Is My Baby in the Back Seat Covered Under My Car Insurance?

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Is my child covered under my car insurance policy?
When and how does my car insurance cover my child?
How much does my car insurance cover my child?
How much will I pay if the car insurance policy does not cover my child?
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Is my child covered under my car insurance policy?

Now that I have a child, I’m constantly worried about their safety when they’re in the car with me. I also worry if I have enough protection should an accident happen. Does my car insurance policy provide coverage for my child, too?

Yes. The personal auto policy is designed to protect parents and members of their family who use the car. Family members are also protected when riding in the auto with the policyholder.

When and how does my car insurance cover my child?

Personal auto insurance policies provide two main types of coverage: liability and medical payments. Let’s break each down.

  • Liability coverage: This aspect of insurance covers damage done to and by our vehicle. Liability coverage applies to both property damage and bodily injury. Property damage coverage will take care of expenses for damage done to vehicles or other property struck by your car, including your own property and/or a third party’s. Bodily injury coverage pays medical fees for others injured in a wreck. If your child is old enough to drive your car and crashes it, this coverage will apply to them, too.
  • Medical payments: This aspect of coverage is designed to protect you and the other occupants of your car. If the driver injures themself or any family members riding with them during an accident, medical payments coverage will take care of the fees. So if your child is riding with you at the time of an accident and gets injured, medical payments will cover them.

Something interesting to keep in mind is that depending on which state you live in, if you cause an accident and your child is riding with you and gets injured, they can sue you. This isn’t extremely common, but it does happen.

But what happens if your teenager is feeling rebellious and decides to “borrow” your car for a little joyride, and ends up wrecking it or damaging property? Well, your personal auto policy will still cover them through vicarious liability. The vehicle belongs to you, and who you let drive it is your responsibility. This is still true even if your child takes the car out behind your back. Any injured or upset third parties would be suing the owner of the car, or the parent, in the event of an incident anyway.

How much does my car insurance cover my child?

They’re covered up to your policy’s limits on each aspect of the insurance. So if there’s a liability issue such as property damage caused by your child driving your car, insurance will pay for damages up to the limit specified in your policy. If your child gets injured in an accident while riding with you, their medical bills will be covered up to your policy’s medical payments limit.

Your policy’s limits will be specific to you. You may purchase a policy with the state’s legal minimum limits, or you may increase your limits up into the millions for both aspects of coverage. How much coverage you want is up to you, but if you’ve got children to think about, you might consider increasing these limits a good bit—especially if they’ll be driving your car.

How much will I pay if the car insurance policy does not cover my child?

Paul Martin Insurance expert answers Q&A

You’ll be responsible for the remainder, or whatever’s left over above the policy’s coverage limits. Medical payments coverage typically comes with $5,000 or $10,000 limits. So if your child got injured and required $11,000 of medical treatment afterwards, you’d pay the remaining $6,000 or $1,000, depending on your personal policy. The same applies to liability coverage—you pay whatever’s left over.

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