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My 16-year-old son is on my car insurance as a driver in the home. He recently went to live with his mom. Can I cancel him from my insurance or do I have to keep him on the policy?

If your son moved out but still lives close enough to visit you on a regular basis, then your car insurance company will likely still require you to keep your teen driver on your policy.

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It can be frustrating to divorced parents of teenage drivers, but typically both parents must carry auto insurance on the child if he or she has access to their vehicles.  Since car insurance follows the car and not driver, each auto insurance company involved wants to collect premiums for the risk it believes your teenager poses as a driver.

His mother may have your son listed on her car insurance policy, but this only covers him while he is driving her vehicles.  If he comes to your home to visit and drives your car and wrecks it's your auto policy that would need to cover the accident.  For this reason, your insurer will probably decline your request to take your son off your policy unless his mother’s house is far enough away that he will only visit on the rare occasion.

There are ways to lower your car insurance costs, even with a 16-year-old teen driver.

For instance, if your son is going to drive your vehicles only every now and then, instead of on a frequent basis, you can ask your agent if you can drop him down to “occasional driver” status. This should reduce your rates a bit.

Another choice is extreme, but if you’re not going to allow your son to drive any of your vehicles when he visits, then you see if you can exclude him from the policy.  Be aware that if you do a named driver exclusion for your son, he will not be covered if he did drive any of your vehicles, even if he did so without your consent or due to an emergency situation.

Since car insurance companies’ guidelines vary greatly, you need to discuss your specific situation with your agent.  If do you find that you’re required to keep your son on your auto policy, look for car insurance discounts that can help you reduce his portion of the policy premium-- such as a good student discount.

Last updated: Jul. 31, 2014 Redesign Survey