Children At School & Car Insurance

In our last blog we focused on how to know if your son or daughter is still considered a family member and “an insured” under your home insurance policy while they reside in an apartment or dormitory while away at college.  If they are an insured there are things you can do to make sure they are covered should something unforeseen occur.  But, along with where they live, you may have given your children a car while in high school or as a gift for graduation.

To recap from the last blog, if your child moved out and pays for everything with no help from you, they are not considered a family member and not “an insured”.  In this case your homeowners policy offers no coverage for them and they need one of their own.  To take it one step further, your child would also not be “an insured” on your auto insurance policy and they need one of their own.  The only exception is if the car is under your name and not theirs.  They may only have coverage under your policy as a permissive user but only when driving that particular car.  There is a high likelihood that your policy will not cover them as a pedestrian or while inside any other vehicle.

But let us now go under the assumption that your child qualifies as a family member and “an insured”.  Your car insurance company will want them to be a listed driver.  While at college, your son or daughter will have full coverage under your auto policy as a pedestrian and while driving the insured car or even a friend’s car.

In the example of your child driving a friend’s car, let us say they are involved in an accident that results in the injury of another person, an injury to her- or him- self and damage to the car.  The insurance policy for the friend will respond first.  Your policy will come into play if or when the limits of their policy are less than what is needed.  From your auto policy you and your child will be covered with the liability coverage, Personal Injury Protection (if the accident occurs in Florida), Medical Payments, and coverage for physical damage.  Keep in mind, though, that your auto policy is limited to the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, and any territories of the U.S.  If your child attends college or travels to anywhere outside of those countries, they are not covered by your car insurance policy.

On the subject of who the car is titled to, it can be easier (and possibly less expensive) if the car is titled to the parents instead of the child.  That way, the car can be on the your policy with no possible need to alter your policy to also cover a family member with their own car or get a separate auto policy for the child.

One thing to think about is your child’s roommate who may or may not have a car of their own.  If they do have one and your child will have, for whatever reason, regular use of the roommate’s vehicle, you might want to consider adding an exclusion on your policy that would exclude your child from any coverage (PIP and Uninsured Motorist may still apply) while driving the roommate’s car.  Otherwise, your policy may cover your child in a vehicle “furnished or available for the regular use of a family member.”  You could also take it one step further by ensuring that the roommate’s car is insured and with limits that would help you feel better about your child driving their car.  Related to this issue would be if someone else drives your child’s car.  A scenario above was what can happen if your child is involved in an accident while driving another’s car.  The tables are turned if your child loans their car to the roommate or a school friend.  Instead of your policy being used for any excess funds it will be the primary policy used.

When a child leaves for college, there is no set strategy or formula to use in an attempt to be prepared for any scenarios that take place.  Your child at school could rent something like skis or jet-skis (coverage may not apply), partake in social activities involving alcohol, skydive and bungee jump (life insurance???), etc.  College can be a fun time in a child’s life but for the parents it could mean a jumble of mixed emotions and concerns.  If you have a child going away to school this August or in the near future, you may have questions regarding what your child is or is not covered for under your car insurance policy.  Or, there may be concerns related to something else that may or may not require another kind of insurance policy, such as your child getting a part-time job.  Please give us a call at 305-270-2100 and we can help you with the answers to your questions.

At Filer Insurance, Inc., we have been providing Home, Auto and Business Insurance in Miami and South Florida since 1919.  We would very much like to have you as one of our customers.  Please give us call or come by our office for a free quote on your insurance.

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