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I was told that because I live with a parent, if I were to get a drivers license, their insurance payments would be higher, even if I'm not actually on their insurance.

Is that true?

How would the insurance company even know I have a license anyway? What if I have my own insurance?

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    Please also add a state tag, for a more useful answer. – Joe Jan 13 at 15:21
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    Why not call the insurance company and ask them? They should know best about this – Nico Haase Jan 13 at 15:55
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    @Chieron Actually, US insurances are mostly specific to the car. Anyone (authorized to be) driving the car is covered in many states. While they can't expect to modify the rates for edge cases like I drive my friend's car to get her kids once because it has the necessary carseats, they make the reasonable assumption that anyone living there in the family is probably going to be a potential driver. – Joe Jan 13 at 19:01
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    (comment instead of answer because question specifies US) In Canada the way it works is that they look at how many drivers and how many cars are in the house. Each car needs a primary driver, and everyone else is listed as secondary driver. Each secondary driver adds to the cost of insurance. As a teen we had 2 cars and three drivers: my parents each had their car and I was listed as secondary driver on both. So when I got my license their rates went up. When I got a car their cost went down but not by as much as I now paid for insurance. – Alexandre Aubrey Jan 13 at 21:57
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    it was possible to call the insurance company and specifically remove someone from the policy, to get the rates back down, but then it would be illegal for that person to drive the car. – Alexandre Aubrey Jan 13 at 22:09
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(Edit: answered before "What if I have my own insurance?" was added to the question.)

Is that true?

Yes, because you'd be someone who lives with her, and who can drive. You'd have implicit permission to drive her vehicles.

Thus, the insurance company will have to take into account that another (and presumably young and inexperienced) person in the house would be tooling around in a car that's insured only for your mother's regular use.

How would the insurance company even know I have a license anyway?

The fact that you have a drivers licence is (usually) a matter of public record. The insurance companies want to know this, so they get the records.

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    "The fact that you have a drivers licence is (usually) a matter of public record. The insurance companies want to know this, so they get the records." I'll note that we started getting routine (every 6mo?) nags from the time my eldest was old enough to get a license until he actually obtained one, 24 months later; so in at least some cases they are tracking records other than the issuance of the license. – user4556274 Jan 13 at 13:20
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    @MSalters In the US, Federal law specifically requires some DMV records to be made available to insurance providers. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driver%27s_Privacy_Protection_Act – ceejayoz Jan 13 at 17:46
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In the United States, the car insurance company may not know that you have a license; it's the insured party's obligation to report any changes in the household. However, depending on the state, you may or may not have to consider that person a covered driver. For example, from this article on Who is considered a household member for car insurance purposes:

If you have a household member that you do not want to be on your policy and he or she will not be driving your vehicle, you may be able to exclude the person from your policy if your state laws allow it. However, your insurance company still needs to be aware of the person as a household member so that he or she can be specifically included or excluded from your policy. If a person is excluded from your car insurance policy this means that he or she will not have any coverage extended to them, even if driving your vehicle in an emergency situation.

If you don't add the person as a household member, whether or not they'll be a covered driver, it is a form of insurance fraud:

Other drivers living in the household impacts the insurer's underwriting evaluation. The insurer needs to know how the vehicle to be insured will be used before deciding to issue a policy. Not telling the insurance company about a household member is misrepresentation, a form of insurance fraud.

They suggest checking with your state insurance regulator to see if it's possible to exclude a household member.

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  • Of course "he or she will not have any coverage extended to them, even if driving your vehicle in an emergency situation" makes excluding somebody who has easy physical access to the vehicle a bad idea, unless you're planning to sue that same somebody when they damage a car they're not supposed to be driving. – T.J.L. Jan 13 at 16:25
  • @T.J.L. exclusions are (typically?) used for people who are not allowed to drive (for medical or legal reasons). – RonJohn Jan 13 at 16:49
  • @RonJohn Sure, but that's not the case the querant is asking about. – T.J.L. Jan 13 at 16:50
  • @T.J.L. you wrote "unless you're planning to sue that same somebody when they damage a car they're not supposed to be driving". I don't think my then-wife would have sued me, if I had driven our van (I was an excluded driver) and wrecked it. – RonJohn Jan 13 at 16:53
  • @T.J.L.: Not terribly relevant unless you have collision coverage (i.e. if you just have liability). The same issue could also arise with liability of course, and whether a court would hold you liable for damage caused by a member of your household using your car in an emergency without your permission is a matter you'd need a lawyer to answer. – R.. GitHub STOP HELPING ICE Jan 13 at 16:54
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This is not true in general in the UK.

The insurance policy states the drivers it applies to. If your mom wants a policy that only covers her, and not you, that's fine.

As for "emergency driving", the standard UK policy coverage is that the named drivers are covered to drive other vehicles which they do not own, with the owner's permission - but the insurance only covers the minimum legal requirements for third party claims.

So if you wanted to drive your mom's car in an emergency, that would by covered by your insurance (if you have any) not by your mom's.

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    The 'standard' insurance policy in the UK does not provide such other-vehicle cover. It is often part of comprehensive cover (but not if you chose TPF&T or RTA cover) but not always, don't assume you have such extended cover unless you check your policy. Commonly you need to be over 25. – houninym Jan 15 at 16:59
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It sounds like you're thinking that if your mom's insurance cost will increase, you're hoping to avoid that increase by getting your own car and your own insurance. Note it may be cheaper to to have your mom insure both cars and add you as a driver rather than you each having your own policies. (Or if you don't get another car right away and you share hers.) You could just offer to pay your mom the difference and that way you'll potentially save quite a bit of money compared to getting your own policy.

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  • Be aware, however, that some insurance companies require the policy-holders name (your mom) to be included on the vehicle title and registration in order for it to be covered by their policy. This would require her to also be present with you when you purchase the car. Source: have gone through this with both of my teenage daughters. – GalacticCowboy Jan 14 at 15:09
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    @GalacticCowboy - good to know. I'm curious what country/jurisdiction you're in as I'm pretty sure that isn't the case in the two US states I've lived. – TTT Jan 14 at 21:14
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    Indiana, USA. We use an insurance company that's a subsidiary of a national company - not sure if the subsidiary itself is available nationwide or not. – GalacticCowboy Jan 15 at 16:04
  • @GalacticCowboy - thx- definitely something for others in this situation to keep in mind. – TTT Jan 15 at 16:24
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It depends. Insurers often offer a range of premiums for the same car, depending on the options chosen.

Some of the options include cover for young/inexperienced drivers, and other options allow you to specify the only drivers permitted to drive the vehicle. You may also be able to pick cover that allows everyone to drive, regardless of experience.

Depending on the cover your mum has chosen, the premium may not increase just because someone else in the family has acquired a driver’s licence.

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  • Hi - while this was appropriate prior to the edit adding the tag, you may want to remove this answer now as it is no longer relevant given the location tag. – Joe Jan 13 at 19:37
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    Editing a question in a way to invalidate existing answers is not appropriate; the answer should remain as it provides valuable information for users with an identical question for a different jurisdiction or location. – Nij Jan 13 at 21:21
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In , living in the same household as the insurance holder doesn't matter because that alone won't allow you to drive the car.

More on car insurance for new drivers ( in German)


* young and inexperienced are of course correlated, but they are not the same for car insurance. Someone getting their (first ever) driver's licence at age 30 would be subject to inexperienced premium (no years of accident-free active driving), but would not be in the young risk group.
In contrast, a 22-year-old who has 7 years of accident-free driving because they took their moped driver's license when they turned 15 and are accident-free driver ever since has the full benefit of 7 accident-free driving years (after transfering the years from moped to car) but are nevertheless still young.

** age limit can vary by insurance company - typical is somewhere around 23 - 25 years.

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Existing answers cover most of your question well:

  1. Your mother's insurance rates definitely can rise if you move into the household and have a driver's license of your own

  2. It wouldn't be difficult for the insurer to find out that you have a license, though they may or may not know that you live with your mother (particularly if you aren't a minor)

But they haven't covered the remaining question about you having your own car insurance.

It probably won't help your insurance situation much to have your own car and coverage. That you might drive your mother's car is what would cause her rates to rise in this situation, representing some nonzero additional risk to the insurer.

Having your own insurance mitigates that somewhat, but doesn't eliminate that extra risk to your mother's insurer (coordination of benefits for auto insurance gets messy quickly, and it's easily possible for your mother's insurance to have to pay out even if your own coverage does so also). Talking with the insurer is the only way to know for certain.

An option that may exist for you and your mother is for her to speak with her insurer and get a policy which specifically excludes you from driving her car. A consequence of this is that you would effectively never drive that car, as you would be liable for any incidents that come up (either personally, if uninsured yourself, or through your own auto insurance if you have it). The terms of such an insurance policy may also state that you cannot drive the car under any circumstances.

Availability of such a policy will vary by insurer and state, but it may meet your and your mother's needs if it's an option for you.

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  • Great answer. The example I'm thinking of for why the insurer cares is where you have a parent with full coverage on a 50k sports car and their 18 year old son with liability only coverage on their 5k early 2000s beater car. It would be a much different story if both were driving similar cars with similar coverage levels. – eps Jan 13 at 17:32
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How would the insurance company even know I have a license anyway?

The insurance company could query the state for other people with drivers licenses with the same address. They could also require your parent to update their policy when a member of the household gets a license, or a licensed drivers enters or leaves the household.

It is possible to not have you count as an authorized driver. It is generally done when you are student living on/near campus who doesn't have access to the family vehicles.

What if I have my own insurance?

At least in Virginia they consider all licensed members of the household when setting rates, due to that ability to occasionally share cars.

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  • And when you say "same address" you mean the address that is listed on the actual driver's license? – 0x499602D2 Jan 13 at 20:57
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    @0x499602D2 I would strongly suggest you stop trying to think of ways to keep your mother's insurance company from finding out information that materially affects the liability they take on. Your mother owes a duty of utmost good faith to her insurance company. If there's any reason her insurance company wouldn't have information that affects its liability, your mother is obligated to provide it that information. – David Schwartz Jan 14 at 19:03

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