Children and Auto Insurance

Generally speaking, auto insurance companies require that children be listed on the family insurance policy. It is not an absolute requirement, but it stands policyholders in good stead when there is an accident in which a child is hurt. All persons residing within a home should ideally be listed on the family car insurance policy whatever their ages, whether they drive or not. They should be listed either as named insureds or as resident relatives. The principle is the same as for homeowners conducting an inventory to support their insurance policy.

Moreover, as children approach the ages where they will be driving, it will be necessary that they be listed on the policy. If they had been listed all along, then it is quite likely that the parents will be spared at least some portion of the typical huge spike in premium that comes when teenage automobile insurance is first added on to the family's motor vehicle insurance policy.

This is of especial importance in divorce situations where children effectively have more than one official residence. If a child is not listed on either parent's policy, problems could arise if that child were ever to be involved in an accident.

Protecting Children

State authorities are notoriously intolerant of failures to keep children safe in automobiles, and with very good reason. They pay extremely close attention to the care that is taken of children riding in motor vehicles, and insurance companies takes their cues from these, demanding the same levels of compliance to the basic rules of motor vehicular child safety.

The tiny bodies of children are easily hurt and are significantly less hardy than are those of adults. Safety equipment such as firmly anchored car seats for babies and booster seats for slightly bigger children are a national standard. Car companies also recommend against strapping children with only the use of a standard seatbelt. If an accident occurs, the child will be restrained by the seatbelt, but could also sustain serious internal injuries from the belt itself.

States vary in their requirements and in the severity of their enforcement of this rule, but there is a general consensus that small children should not be allowed to drive in the front seat of vehicles, particularly those with passenger side airbags. The force with which airbags deploy could be fatal for small children, and cause severe injuries to older kids. Car manufacturers warn that children should best be sat in the back seats of cars. Some states legislate that they may not be seated in the front seat if they weigh less than sixty pounds, or if they are less than six or seven years old. Some other states set the minimum age as high as twelve years old.

When accidents occur in which a child is hurt, insurance companies will, justifiably, refuse to pay claims if it is evident that the child was not properly restrained as recommended by the manufacturer, or as mandated by the laws of the state. Very likely, insurance rates will rise after such an accident, and perhaps quite substantially.

When teenage children are given permission to drive the family vehicle, they must be added to the vehicle insurance policy the moment they receive their learner's permit. Chances are, the family insurance rates will climb as a result of children drivers. If they are eventually given a vehicle of their own, that too, will increase the premium that the family pays because it will include another vehicle and because it will also cover an inexperienced driver. This changes however, once the drivers resident in the home attain twenty-five years of age.


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