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Teenage Drivers and Auto Insurance Liability Limits

If your family's car insurance liability limit is too low, you could be on the hook for thousands of dollars.

My wife, 18-year-old son and I have a multicar insurance policy with a $300,000 liability limit. My son drives one of our cars daily, but the title is in his mother’s name. Are we financially liable beyond the $300,000 if my son causes an accident? And would it make a difference if the car were titled and registered in his name?

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You could be on the hook for any damages above $300,000 if your son – or anyone in your family – causes a major accident. That is a good reason to boost the liability limits on your car insurance, especially if you have a teenage driver, and to consider buying an umbrella policy. With umbrella coverage, you can add $1 million or more to your auto and homeowners liability coverage, generally for $200 to $400 per year. See Why You Should Have Umbrella Liability Insurance for more information.

CALCULATOR: How Much Umbrella Insurance Do I Need?

If the car were titled in your son’s name, he could get his own insurance, which should limit your liability. But it can be very expensive for an 18-year-old male to buy auto insurance coverage on his own; it’s usually less expensive to keep family coverage with a multicar discount. See 8 Ways to Cut Insurance Costs for Teen Drivers for details.

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