When you leave a set of car keys on the counter or in the common area, your child should not take this oversight as an invitation to drive your car without your permission. Did you know that this really immature act that your child participates in could leave you responsible if something should happen whilst the car is in your child’s possession?
There are two things that could occur if your child is involved in an accident while driving your car. One thing that could happen is that your insurance rates will go through the roof. The other thing that could happen is that you could become personally responsible to pay for the damages that are left after your child’s joyride.
It can be difficult to determine what is going to happen after your child has been involved in an accident, and it can be even more confusing to figure out who is going to pay for the damages. The rule of thumb is that if your unlicensed child takes your car and causes an accident, you will have to pay for the accident, and your insurance may not cover it.
There are several things that all parents should consider if they think their child may drive their car without a licence.
Find Out If Your Child Is Covered In Your Car Insurance Policy
Insurance policies are as varied as the companies that write them. Some insurance companies will cover every member of your family, even those without a license. Other insurance companies will only cover licensed members of the family.
When you apply for insurance companies, the agent may ask you to make a list of everyone in the family, especially teenagers that are a certain age. They will not care if the teenager has a driver’s license or not.
If you do not supply your agent with this list, and your teenager is involved in an accident, the insurance company can view this as fraud. They could decide not to renew your policy, or they could decide to cancel your policy. These rules do vary, so it is best to ask your agent before you get a policy.
Will You Be Able To Make A Claim After The Accident?
You may find that your insurance agent has a very forgiving heart, but if not, you will probably be told that you will not have a claim for unauthorized use. Most of the time when a car is driven without your permission you are covered under your comprehensive policy for an unauthorized driver. Sometimes the insurance company will allow you to file a claim only after you have added the teen to your policy, and have paid the additional rate.
Should You Get the Police Involved?
If your child was involved in an accident, the police are probably already involved. You may not have a claim for unauthorized use, but you may have a claim for auto theft. This could open up a can of worms because the parent would have to press charges against their child so their insurance company will handle the claim. This could make home living unbearable especially if the child is found guilty. The best way to prevent this from happening is to make sure you hide all sets of car keys from your curious teenager.
If your teenager wants to learn to drive, you should teach them how to do so responsibly and when they are old enough. Car insurance for young people can be found easily on uSwitch.com.