Whether you've moved out, bought a car, or got kicked off your parents' car insurance, here's our complete guide to how to get your own car insurance.
First, make sure you should get off your parents' car insurance
Make sure that getting off your parents' car insurance policy is the right choice first.
There are some scenarios where it might be better to stay on their policy, including that it tends to be more cost-effective. Parents have a longer history of safe driving, so it may qualify someone for better discounts. On the other hand, there are urban myths out there there as well. For example, the idea that once you turn 26 you need your own policy isn't true. (That's a health insurance thing!)
If you regularly drive your parents' cars or just temporarily live away from them, you usually do need to stay on their policy so you're covered when you drive their car. But buying your own car and/or moving away permanently would normally prompt getting off your parents' policy, assuming you aren't regularly driving their car.
This article spells out the steps you need to take to get off your parents' policy if you have your own car.
5 steps to getting off your mom and dad's auto policy:
- Make sure your car is titled in your name. If the title to your car has your parents' names on it, you and your parents will need to follow the Department of Motor Vehicles process in your state to retitle the car in your name. You'll register the car at the same time. You can find instructions on your state's DMV website. The good news is that many states waive sales tax for transfers within the family.
- Gather the information you need to get an insurance quote. You'll need your drivers license information and the car's VIN or the make, model, and year. If your car is leased, is a subscription car, or has a loan on it, male sure you know the minimum coverage limits from your leasing, subscription, or lending company. Here's a more detailed list of what you need to buy for your first insurance policy, if you like to be extra prepared.
- Choose how to shop. You can shop directly with some insurance companies, which means you'll need to call or walk through the online quote process. Or, you can work with an independent agent who will shop for you (like Surround Insurance!). Insurance prices are usually higher for younger customers who don't have a history of car insurance in their own name, so you definitely want to shop around.
- Make sure you buy enough coverage. Insurance can be expensive when you're a younger driver, which makes it tempting to buy the cheapest policy. However, you'll want to make sure you have enough liability coverage, which protects you if you're financially responsible for causing a crash. You can be sued for your future earnings, so think about how expensive an accident might be and how much risk you want to take. Finally, unless you have an old car that's not worth much and that you own outright, you probably want physical damage coverage. There are two parts to physical damage: collision and comprehensive. Together, they pay to fix damage to your car in different circumstances. Here's our guide to car insurance coverages.
- Make sure you get every discount. Check if there's a good student discount or low mileage discount. If you can swing it, there's often a significant discount for paying for your policy in full. If you rent an apartment, bundling auto insurance with renters insurance often gives you enough of a discount on your auto that the renters insurance is nearly free.
- Buy your policy and look out for proof of insurance. Most insurance companies will email you a link so you can get your auto ID cards and policy documents immediately. Check them over to make sure the information is correct.
- Have your parents remove you from their policy. If you don't live with them and don't drive their car regularly, this is straightforward. Their agent will simply remove you from their policy and they will probably get a credit for the remainder of their policy term. If you don't live with them but regularly drive their car, you likely need to stay on their policy - have them check with their agent. Finally, if you live with them but don't drive their car, you need to stay listed on their policy, but their agent can switch your status to "excluded". This means there's no charge for you, but there's also absolutely no coverage for you, so this isn't the right choice if you might ever drive their car, even in an emergency.
- Shop your insurance again once you've been insured for six months. There are significant discounts for continuous insurance, and these usually start after six months. Ask your agent to shop around for better rates for you.
And that's it!