When it comes to car insurance in Florida, one common concern that comes up is how (and if) family members can share vehicles, particularly if they aren’t all covered under the same insurance policy.
State law requires that vehicle owners obtain at least the minimum required level of auto insurance in Florida — though these limits are quite low and may not fully cover costs related to damages and injuries incurred by an accident.
Understanding who needs to be on a policy will directly influence both the total cost of your insurance premiums, as well as whether you will receive full financial coverage in the event of an accident.
With that in mind, here is a closer look at different scenarios where someone who is not under their parents’ insurance policy would (or wouldn’t) be covered by car insurance in Florida.
For this question, we’ll consider it from the perspective of letting an adult child who is no longer living at home drive the car.
That’s because when you obtain car insurance in Florida or elsewhere, insurance providers generally require that each driver who lives in the household be listed on the policy. If someone lives in your house and will regularly drive your vehicle, they must be listed on your insurance.
However, let’s say your adult son or daughter comes to visit from out of state, and while they’re visiting you, they need to borrow the car. If they do so with your permission, this won’t be an issue.
This type of driving falls under “permissive use”. In the most basic sense, this means that when someone who doesn’t live with you gets permission to borrow your car, they also are “borrowing” your auto insurance coverage while they drive it.
Despite this, permissive use policies tend to be very limited. Depending on your insurer, your policy may only cover a few trips per individual.
So, if your child is going to be staying with you for a few months and will be driving the car multiple times a week, “permissive use” coverage probably won’t apply. On the other hand, if they just visit for one or two weekends out of the entire year, permissive use coverage should apply.
That being said, if your child does not have any insurance and causes an accident, they could be held liable for damages that exceed your policy limits. Personal financial liability can prove quite costly for someone without insurance, particularly if an injured party decides to file a lawsuit.
While you should double-check your policy to understand the specific nature of your permissive use coverage, in situations where your adult child will be regularly using your car, you should make sure they have their own insurance (or are listed on your policy) before letting them drive.
When it comes to lending your car to other family members, the same “permissive use” guidelines generally apply as they would with your adult children. But just because someone who doesn’t live in your household can borrow your car, doesn’t mean you should necessarily allow them to do so.
After all, someone’s driving history and behaviors could influence their likelihood of getting in an accident — and could even cause your insurance company to deny coverage after an accident.
This is because permissive use policies typically have exceptions for drivers who are considered “high-risk.”
High-risk drivers could include an inexperienced driver who recently got their license, an individual with an extensive accident history or a driver who was charged with a DUI.
Of course, the potential lack of coverage if such an individual causes an accident isn’t the only thing to worry about. Being stuck without your car for weeks — or even months — while it is getting repaired can be a significant hardship that makes it harder to manage your daily responsibilities.
Needless to say, any time you let someone else borrow your car, there is a certain amount of risk involved. Before letting someone else borrow your car, make sure they’re licensed and have a good driving record. Know how they plan to use the car — where they are going, how long they plan on using it and so on.
Remember, it’s okay to say no to a family member when they ask to borrow your car. Sometimes, the risk simply isn’t worth it.
The “permissive use” policy mentioned previously doesn’t just apply to family members who don’t live at your home. It can actually apply to anyone who you give verbal permission to borrow your car. This includes friends, neighbors or even work associates.
If a person has permission to drive your car and they get in an accident, they will be covered by the protections offered by your insurance policy. Keep in mind, however, that some insurers offer lower levels of coverage for permissive use accidents. In this case, the driver’s policy would need to cover the rest.
There are a few exceptions that could prevent someone from being covered by your insurance when they borrow your car. Most policies do not allow for business use by a “permissive user.”
So, if you let your coworker borrow your car so they can go to the store to ship out a package for your business and they get in an accident, your permissive use coverage will not apply.
Insurers will also deny coverage if you loan your car to someone who does not have a driver’s license.
Finally, there’s the scenario when someone else uses your car without permission. It doesn’t matter if they know you, or if you’d given them permission to use your vehicle for other trips in the past.
If they cause an accident after taking your car without your permission, you won’t be held responsible for third-party damages — the driver will be.
That being said, you may still need to file a claim to ensure that repairs to your own vehicle are covered by your insurer. In addition, you will need to prove that you didn’t give the other driver permission to borrow your vehicle when they caused the accident.
If you’re concerned about potential risk when letting someone else drive your car, you could make sure that they at least carry non-owner car insurance in Florida.
This type of policy is specifically designed for people who don’t own their own car, but regularly borrow or rent other cars. This policy would act secondary to your own auto insurance, but can help cover expenses that exceed your own coverage limits.
When you have a teenage driver living at home with you, they must be added to your insurance policy. Auto insurance in Florida and elsewhere requires that you list all household members who can drive on the policy.
Insurers do this so they can accurately assess the risk of insuring you and your vehicles — and unfortunately, teen drivers are viewed as high risk, in large part due to their lack of driving experience.
Teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 have the highest risk for auto accidents, especially within the first few months after receiving their driver’s license.
To minimize their own financial risk, insurers will subsequently charge higher premiums for households with teenage drivers. Even if your teenager doesn’t drive the car very often, the fact that they live in your household means the insurer isn’t going to consider them driving your vehicle an instance of “permissive use.”
As noted earlier, permissive use policies typically have an exception for high-risk drivers, which includes inexperienced drivers such as teenagers. Even for a teenager who doesn’t live in your house, your insurance company would likely deny coverage if they got in an accident due to their lack of experience.
Car insurance in Florida allows parents to request their insurer to not cover certain individuals within their household — including teens. These “excluded drivers” are not legally allowed to use your vehicle. Parents may do this if they want to restrict their child’s driving privileges until they are more mature, or if they have had several traffic violations that have caused policy costs to go up.
Now, to look at things from the perspective of children who plan to borrow their parents’ car for an extended period of time — and to even take it with them to another state.
This type of situation is perhaps most common with college students who will be attending school out of state, and are taking a vehicle owned by their parents as a means of transportation.
To put it simply: yes, you can drive your parents’ car in another state, as long as you are also listed on the insurance policy for that vehicle. However, there are a few important things to keep in mind.
First is the title and registration of the vehicle. The title and registration are linked to where your parents live, because they are the ones who own the car.
As long as this remains the same, you don’t need to worry about updating the registration or getting new license plates for the vehicle — even if you are going to be staying out of state for an extended period of time.
Your own residency status is another consideration. When attending college out of state, you are still considered a resident of your home state (which would most likely be the same state where your parents’ car is registered). As a result, you could still keep your Florida driver’s license.
However, if you were to become a permanent resident of the other state, you would need to update your driver’s license. If the vehicle was still owned by your parents, you could continue to drive it as long as you are listed on their insurance policy.
If they transfer ownership of the title to you, you will need to register the car in your new state and obtain your own insurance coverage. Most states give new residents 30 to 90 days to complete these tasks.
If you are an excluded driver from your parents’ policy, you still cannot drive their vehicle, even if you have your own insurance.
Florida’s Named Driver Exclusion law requires that excluded drivers use their own vehicle, which will be covered under their own insurance policy. Coverage would not apply if you caused an accident while driving your parents’ vehicle.
Outside of the scenario in which you are listed as an excluded driver on your parents’ policy, you don’t have much to worry about when driving your parents’ car when you have your own separate insurance policy.
Even when you have your own insurance, permissive use coverage from your parents’ policy would apply when you borrowed their vehicle.
Depending on the details of your parents’ policy and the nature of the accident itself, your insurance may also need to pay for some of the damages. However, by having adequate insurance coverage yourself, you won’t be held personally liable for covering damages related to the accident.
As a no-fault state, your parents’ insurer would primarily be responsible for covering vehicle repairs and medical expenses for the occupants of your vehicle, regardless of who was responsible for the accident.
If another driver was responsible, the at-fault driver’s insurer could be held liable for repairs and medical bills that exceed your parents’ policy’s coverage limits.
If you need help finding car insurance in Florida, turn to Worth Insurance. Our free online tool makes it easy to quickly compare quotes from leading insurers in Florida so you can find the right policy for your needs — including if you’ll have other family members driving your vehicle.
Worth Insurance works with a wide network of carriers so that clients can find the type of coverage that best fits their unique situation. With quality coverage at a price you can afford, you can have confidence knowing that you will be financially protected, no matter what hazards the road might bring.