We need help with these bizarre insurance questions.
August 8, 2014 10:28 AM   Subscribe

Child Clarkstonian, who is an adult, bought a car. Said child doesn't make enough to satisfy the insurance company. They are making onerous requests. Said child needs good insurance, because our name is on the lien (first car, needed co-signers, child is paying for the car).

So, Child Clarkstonian bought the car. Car is done.

Insurance is nuts. Child Clarkstonian lives in a house with four other housemates. Only one is a friend. The others are barely acquaintances. They happen to share a lease.

The insurance company first insisted on a copy of the lease. Then the social security numbers of everyone on the lease. Then the birth dates of everyone on the lease. Now is asking for copies of the insurance cards of everyone on the lease.

They are NOT friends. Repeat. They are NOT friends. They share a house. They have known one another for a total of a month. One of them does not even live there and will not for at least 6 more months. There is no way Child Clarkstonian will ask for this information.

What is going on here? All of the others have cars, have their own insurance, and NONE of them have been asked these questions. These are not appropriate questions to ask people you do not know.
posted by clarkstonian to Travel & Transportation (23 answers total)
Not to avoid the question, but has he just tried another insurance company? There are a lot of really good insurance companies around, and perhaps another one will not ask for this information.

(Also, though I don't know any of the rules, I do know that car insurance rules vary wildly by state, so perhaps giving Child's state will elicit some more useful information about the rules/laws/whatever in that state).
posted by brainmouse at 10:33 AM on August 8, 2014 [7 favorites]

Where is this happening? What country and state? In the US, auto insurance is regulated at the state level.
posted by alms at 10:34 AM on August 8, 2014

The insurance company first insisted on a copy of the lease. Then the social security numbers of everyone on the lease. Then the birth dates of everyone on the lease. Now is asking for copies of the insurance cards of everyone on the lease.

Not totally sure if this is what's happening, but in NY for example, if you are driving a car other than your own and get in an accident any passengers/other car/etc can collect on the issurance policies of everyone in the same "household" (i.e. address). I know this because my brother crashed his friends car (serious collision) and my --completely separate-- insurance went up as a result because they had to pay out on his accident (we were both at college, but still using our parents' address). Our parents' car insurance and (I think) their umbrella policy also had to pay out.

Ironically, our parents insisted on us getting our own (more expensive) policies precisely because they didn't want to be liable or impacted by any accidents we may have.
posted by melissasaurus at 10:35 AM on August 8, 2014

Go elsewhere, good lord. Maybe one of the roommates can recommend their own insurer.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:35 AM on August 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yes, different insurance companies have different requirements. I'd suggest just having child contacting some of the big ones (Geico, State Farm, Allstate, Progressive) and see who will give the best deal for least hassle. Agreed, the kind of info this company is requesting is weird (maybe it stems from how child described "household" on the application, per melissasaurus's example), and I can't imagine others will request it.
posted by msbubbaclees at 10:37 AM on August 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would try another insurance company but it isn't that strange a request. The insurance company I worked for years ago would have done the same thing. Anybody with a drivers license who lived in the household and did not have other insurance had to be listed. It was the 2nd most common complaint I had to listen to.
posted by interplanetjanet at 10:47 AM on August 8, 2014

How old is your child? Can he be on your policy?
posted by radioamy at 10:49 AM on August 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Since it sounds like your child is renting a room in a group-roommate house, could s/he start over (possibly with a different company) and not mention the existence of other housemates? If Child has no relationship with housemates, and shares a kitchen and living room but otherwise separate spaces, finances, lives, could Child state a household size of 1?

Surely the insurance company has encountered living arrangements like this before.
posted by magdalemon at 10:51 AM on August 8, 2014

This is ridiculous, and I can't imagine why the insurance company would want or need that information.

He should call up other insurance companies for quotes. This time, do not mention housemates.
posted by tckma at 11:04 AM on August 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Neither Geico nor Progressive put me through this. I think they did have exclusion clauses where I wasn't covered if someone I lived with who wasn't on the policy was driving.
posted by salvia at 11:05 AM on August 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

My experience has matched salvia's, including the exclusion clause.
posted by nat at 11:13 AM on August 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Since you're a co-signer, perhaps it makes more sense for your kid to be on your insurance. And I agree, shop around. Advice the kid not to disclose roommates. It's immaterial.

esurance and Geico both allow you to apply on line.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:14 AM on August 8, 2014

sounds like they are racking up a list of situations and people they will exclude if they ever do insure him. Try somewhere else, beginning with if at all possible who insured him before this - meaning your insurer if that is the last place he had insurance.
posted by domino at 11:16 AM on August 8, 2014

Perhaps Child Clarkstonian will apply elsewhere and will be a tenant who rents a room, rather than shares a household.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 11:20 AM on August 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

The owner of a vehicle is legally liable for any bodily injury or physical damage that occurs as a result of negligent use of the vehicle. This means that if any roommate borrows Child Clarkstonian's vehicle, the insurance policy will be obligated to provide coverage.

This explains the insurance company's concern. Usually they want to know all the drivers in a "household", and scrutinize the driving records of any driver who does not have their own vehicle, assuming that they may borrow the car once in a while.

I'm presenting this so that you can at least understand what you are dealing with, and that there is a rationale behind this seemingly unreasonable behavior.

I understand that this is not a typical household. Therefore, as others have said, find another insurance company that will hopefully view this particular situation for what it is.
posted by elf27 at 11:22 AM on August 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

When I lived with a roommate they wanted to list him on the policy as a driver, which he'd NEVER be. I told them he'd never drive the car and they listed him as an excluded driver, meaning if he WAS driving my car they wouldn't pay for anything. So possibly that could be a route he could take. This was Progressive a bunch of years back and I was in my late 20s so it wasn't because I was young. I'd had other insurance before when I was living alone.
posted by marylynn at 11:22 AM on August 8, 2014 [6 favorites]

All of my roommates have been listed on my insurance as excluded drivers. That is probably why they want the information. I have Geico.
posted by amapolaroja at 11:46 AM on August 8, 2014 [4 favorites]

From the other side: When I rented a room, the landlord (who I lived with) put me as an Excluded Driver, and consequently wouldn't let me drive her car at all. Which was completely fine by me. If this happens, I'd have Child Clarkstonian inform the roommates that they're prohibited from driving their car due to insurance regulations. Hopefully, they'll understand.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:57 AM on August 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

Nthing advice above about excluded drivers. I have a roommate and he is specifically listed as an excluded driver on my insurance. You should make sure the same thing happens for your kid, assuming his roommates will never drive his car.
posted by Aleyn at 1:23 PM on August 8, 2014

Progressive has not required me to do anything like that. In minnesota, if it matters.
posted by J. Wilson at 2:11 PM on August 8, 2014

I don't know what state you're in but Mr. Jungle is an insurance agent (State Farm) in NC and said this is not normal and suggests looking at other companies.
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 7:02 PM on August 8, 2014

If Child does that, stress that Child will NOT be loaning car out. My daughter's exboyfriend borrowed his tenant's car (he had rented a room out to him) and then proceeded to put a rather large dent in it. The opposite of hilarity ensued.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:31 PM on August 9, 2014

I don't think there is any reason to add roommates to a policy, and if the company doesn't understand this, find one that will. Child should list her roommates as excluded drivers.

That said, I added my GF to my policy after we moved in together, and all they needed was her name, birthday, and driver's license number. It didn't cost me any extra money, and I did the whole thing over the phone. This was with Geico in NY. So, these requirements seem onerous even for reporting non-roommate household members.
posted by breakin' the law at 10:02 AM on August 18, 2014

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