Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for CarInsuranceCompanies.com with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Sep 21, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • You should buy the standard personal auto insurance policy and list yourself and every other licensed person in the home as a driver
  • It is very common for parents to add their children to their car insurance
  • A divorce can be a tricky situation when it comes to who is responsible for insuring a vehicle

In a majority of cases, when a person owns a vehicle, they will be the one to insure that vehicle. While this is the norm in the industry, there may be situations where you need to add someone onto the policy.

In many states, it is not illegal for the titleholder or the registered owner of a car to allow someone else who has an interest in the car to purchase insurance.

Whether or not this is the appropriate setup when it comes to complying with compulsory insurance laws or protecting your investment depends on the circumstances.

There are many different factors that you must consider when determining if you need to buy insurance in your name or if the primary driver can carry the responsibility.

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Table of Contents

What situations create the need to insure your vehicle in another name?

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If you are the primary driver of your vehicle and it is registered and titled in your name, you should buy the standard personal auto insurance policy and list yourself and every other licensed person in the home as a driver.

This might be an ideal situation when you are trying to avoid confusions as you buy insurance, but not everything we deal with on a day-to-day basis is the norm.

There will be situations where it just makes more sense to buy insurance in someone else’s name other than the name of the registered owner.

Here are some of these scenarios:

– A Parent Buys Their Adult Child Who Does Not Live with Them a Vehicle

It is very common for parents to help out their children when they first graduate high school and go to college.

When this happens, you may decide that you will register the vehicle in your name to maintain ownership and allow your child to take the car with them and insure it.

When your adult child insures the car, they will list their own name and their own address.

It is very important that the insurance is purchased from an insurer in the same state where the vehicle is registered to comply with the mandatory laws.

– You Are Disabled But Own a Vehicle

If you are disabled and you do not have a license out of choice or out of necessity, you may not be able to purchase insurance in your own name.

Many people let their caretakers drive their vehicles, but will require the caretaker to qualify and buy insurance.

If you want to buy your own insurance, you may be able to find a company that is willing to insure you if you prove you do not drive by choice and if you can list a primary driver.

You should check with the company’s underwriting guidelines before you even start this type of application for insurance.

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–You Are Going Through a Divorce

A divorce can be a tricky situation when it comes to who is responsible for insuring a vehicle.

In some states, only one of the two spouses will be listed as the registered owner of the car and the car will not be classified as community property.

When this happens, you will have to decide how the property will be divided and who is responsible to pay the insurance before the divorce is final.

You could be ordered to keep the car insurance active even though the registration will be under your ex’s name.

Failing to keep the car insurance active is a violation of the court order.

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Issues That Can Arise When You Choose to Insure a Car in Another Name

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Insuring a vehicle that you have a financial interest in someone else’s name can pose some serious problems in the near future or later down the line.

You need to do your research so you do not fall get fined or run into other types of legal trouble.

Here are some of the issues you should be aware of:

– Insurance Companies May Deny Your Application

Not every insurer will accept an application from a named insured that does not own the car that they are primarily driving.

The reason for this underwriting guideline is to minimize the use of the vehicle a way that ultimately violates the conditions of the policy.

After all, if a student lives out of state and takes their car with them, the insurer does not want to provide coverage in a territory they are not rating for.

This is why some companies have student out-of-state designations so that the parent can insure the car in the parent’s name. Just be honest with the insurer so that your policy is not canceled for misrepresentation.

– Claims May be Denied

If you do not disclose the fact that you are not the registered owner of the car you are insuring, this can become a serious issue when you need to file a claim.

It is possible that the company can deny your claim for violating the terms of the contract.

In addition, when a claims disbursement is made, it will go to the named insured or the listed lender.

This can pose problems when the owner needs the funds to pay for repairs to the vehicle.

–You Could Be Fined By the DMV

Some states actually require that the name on the car registration and the insurance match.

This is especially true in states that have electronic verification.

If the named insured does not match up with the registered owner, the DMV may fine you as if the car has no coverage at all.

Know the Rules

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Now that you know what may happen when you pass the responsibility of insuring your car on to someone else, it is important to weigh the pros and cons.

If you believe that it is best to get insurance in your name, get quotes with an online rate comparison tool so that you can protect your interests.

Start comparing car insurance rates now by entering your zip code in our FREE tool below!

References:

  1. https://www.geico.com/auto-insurance/
  2. http://www.360financialliteracy.org/Topics/Insurance/Cars-and-Auto-Insurance/State-by-State-Minimum-Coverage-Requirements
  3. http://www.answerfinancial.com/insurance-center/question-of-the-week-i-dont-have-a-drivers-license-can-i-still-get-car-insurance
  4. https://www.thebalance.com/car-insurance-divorce-rules-527482
  5. https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/the-ins-and-outs-of-community-property-law
  6. https://www.trustedchoice.com/car-insurance/auto-coverage-types/gap/
  7. http://thelawdictionary.org/article/does-your-car-insurance-and-registration-have-to-be-under-the-same-name/
  8. http://classroom.synonym.com/can-someone-else-insure-car-title-under-name-8112.html