Question: My daughter drove our car without permission and got into a car accident. She only has a driver’s permit and was alone at the time. We have her listed on our policy, but we aren’t sure if our policy will cover her since she wasn’t supposed to be driving alone.

Answer: Getting into an accident while driving alone with only a learner’s permit will likely cause higher auto insurance rates, but the insurer should cover the damage.

Chances are that your daughter will be covered since you already have her listed on your policy as a driver. When a household member is listed as a driver on the policy, it’s assumed they have access and permission to drive the household vehicles. Find out more about car insurance for drivers with a learner’s permit.

Had your daughter not been listed, which some insurers don’t require of young drivers who have only their learner’s permit (and are supposed to be supervised at all times while driving), it’s more likely an insurance company would deny the claim.

Ultimately, it will be up to your car insurance company’s guidelines, which are based on state laws, that will decide if your car insurance policy will cover your teenage daughter’s car accident. If police cited your daughter for driving without a valid license, you should expect the combination of the violation and the accident to drive up your rates quite a bit.

In any case, you should inform your auto insurer about the accident and the facts surrounding it (that your daughter only has a permit and drove alone), and your insurer will tell you if the incident will be covered.

If the accident is covered, your liability insurance, bodily injury liability and property damage liability, will pay (up to your chosen limits) for the damages your daughter caused others. If the accident damage exceeds the limits, your daughter, as the driver, and you, as the car owner, will be held personally responsible for any monies that still need to be paid out to the other party. Your car needs collision coverage to be covered, and the associated deductible will apply.

If your insurer denies the claim, due to your daughter driving against the restriction of her permit, both you and she will be looked to for compensation for the other party’s damages and damages to your vehicle.

This accident, plus any offenses, such as driving without a license, can affect your future car insurance rates. 

Teenagers comprise a high-risk group for car insurance companies. Your daughter’s accident and breaking her permit restrictions show your auto insurer that she is even riskier, so your rates will likely go up during your renewal period. 

If your rates do rise, shop around for more affordable auto insurance, there may be another insurer that won’t rate the accident as seriously. And make sure to ask about all the discounts your family may be eligible for, such as a good student discount if your daughter maintains good grades in school.

Read more: Can you drive alone with your driver’s permit in New York?

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Executive Editor

Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.