or what if they’re a licensed driver, but drive a family vehicle instead of one they personally own?

When to Add Your Teen to Your Auto Insurance Policy

To find out when your teen should be added to your family’s auto insurance policy, it’s best to talk to your insurer. Michigan’s insurance code doesn’t have a set policy about this so it’s essentially left up to individual companies to decide whether or not teens with learner’s permits need to become named drivers on their parents’ insurance. 

In many cases, Michigan auto insurers don’t require teen drivers with learner’s permits to be added to their family’s auto insurance. So as long as you, the parent(s), have insurance for the vehicle(s) your teen will be using to practice their driving, you may be all set without having to add them as long as the teens only have a learner’s permit. But once your teen becomes a licensed driver, then they will need to become a named driver on your insurance if they are driving family vehicles. If a licensed teen driver purchases their own car or you purchase one for them, that car will need to be insured with the teen as either the named insured or the co-named insured.

However, just because many insurance companies do not require teens with learner’s permits to be added to their parents’ policy (or policies), that doesn’t mean they all do. Some companies may want to be notified when a teen gets their learner’s permit. If that’s the case and the insurer isn’t notified, it could cause a lot of problems for you, such as claims being denied or policies being cancelled. 

Talking to your auto insurance company is also a good opportunity to ask about more unique factors that apply to you and your family. For example, if you share custody of your teen with a former spouse or partner, your insurance company can give you guidance on how insurance should be handled in that type of situation. 

Contact a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer

One of the key reasons why it’s so important to make sure your teen driver is properly insured is because of how common it is for new drivers to get into car accidents. In the state of Michigan, 10.3% of all car accidents and 7.7% of all fatal car accidents in 2020 involved teen drivers. Teenagers and young adults also accounted for 13.4% of all people injured in Michigan car accidents in 2020. When you’re dealing with a situation where your teen has been injured or killed in a car crash, you don’t want to find out that you didn’t have the coverage you thought you did. 

At Goodwin & Scieszka, you can talk to an experienced car accident lawyer who can answer any questions you have and help you understand your legal options. Contact us today to get started.

Image: iStock / tommaso79