You can stay on your parents' auto insurance policy if you've moved to a temporary residence, like a college dorm, without a car of your own. However, if you've moved permanently, you definitely need your own car insurance.
When does it make sense to stay on your parents' car insurance policy?
If you don't a car, you can be covered as a driver on your parents' policy so long as their home is your permanent residence. The line between a temporary and a permanent address can feel a little hazy, but in general, if you go home to your parents' house in the summer, use their address on employment and tax forms, and have their address on your drivers license, their home is your permanent residence.
Why stay on their policy? It'll generally be cheaper than having your own insurance. And, if you drive their cars, you'll be covered.
However, if you own or lease a car of your own, you'll need your own insurance regardless of where you live.
When should you definitely get off your parents' car insurance policy and get one of your own?
There are two situations in which you should definitely have your own insurance: if you own or lease a car of your own, or if you permanently move out of your parents' house.
If you permanently move out of your parents' house and you drive but don't own a car, you should consider non owner auto insurance. A non owner policy will cover your liability if you cause an accident and will also build your insurance history so that when you do buy a car, your insurance will be significantly cheaper. Non owner auto usually costs between $30-$60 a month if you don't have a history of many tickets or accidents.
What should you do if it's not completely clear whether you should be on your parents' car insurance policy?
You should absolutely have your parents call to check with their agent or insurance company, both to get the right answer for your situation, and to have it on record that you asked and followed their advice. Otherwise, you could get into a crash and the insurance company could decline to pay the claim.
Can I stay on parents' car insurance policy after I turn 26?
Yes! There are no age limits on an auto insurance policy. Health insurance policies do require you to get your own insurance after you turn 26 in most cases, so that's where the confusion stems from.
If I move out of state, can I still be on my parents' auto insurance?
If you've moved to a temporary residence in another state, like a college dorm, or a summer camp, and you don't have a car, yes, you can stay on their policy. But as soon as you move permanently, or title a car in your own name, you definitely need to get off your parents' insurance and onto your own.
If you'd like to read more about non owned car insurance, check out our guide to everything you need to know about non owner auto insurance.