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How does car insurance work for teens with divorced parents?

father teaching son to drive

Getting a divorce is stressful for all parties involved. The legal and financial issues can have an especially profound impact on any kids in the family. There may be a custody battle between two parents that can hopefully be resolved amicably.

Then there’s the issue of what possessions belong to which parent and how kids can have access to them. One of the most important ones is which parent is responsible for the car insurance of their teenage driver.

Kids who are driving their parents’ vehicles may end up driving whichever car is available to them depending on who is taking care of them at the time.

Can I insure my car at a different address? Does a teen with a learner’s permit need to be listed on my policy? It’s important to know what happens when a teen driver is keeping a car at one parent’s house when the other parent is insuring the vehicle. We’ll dig into other specifics of car insurance in a divorce below.

Making Sure to Avoid Fraud

If you are insuring a car that is no longer going to be at your address, but rather at the address of the home that your child is living in, make sure to communicate this with your agent.

If you put the wrong address on your insurance application, the company may think you are trying to deceive them. Fraud is not a good thing on your record. You could have your license and insurance taken away.

The car needs to be driven to the address that you put on the insurance application. If you put both your location and your child’s primary location on the application, this should clear everything up for your insurance company.

Many times you will find your insurance will go up if the location of the divorced parent is deemed more dangerous. Teens are already expensive to insure. If they move to a high-risk area with a parent who is not on the insurance application, the paying parent will have to find the money for higher insurance rates. It is an unfortunate byproduct of divorce.

If the other parent wants to make things easier, they can ask them to help pay for the insurance after a divorce. Many times the expenses are divided evenly, just as the assets are. If both parents drove the same car before the divorce, it is only fair for both of them to continue to pay after it.

Help Your Child Through Divorce

It is important to set limits with kids after a divorce. Let them know what they have access to in each parent’s home, but never take your stress out on them. Teenagers already have enough on their plates. Their driving may suffer if parents are contributing to their stress during or after a divorce.

The same safety procedures and practices should be in place for your teen no matter where they are living after a divorce. This is an even better time to get a driving monitoring device put in the vehicle so that parent who is not with the child can get proper updates on the driving habits of their teen.

This will let everyone know when the teen driver is speeding, if they are driving after dark, and if they are in the car longer than they were allowed to be.

Make sure that teens are not taking advantage of the new living arrangements by driving more than they are allowed to. This could lead to an increased chance of accidents and higher insurance rates. This can be financially detrimental, as it is hard enough finding cheap insurance rates for teenagers.

If your teen was only allowed to drive to a friend’s house on the weekends, check in with the other parent to monitor whether these schedules are staying the same. Make the rules consistent between parents. Mom shouldn’t be making new rules that contradict what Dad said back when the family unit was whole.

This will only further confuse who is in charge after a divorce and lead a teenager to rebel and do what they want. Don’t make things harder than they have to be. As long as the same rules are in place for when a child gets to drive, they shouldn’t be confused as to what’s happening.

The effects of divorce on kids and teens are wide-ranging. If you let them know the divorce has nothing to do with them, kids can try to remain in their normal routines as much as possible.

Possession of a Car After Divorce

Deciding who gets to keep a family car after divorce can also affect a teen driver. This is most difficult when the whole family owns one car. The person who bought the car usually gets to keep the car after the divorce.

If the car was bought after the marriage became official, then it gets messier. The parent who is granted custody of their teen driver may get to keep the car because it will allow the teenager access to the vehicle still.

This makes it harder for the parent who doesn’t get the car, and it makes it frustrating for the teenager when they are with that parent. Talk to your divorce attorney about the specifics of car possession after divorce. They will always have more information for you unique to your situation.

Other Possessions in a Divorce

You may be able to base car insurance after a divorce on the other assets that are divided by the state. Whoever is going to be taking care of the child mainly is going to be granted more in the divorce. Who owned the item first is a significant factor in the decision by the courts, but which person needs the thing to take care of their child afterward is equally important.

If the interests of the child are put first, there shouldn’t be any arguing between parents about who gets to own what. This applies to car insurance payments and any other type of responsibility. Teens have so many responsibilities to worry about, and they shouldn’t be concerned about petty legal bickerings between parents.

Jeff Johnson's picture

Jeff Johnson writes and researches for the car insurance comparison site, He wants to help families understand how insurance works regardless of their living situation.