Are we liable for our adult child living at home with his own insurance policy?

by Suzanne
(McConnells, SC)

When we were raising our children (5), we had a conversation with the auto insurance agent. He was going over cost of adding them to our policy vs the cost of self-insure. The agent had said that when we have an adult child living in our home it does not matter if he has his own insurance, we could still be held liable because he lives in our home.

Our son now has a car co-signed by my husband. My son carries his own insurance but lives in our home. He lent his car to a friend in another state. We told him that he has put us in a liable situation and that if his friend gets into an accident we could lose our home.

He does not believe us and said we are making the information up and don't know what we are talking about. What is out position? Would we be liable if something were to happen? When are we and are we not liable in terms of an adult child living in our house? Thank you for any info.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Are we liable for our adult child living at home with his own insurance policy?":

Suzanne (McConnells, SC):

South Carolina Code protects homeowners from liens filed against them. Under South Carolina's Homestead Exemption law, the owner of property used as a residence has a right to keep up to $50,000 in equity in their home in the event a lien from a third party is filed against them.

While it may be a small comfort, this means in the event your son (or someone else) is in a car accident while driving the car and a lawsuit filed against them is successful, you will be able to keep up to $50,000 in equity in your home.

See South Carolina' statute on Homestead Exemptions here:
South Carolina Code - Chapter 41- Article 1 Section 15-41-10

In the event your son or a third party is driving the car, those who may be liable for property damage and personal injuries resulting from a car accident will be the driver and owner of the car.

Because your husband co-signed for the car, if his name is on the title, in the event of an accident he may be liable.

You haven't mentioned whether your son is under the age of eighteen. If so, whether your husband is on the title or not, you both may be legally responsible for property damage and injuries caused by your son while driving the car. This is especially true if he lives at home. If your son is over the age of eighteen, there may be a remedy...

Because your husband is on the title to the car, he has a legal right as part owner to have the car picked up and taken away. If that's the case, you can drive your husband to the car's location and he can drive it away. Or if that's not practical, then hire a towing company to do it for you.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

P.S. Please help us out by sharing this site...

Click here to post comments

Return to Liability / Fault Questions.

How Much Is Your Claim Worth?

Find out now with a FREE case review from an attorney...

How Much Are Your
Injuries Worth?

Find out with a
free attorney review: