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Is My Teenager Covered if They Drive My Car and Are in an Accident?

Once your teen has their driver’s license, it is important that you name them on your insurance policy.

It is scary enough the day your child gets their permit to start driving, but it’s even more so when they get their license and you realize that you can no longer sit in the front seat all the time and ensure that they have their eyes on the road. When you allow your teen to drive your car, there are two things that you need to consider. The first is that they could be injured if there is a car accident. The second is that you could be on the hook for paying for whatever injuries or damage they cause.

In Missouri, any person who owns and operates a car is legally obligated to carry auto insurance. The mandatory minimum is called “liability insurance.” This is insurance coverage that will take care of the other person’s damages and injuries when you are at fault in an accident, as well as your injuries.

My teen was in a car accident

What is Vicarious Liability?

Vicarious liability is a rule that states that if someone is driving your car and they are in an accident and are at fault, you, the owner of the car, are both responsible and liable for any damages or injuries related to their accident. Vicarious liability covers anyone who borrows your car. In addition, if you employ someone and they use your vehicle for work, they are covered by your insurance. But, if you allow your teen to use your car, there are exceptions to the vicarious liability rule that would not cover your teen unless you take steps to insure them.

Vicarious liability will not apply if the person who is in an accident in your car lives with you and isn’t specifically stated on your insurance policy. That not only applies to teens but for anyone else with whom you share a residential address. In the same vein, if your spouse is driving your car and gets into an accident if they are not expressly named on your policy, then they also may not be covered.

So, to ensure that you’re not left paying out of pocket for any accident that your teen is in while they’re out on the road, it is imperative that you name them on your insurance policy. They have to be listed to be covered, otherwise, if they cause an accident, you can end up risking financial ruin. Before you hand over your keys to anyone your keys over – especially your teenager – it is important to understand what your policy will and will not cover if they are in an accident.

Speak With a St. Louis Injury Attorney

Don’t talk to an insurance claims adjuster before you speak with a lawyer. We can help you avoid making statements that may be taken out of context and later used against you by the insurance company.  If you were injured or lost a family member in a car or truck accident call our 24-hour attorney call center at (314) 361-4242 or toll-free (866) 763-6433 for a Free Consultation.

Updated: July 18, 2019