If I have just transferred ownership of a car to my 20 year old son who is on my policy, can I be held liable in the event that he has an accident?

He is a student living at home. He is currently covered by my auto insurance policy. I have been assured by one insurance agent that if he has an accident, I will have no liability beyond the limits of the insurance coverage. Another agent for a different company is saying that as long as he is on my insurance policy, I can be be personally liable. Who is correct?

Asked on March 19, 2014 under Accident Law, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If your son is at fault in an accident and the case is NOT settled with your insurance carrier, you will be liable and will be named as a defendant in a lawsuit.  Liability for negligence in a personal injury claim from an auto accident would include compenation for the medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills and compensation for wage loss.  If the property damage to the vehicle that was not at fault in the accident has not been settled, you would also be liable for that.

It would be advisable for your son to have his own insurance policy.  Then you would not be potentially liable since he is an adult and is the registered owner of the vehicle. 

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