Car Insurance for the Whole Family

Whether you have a learning driver in your family, post-secondary students who live at home, or older children who return home, you may be wondering if you need to name them on your auto insurance policy. We’ve got a few answers for you.

Do I List My Children on My Auto Policy?

If your children will only use your vehicle(s) in an emergency, then you don’t have to have them specifically listed on your policy. However, if they will likely use your vehicle once or twice a week, even if they have their own, then you should list them as an occasional driver on your policy.

Does My Child Have to Have Their Own Insurance to Drive My Car?

Generally speaking, no, though there are caveats. For example, if an insurer designates your child as a high-risk driver and declines insurance, the insurer may also decline to add your child’s name to your insurance policy. That will likely not affect most people, though.

My Child Lost Their License, But I Believe They’re Fine to Drive.

People lose their license for many reasons: careless driving, committing a traffic-related criminal offense, or having a heart attack or seizure. This means they do not have a valid license in Ontario and therefore cannot drive any vehicle, including yours.

Young driver
Young driver

If you allow someone who cannot legally drive to drive your vehicle and they get into an accident, it can affect your insurance policy. The Insurance Bureau of Canada says, “When you lend your vehicle, remember that you also lend your insurance record.”

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario echoes that sentiment. “Remember, it is not only the driver but also the owner of the vehicle who is liable when an accident is caused with his or her vehicle. This puts a heavy onus on owners to ensure that they give only licensed and competent drivers permission to operate their vehicle!”

My Spouse Has Been Diagnosed With Dementia. Can They Drive My Vehicle?

We’re sorry to hear about your spouse’s recent diagnosis. Losing the ability to drive causes a major transition in a person’s life and in the lives of those around them. However, driving a vehicle is not just about the safety of the driver and their passengers; it’s also about the safety of others on the road. Please ask your doctor about your spouse’s ability to drive. If your spouse can no longer legally drive, then they can no longer drive the family vehicle. Contact your broker to make the necessary changes to your family auto insurance.

My Child Got Into an Accident. Will My Insurance Company Cover It?

Oh no! That’s terrible news, and we hope your child and any others in the accident are all right. The ultimate answer to this question resides with your insurer: we can’t answer it directly for you. However, according to the FSCO, your insurance company can deny payment in certain circumstances:

  • The driver lost control of the car because of the effects of alcohol or drugs.
  • The driver is convicted of one of several Criminal Code offences (or any similar offences under any law in Canada or the U.S.) that pertain to the use, care, or control of the vehicle. This includes driving the vehicle while not allowed to do so.

In addition, there may be no coverage under your personal insurance policy for your family and anyone in the vehicle. For example, insurance won’t cover you if the vehicle was used for commercial purposes like ride-sharing.

car insurance
Are you covered?

It can be tempting to withhold information from your insurer about the use of your vehicle to keep your premiums down. However, carrying auto insurance in Ontario is required by law. If you’re unsure about what your insurance policy does and doesn’t cover, contact your insurer or your broker to get clarification.

Searching auto insurance online
Searching auto insurance online

Although adding children to your policy may raise your rates, shop around and see what you can do to lower those rates. Automobile accidents happen in the blink of an eye: you don’t want to be out tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars because you were trying to save a few on car insurance for your family.

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