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

It depends on the situation, but you can typically stay as long as you want on your parents’ car insurance if you share the same permanent residence.
Last updated Jan. 20, 2023 | By Ben Walker, CEPF | Edited By Melinda Sineriz
Young girl driving

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There’s technically no age-related limit for how long you can stay on your parents’ car insurance. If you share the same address, you could be 18 or 45 and still be on your parents’ policy.

But depending on the situation, such as getting married or moving out, you might have to look into getting your own car insurance.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of staying on your parents’ car insurance as well as ways to make your rates more affordable.

In this article

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

There’s no limit to how long you can stay on your parents’ auto insurance. If you’re living with your parents or are in another acceptable situation as deemed by your insurance provider, you could theoretically stay on the policy for as long as all parties are happy with it.

This is different from some other types of insurance, specifically health insurance. In many cases, you can stay on a parent’s health insurance coverage until you’re 26 years old. At that point, you have to find your own coverage, whether that’s through a job, a partner’s coverage, or the health insurance marketplace.

Fortunately, your parents’ auto insurance policy doesn’t have this sort of a deadline. This gives you some flexibility with continuing coverage, especially if you haven’t yet moved away from home.

But should you stay on your parents’ policy no matter what? It likely depends on the circumstances, including what your parents want to do.

Let’s dig into a few different situations to see some of your options.

What if you own your own car?

You might need a separate car insurance policy if you own your own car. This comes down to checking with your insurance company to see whether you’re required to have a separate policy. Keep in mind that this might not matter if your parents are co-owners of your vehicle.

If it’s not required, you should be free to add your vehicle to your parents’ car insurance. This will typically increase the premiums, but it still might be cheaper than getting your own auto insurance policy.

What if you’re away at school?

It’s always worth checking with your insurance company, but whether you need to get your own car insurance policy while away at school often depends on whether you have the vehicle with you.

If you don’t bring a vehicle to school and still visit your parents and use their vehicles when you’re in town, you should be fine to stay on your parents’ policy. But having your own vehicle while you’re away at school might require you to get your own car insurance.

What if you move out?

Car insurance companies typically allow you to add people to policies if you all live at the same address. There are exceptions, such as a college student who’s away at school and doesn’t have their own vehicle.

If you move out of your parents’ home, you likely have to get your own car insurance policy. That could be up for discussion with your insurance provider if you still don’t have your own vehicle and often use your parents’ vehicles.

But if you move out and have your own vehicle, you’ll most likely need your own policy.

What if you’re married?

The act of getting married doesn’t immediately mean you need your own car insurance. If you’re married and living at home, you might be able to continue staying on your parents’ car insurance.

But you would probably need your own car insurance if you have your own vehicle and move out of your parents’ house.

Pros and cons of staying on your parents’ policy

Pros Cons
  • Potential savings for you
  • No need to worry about opening your own policy
  • Likely higher premiums for your parents
  • Your parents have control over the policy and coverage as policyholders
  • Could feel strange to stay on your parents’ policy as you get older
  • Might not work if you want your own vehicle

The best thing about being on your parents’ car insurance is that it’s likely cheaper than having your own policy. This could be the case if you’re a young adult who’s not over 25. Younger drivers and new drivers, including teen drivers, often have higher rates, so being on someone else’s policy could help decrease your premiums.

But what about your parents’ rates? Adding a young driver will typically raise car insurance rates, which makes things more expensive for your parents. So it’s worth having a discussion together about how to divide up the insurance costs and make things fair.

How to lower your — or your parents’ — car insurance rates

1. Compare rates between insurance companies

Likely the quickest and easiest way to see if you can lower your car insurance rates is to see what’s available from different insurers in your area. Considering there are multiple nationwide insurance providers, it’s typically straightforward to find at least a few quotes for coverage.

The key to a fair comparison is to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples when checking insurance websites. Remember to input the exact same information, such as your vehicle type, and select the same types of coverage and coverage limits.

This can help you find the lowest rates available for the same type of insurance.

2. Take advantage of discounts

Many online car insurance quotes make it easy to see what discounts are available as you input your information. But if you want to make sure you’re getting all applicable discounts added to your policy, call an insurance agent or check directly on the insurance company’s website to see what’s available. This might help you find discounts you didn’t know existed.

Here are a few examples of common car insurance discounts:

  • Good student discount: Receive this when you have a full-time student on your policy that gets good grades, usually a B average or better.
  • Safe driver discount: Get this discount by having a clean driving record for the past three to five years.
  • Affiliation discount: Be affiliated with certain organizations, such as the military or another government organization.

3. Consider pay-per-mile insurance

Do you drive less than 10,000 miles per year? Do you work from home? Do you primarily use your vehicle for running errands?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might not be using your car as much as you think. And you might be able to save money by switching to mileage-based auto coverage.

A pay-per-mile program provides auto insurance at rates that depend on how much you drive. This could be worth looking into if you think you don’t drive much. There’s no guarantee you’ll save money on your current rates, but it doesn’t hurt to check.

4. Improve your credit score

Many auto insurance companies use your insurance score to help predict insurance losses. An insurance score isn’t the same as a credit score, but it’s based on information from your credit report, which is also how credit scores are generated.

If you improve your credit score, you basically add more positive information to your credit report. This information can then be used to boost your insurance score, which could help decrease your car insurance rates.

5. Maintain safe driving habits

Your driving record gives a history of any car accidents, citations, arrests, and more. Most insurers only consider recent events on your driving record from the past three to five years, but the actual time frame can vary.

If you want to lower your rates as much as possible, having a clean driving record is key. This is why practicing safe and defensive driving habits can come in handy for maintaining a clean driving history.

6. Lower your coverage limits

Most states require a minimum amount of liability insurance, and some states also require a few other add-ons, such as personal injury protection or uninsured/underinsured coverage. If you want to decrease your insurance premiums, consider lowering your coverage and/or increasing your deductibles.

Keep in mind that this could backfire and cost you more money in the long run if you end up having a serious car accident. It’s important to find a balance between having sufficient coverage and lowering your rates.

FAQs

Is it cheaper to stay on my parents’ car insurance?

It could be cheaper if you’re a young driver under 25. Young drivers are typically charged higher auto insurance rates, but being on your parents’ plan can help keep those rates down. However, you likely wouldn’t know what the cheapest strategy might be unless you compare rates for yourself versus being on your parents’ insurance policy.

How long can I have car insurance through my parents?

There’s no age limit cutoff for car insurance like there is with health insurance. So you can stay on your parents’ auto policy for as long as they and the insurance company let you. That typically means sharing the same permanent address with your parents, though this guideline can vary by situation and insurance provider.

Will my parents’ car insurance cover my car if I live at the same address?

Your car will be covered if it’s on your parents’ car insurance. This requires adding your vehicle to their insurance plan, which typically increases the overall cost of the premiums. It can make sense to share a policy because it might make things easier and cheaper, but you might have to get your own insurance if you own your vehicle.

When should I get off my parents’ car insurance?

When it makes sense, which is typically once you can afford it and are no longer living with your parents. But keep in mind that if you’re away at college and don’t have a vehicle, some insurance companies will allow you to stay on your parents’ policy. So it might make sense to look for your own insurance after graduation.

Bottom line

There’s no age limit for how long you can stay on your parents’ car insurance policy. Ultimately, it comes down to each situation on when the right time is to get your own insurance. But it’s common for children to look into their own policies after they’ve moved out of their parents’ house and have their own vehicle.

To help keep your car insurance rates down, compare different providers to see the cost of their coverage. Use our page on the best car insurance to see what’s available in your area.

  • You could save up to $500 with some companies
  • Compare dozens of providers in under 5 minutes
  • Fast, free and easy way to shop for insurance
  • Quickly find the perfect rate for you

Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF Ben Walker, CEPF, is a credit cards and travel writer at FinanceBuzz who loves helping others achieve their travel goals through financially sound decisions. For over a decade, he has been using credit card points and miles for the sole purpose of traveling the world. Ben is a Certified Educator of Personal Finance and has been featured in The Washington Post, MSN, Debt.com, and Finder.com.