Car insurance for new drivers can be brutally expensive. 

New drivers face a higher risk of accidents, making their car insurance rates 5-6x the national average. Over the course of a year, car insurance rates for new drivers can be as much as $4,000-5,000. Facing insurance rates like this, you’ll want to do everything you can to keep your car insurance payments as low as possible. Aside from comparing rates across insurance companies, going to driving school, and keeping a clean driving record, being listed as a secondary driver on a parent or guardian’s insurance policy is one of the most effective ways to reduce your insurance premiums.

We’ve pulled together this guide to help you understand the qualifying criteria, savings, and implications of joining your parents’ car insurance as a secondary or occasional driver. Read on below:

What is the benefit of going on your parents’ car insurance policy?

Going on your parents’ car insurance policy as a secondary or occasional driver can represent considerable savings, and is a great way to build up your insurability and driving record in an inexpensive way. Car insurance rates tend to be most expensive until you’re about 25 years old, so joining your parents’ car insurance policy until then (all while keeping a clean driving record, of course!) can help you save a considerable sum.

The exact savings that you’ll be eligible for as a secondary driver depends on your age, driving record, and sex. To determine exactly how much you’ll save as a secondary driver, contact your insurance provider or broker.

When are you eligible to go on your parents’ car insurance policy?

When you hear people talk about someone going on their parents’ car insurance policy, what it really means is being listed as a secondary or occasional driver on their parents’ car. As a result, in order to go on your parents’ car insurance, you cannot have your own car; you must be listed as a secondary / occasional driver on your parents’ vehicle.

While each insurance company has their own rules around the definition of a secondary / occasional driver, many insurance companies allow you to qualify as a secondary / occasional driver if you use the vehicle less than 50% of the time. Some insurance companies may have mileage limitations, though, so it’s best to check with your insurance broker.

How long can you stay on your parents’ car insurance policy?

There’s no age limit or expiration date on being listed as an occasional driver – as long as you truly are a secondary or occasional driver, you can continue to stay on your parents’ car insurance policy. It doesn’t matter whether you’re 16 or 61 – what does matter is that you meet your insurance company’s definition of a secondary or occasional driver.

If you live at a different address, get married, or otherwise are no longer dependent on your parents, it may complicate the picture, even if you continue to use the vehicle occasionally. Additionally, if you buy your own car, in most cases you will no longer qualify as a secondary driver on your parents’ vehicle. 

Can I use my driving school insurance discount on my parents’ insurance policy?

Yes! The 10-20% insurance savings that you receive from completing an MTO-approved Beginner Driver Education (BDE) Course is unrelated to whether you’re a primary or secondary driver. As a result, you can still receive your 10-20% insurance discount even if you’re a secondary driver – though it’s best to check with your insurance company just to be sure.