No, being a listed driver on your parents' auto insurance usually doesn't qualify you for continuous insurance or proof of prior insurance discounts. These discounts can save you 10-30% on your car insurance when you do qualify.
What is a continuous insurance discount on auto insurance?
Car insurance companies give discounts to people who have kept insurance in place in the past. These discounts usually apply if you've had a policy for at least 6 months, and may be larger if you've been insured longer. Sometimes you'll still get a discount if you've had a lapse in your insurance of fewer than 30 days, though it might be a smaller saving. More than 30 days will usually mean that you don't qualify for the discount.
How much will a continuous insurance discount save me on my car insurance?
If you have qualifying proof of prior insurance, you may get a discount of 10-30% on your car insurance policy, which can translate to $100-$1000 a year. It's a lot!
Why won't I qualify for a continuous insurance discount if I've been on my parents' auto policy for years?
Usually, you have to have been a "named insured" on your last car insurance to qualify for a continuous insurance discount. Most of the time, the named insureds are the person whose name the policy is in plus their spouse or legally recognized domestic partner.
Any other drivers are listed as "additional drivers" or "listed drivers". The policyholder pays premium for additional drivers, but they aren't considered policy owners. And unfortunately, that generally makes additional drivers ineligible for a proof of prior insurance discount when they get a car of their own.
What can I do to become eligible for a proof of prior insurance discount?
If you're not living in your parents' household (where access to their cars is assumed by their insurance company) and you don't own or have regular access to a car, consider a non owner auto insurance policy.
Non owner insurance costs about 1/3 of regular car insurance, and it provides you with liability coverage when you drive a borrowed or rented car. And, since you'll be the named insured, you'll qualify for a continuous insurance discount when you buy a car. It's often cheaper to buy non owner auto for 6-12 months as you start to look for a car to buy than it is to wait until you buy a car and pay full price for insurance.