Question: My daughter lives with me and is on my car insurance policy. The car she drives is in her father’s name and she is not on his policy. Will she be covered if she were to have an accident?
Answer: There is a strong possibility that if your daughter had an accident in her father’s car that it wouldn't be covered. Car insurance follows a car and not a driver, so if it’s the father’s car that she is driving, then he needs to have auto insurance on it that covers her.
You are neither the owner of the car nor the insurer of it. If your daughter damages the car, your insurance will not pay to repair it. If your daughter causes an accident, it is the father's insurance that pays for the damages she causes. That is, if they decide to pay at all.
They could easily deny coverage if your daughter were in an accident and cite misrepresentation as the reason. They could say that her father misrepresented who was driving the car and the garaging location of the car; thus, they didn’t have the correct information to rate the policy or even decide if they would even take on those risks.
Your daughter’s father needs to inform his car insurance company that she is driving his car and keeping it at your house instead of his.
Insurance company rules vary, so his insurer may find this situation to acceptable and merely require that your daughter be added on the policy so that she will be covered if she has an accident in his car.
Some insurers, though, will take issue with the fact she doesn’t live with him. If that happens, he may have to find a different insurer or add his daughter’s name to the title, so she can get her own policy on the vehicle. (See "A parent's guide to insuring a teen driver.")
It’s pretty common for parents of a young driver who divides time between parents, or drives cars of parents who live in different homes, to be insured by both parents. Your insurer requires you to insure your daughter since she is a licensed household member and could drive your cars, and her father’s insurer will require it because she is driving his car.
It's expensive to insure a young driver. Make sure you encourage your daughter to get good grades so that you and her father can see if your insurers will give you a good student discount to get cheaper rates. (See "What a teen does to your car insurance rates.")