Navigating Car Insurance For Children Of Divorced Parents

Are you a divorced parent trying to figure out car insurance for your teen? We’re here to demystify this topic and ensure your child has the protection they need.

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Navigating Car Insurance For Children Of Divorced ParentsNavigating Car Insurance For Children Of Divorced Parents

Listen, we get it: if you found your way to this blog post, you’ve got about one million other things you’re dealing with. Every divorce is different, but in this tumultuous and emotionally exhausting moment, we can probably all agree that insurance is the absolute last thing you want to be thinking about. 

Unfortunately, it’s something that deserves your attention — especially if you have children that need car coverage. Different states have different laws regarding custody agreements, financial arrangements, and living environments. And all of these may come into play when it comes to determining who covers your children’s automobile insurance. 

Understanding Car Insurance for Children of Divorced Parents

It is important to remember that even if your child doesn’t have their own car, they still need to be covered by an insurance policy. Every single time your child is behind the wheel of any vehicle, they need coverage, both to protect them and others. 

Factors to Consider When Providing Car Insurance for Your Child

If you and your former spouse share custody, you’ll need to figure out who is going to be the primary policyholder for the child. We know this kind of conversation isn’t easy, but as hard as it sounds, you and your ex will need to take stock of your respective financial and living circumstances, as well as the exact nature of your divorce agreement, in order to make that decision. Here are some factors to consider.

Navigating Legal Matters

Unsurprisingly, legality is a common thread in these situations. Custody agreements can range from the casual to the dictatorial, but whatever you and your ex agree upon will impact more than just the hours your child spends at your home. 

In the case of insurance, the parent who has primary custody should, in theory, be the primary policy holder. However, this isn’t necessarily a hard and fast rule. Factors like where the child attends school and who the custodial parent is matter. 

On the other hand, you can share a joint policy if you have a fifty-fifty custodial agreement. That being said, how you both choose to divy up payments may require another awkward conversation. 

The most important thing is to achieve clarity vis-a-vis your specific legal situation. If you and your former spouse have not resolved questions around child custody or child support, this will affect decisions around insurance.

Determining the Primary Policyholder

In situations where parents share custody, the first step is to figure out who will be the primary policyholder for the teen driver. Several factors may help to determine your choice including:

  • Which parent’s insurance offers the best coverage 
  • Who the child spends more time with
  • Where the child’s school is located
  • Who paid for the child’s car 

Answering the above questions and others can help flesh out a situation so that you can arrive at a smart solution.

Joint Policies vs. Separate Policies

In an ideal world, the primary policyholder would be the parent with the best insurance coverage, but that’s not always possible — especially if you have joint custody. Joint policies resemble joint custody in that they are designed for both parents to hold a single auto insurance policy that covers their child — thus sharing responsibility equally. With separate insurance plans, each parent has an individual policy that covers the teenage driver.  

If the child splits their time equally between parents and one primary policyholder can’t be named, it is likely that the child will need to be covered by both. At that point, it's up to you parents to decide whether to get a joint policy or to add the child to your individual policies. A joint policy can, at times, be more affordable, which is why you’ll want to investigate all your options with your provider.

Addressing Premium Costs: Who Pays?

And this brings us to our next thorny topic: money. Money is always messy, and money after a divorce particularly so. If you’ve chosen a primary policyholder or you’ll be using separate policies, each parent will automatically be responsible for their own premiums. You can set up payment schedules directly with your respective auto insurance company and won’t need to worry about splitting anything. 

If you’ve opted for a joint policy, you’ll need to determine how you split payments — especially since car insurance costs can add up. Consider the following when making your decision:

  • Your child’s driving habits: Say one parent drives the child to school, and the other lets them borrow a car. The parent who allows the child to drive may logically need to pay more of the premium.
  • Your child’s car: Say one parent gave the child a fancy new car that comes with a higher insurance cost. It may be logical for that parent to pay the premium. 
  • 50/50 standard: If your separation agreement holds both parents to a 50/50 financial contribution, it may be best to stick with that standard. 

Depending on the nature of your separation, you may want to get your final decision on the payment split down in writing. 

Exploring Savings Opportunities 

As you look into who is covering what, you should also think about any available savings opportunities. Any little bit helps! Here are a few options that may be available to you:  

  • Multiple Policies: Some insurers offer deals if you have multiple policies. If one parent is a multi-policyholder at a specific provider, it may be worth taking out your child's car coverage there. 
  • Multiple Vehicles: Adding a vehicle to an existing policy can sometimes be cheaper than taking out an entirely new policy. 
  • Discounted Additional Driver: It may be more affordable to keep everyone on one policy to take advantage of possible deals on additional drivers. 

Finding the safest and most affordable option requires understanding your existing car insurance coverage, your ex’s policy, and other available options. Car insurance providers typically charge more for young drivers, so be extra vigilant when comparing rates and policies. 

Discover Car Insurance Options for Your Child With Marble

Life is complicated, no matter what! But Marble can make it just a little bit easier for you to navigate the ins and outs of your changing world. From joint and separate policies to searching for deals, we can help you compare policies and choose the best coverage for your family. Earn rewards and save money when you use Marble. Sign up today!