Not insuring our non-driving teen son.
April 15, 2013 3:01 PM   Subscribe

My sixteen-year-old son got his license recently, and after a month (during which time he did not drive) we insured him for a month as we were going to be out of town and he needed the car. When we called our insurance company to remove him from our policy, we were told that the only way the company would uninsure him is if he turned in his license to the DMV. We only have one vehicle, and he won't drive. He's not the kid who is going to sneak off in the car, either. So can the insurance company just drop us or otherwise hose us over?

I did see one Askme answer here where a woman had an unlicensed son living at home and had to argue to not have her policy revoked by State Farm each year.
posted by mecran01 to Law & Government (17 answers total)
Time to change your insurance company.
posted by ShooBoo at 3:07 PM on April 15, 2013 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Jurisdiction: Utah

It looks like this question was addressed here and I missed it.
posted by mecran01 at 3:10 PM on April 15, 2013

It might be smart to keep him on insurance for emergency purposes, as an occasional driver. Could you do that?
posted by katypickle at 3:11 PM on April 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Varies from state to state, but it's definitely normal to have an insurance company require that all licensed drivers in the house be on the insurance policy.
posted by supercres at 3:11 PM on April 15, 2013 [5 favorites]

I think it's standard that all drivers living in the house need to be insured. If he lives with you, he doesn't count an an occasional driver. No one can really answer with question without seeing your policy, but this doesn't strike me as abnormal.

We only have one vehicle, and he won't drive.

Your insurance company has no way of knowing this to be true. Your policy covers you whenever someone driving your car gets in an accident. That risk goes up a lot when there's a teenage driver in the house. So, your company requires you to insure all teenage drivers. Look at it this way: you don't want him to take the car one day in an emergency, get in an accident where someone is seriously hurt or killed, then have your insurance company deny you coverage.
posted by Dasein at 3:12 PM on April 15, 2013 [8 favorites]

I agree with Dasein.

I'm from MT but currently live in Utah as of 6 months ago. When I got my license at 18 (and my permit previous to that) I had to be insured. I was even insured after I moved to a new city while I was still his "dependent." Although I think he was able to call and let them know that I was away at college and didn't have access to the car. I think they put me as a part-time driver or something?

It is just part of the rules. All drivers must be insured. If they started making acceptions for you they would have to make them for everyone. The fact is he CAN drive, and lives with you. See if there are any "good student" discounts. Did he take driver's ed? That may also allow a discount.

Also if you are really unsure, ask your insurance company. They will be happy to answer any questions. Ask them about possible discounts.

If you really CAN'T keep him on your insurance then if UT says he has to turn in his license then that's what he has to do. He should still be able to get a state issued ID for identification purposes, but he wouldn't be able to drive with it.
posted by Crystalinne at 3:19 PM on April 15, 2013

Response by poster: I'm on the phone with the Utah Insurance Commission and they are confirming that this is the case. Hopefully there is a way to exclude him without having him relinquish his license. We may end up buying a second, beater car as it would actually reduce our rates slightly. Sigh.
posted by mecran01 at 3:23 PM on April 15, 2013

Varies from state to state, but it's definitely normal to have an insurance company require that all licensed drivers in the house be on the insurance policy.

Yes, this was my recent experience. My insurance company freaked out when they realized last month that my partner and I had been living together for years without him being named on the policy, even when I pointed out that he drives his own car covered under his own insurance policy. They were ready to drop me entirely until I put him on it.
posted by scody at 3:24 PM on April 15, 2013

Keep in mind, this may be helpful to him in the future when he leaves home and does start driving regularly.

I got on my dad's policy when I turned 16, so to this day I get tons of discounts from State Farm based on my years of "safe driving" experience. It builds up the longer you "drive" safe, even if he isn't actually driving much yet.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:34 PM on April 15, 2013 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: Here is the relevant Utah code:

And the section that seems to apply:

(B) if it is an operator's policy, insure the person named as insured against loss from the liability imposed upon him by law for damages arising out of the insured's use of any motor vehicle not owned by him, within the same territorial limits and with the same limits of liability as in an owner's policy under Subsection (1)(a)(ii)(A);

(iii) except as provided in Section 31A-22-302.5, insure persons related to the named insured by blood, marriage, adoption, or guardianship who are residents of the named insured's household, including those who usually make their home in the same household but temporarily live elsewhere, to the same extent as the named insured;

(Courtesy of whoever answered the phone at the insurance commission)
posted by mecran01 at 3:37 PM on April 15, 2013

it would be good to get him on car insurance anyway, the cheapest kind, because years from now he'll show up as being insured for X years without any accidents, which looks a lot better than not being insured for that time.
posted by cupcake1337 at 4:28 PM on April 15, 2013 [4 favorites]

The value of the car greatly impacts the premium, particularly with teenage drivers. So it very well may be that you can save money by purchasing a cheap vehicle.
posted by COD at 4:29 PM on April 15, 2013

How much more expensive is it to have him on the policy? It's probably better for his future insuring for him to be continuously insured from a young age.
posted by radioamy at 7:17 PM on April 15, 2013

I don't see why he couldn't be an occasional driver. I added my fiance as an occasional driver because we only have one car and I use it to commute. He really only drives occasionally.

I believe when my brother and I were on my parent's insurance we were occasional drivers.
posted by amapolaroja at 12:49 AM on April 16, 2013

Nthing the advice about leaving him on the policy to establish a long-term customer relationship. I was on my parents' policy from 16 on, which means I get an awesome long-term customer discount that pretty much makes my current insurance cheaper than any other equivalent insurance.

(Also, he may not be driving regularly, but what happens if it's an emergency, like both parents have the flu and someone needs to make a run to the pharmacy or grocery store? Rare, but it would be nice for him to be able to drive legally.)
posted by telophase at 2:28 PM on April 16, 2013

Seconding cupcake1337 that it would really good for him to be on your insurance. My (male, 20's) friend needed insurance for his scooter after not having any for 6 years or so and it was incredibly difficult for him to find a company that give him a policy at all. Most companies just refused because of the gap, despite the fact that said gap was because he didn't have a car.
posted by (Over) Thinking at 11:51 AM on April 20, 2013

Response by poster: We changed insurance companies, and it wasn't that expensive.
posted by mecran01 at 12:19 PM on June 6, 2013

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