Divorce can be complicated for everyone involved, especially when it comes to insuring a teen driver. Who needs to purchase the policy? Who should be listed as the primary driver? What happens if both parents have different insurance companies?
Getting car insurance for your teen can seem tricky if you’re divorced, but it doesn’t have to be. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about insuring a teen driver when parents are divorced.
Does My Teen Need to Be Listed on Both Parents’ Policies?
Whether your teen needs to be listed as a driver on both parents’ car insurance policies depends on a few factors:
Custody arrangement – If your teen spends 100% of their time living with one parent, they only need to be listed on that parent’s policy. If they split time between households, list them on the policy of the parent they reside with most often.
Vehicle access – Your teen should be listed on the policy of any parent whose vehicle they drive regularly, regardless of custody. If your ex-spouse lets your teen drive their car when visiting, your ex’s insurer may require them to be listed.
Insurance company rules – Some insurance companies require teen drivers to be listed on both parents’ policies, while others only require listing on the custodial parent’s policy. Check with each insurer.
State laws – A few states have laws mandating that teen drivers be listed on the policy of the custodial parent. Check your state’s regulations.
As a general rule, teens should be listed as a driver on the policy of the parent they reside with more than 50% of the time. The other parent’s insurer may also require them to be listed if they drive the other parent’s car regularly.
Which Parent Should Be the Primary Policyholder?
For divorced parents, the custodial parent should be the primary policyholder for the teen’s car insurance policy. This is the parent the teen lives with for over half the year.
Being the primary policyholder means:
- The parent’s name is listed as the main policyholder.
- They are responsible for paying the monthly premiums.
- The teen is listed as an additional insured driver on their policy.
This arrangement provides the most coverage protection for the teen if an accident occurs. It also simplifies the claims process – there is no question of which insurer needs to handle a claim if the custodial parent is the sole policyholder.
In some cases, the non-custodial parent may also want to take out their own policy listing the teen if they drive the non-custodial parent’s car regularly. This provides extra protection when the teen drives their vehicle.
How Is Insurance Affected If Each Parent Has a Different Carrier?
If divorced parents have different insurance carriers, the teen still only needs to be listed as a driver on one main policy – that of the custodial parent. However, the non-custodial parent should notify their insurance company that the teen has access to drive their vehicle.
Here are some tips if divorced parents have different insurers:
Choose the parent’s policy that provides the best coverage and rates. Compare both policies to decide where to list the teen as a primary driver.
Inform the other parent’s insurance company that the teen has regular access to their vehicle. They may need to list the teen as a driver or occasional driver.
Make sure both vehicles the teen drives are listed on the main policy to provide coverage when driving both cars.
If both parents’ policies offer coverage for the teen, the custodial parent’s policy would provide primary coverage. The other policy acts as supplemental or excess insurance.
In the event of an accident, the custodial parent’s insurance handles repairs and claims for their vehicle. The other parent’s policy would step in to cover any remaining expenses.
As long as both insurers are aware of the divorce situation and teen’s access to both vehicles, insurance can coordinate effectively to fully cover the child’s driving.
What Is the Cheapest Way to Insure a Teen with Divorced Parents?
Insuring a teen driver is expensive no matter what, often doubling a parent’s policy premium. Here are some tips to get the cheapest car insurance for a teen with divorced parents:
Compare quotes from both parents’ insurers – Get quotes listing your teen on each parent’s policy and go with the lower price. Also compare adding the teen as an occasional or part-time driver instead of a primary driver.
Let the teen share the custodial parent’s policy – Listing the teen as an additional insured driver on your existing policy is cheaper than taking out a standalone teen policy.
Pick the parent with the better driving record – Teen rates are impacted by the driving history of the policyholder. Choose the parent with a clean record for the lowest rate.
Opt for a larger deductible – Raising your deductible from $500 to $1000 could potentially reduce premiums by 10-20%.
Ask about discounts – See if either parent qualifies for any discounts like good driver, safe driver, defensive driver, student driver, etc.
Consider usage-based programs – Insurers offer programs tracking teen driving habits and offer discounts for safe driving.
Have the teen share a vehicle – Adding your teen to your policy to drive your family car is cheaper than getting a separate vehicle just for them.
Choose an older, safer model – Avo
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