How to protect our assets if our daughter gets her own car?

by Rob
(West Palm Beach, FL)

My wife and I want to protect our assets from potential liability associated with our 19 yr. old daughter taking a car to college. She is a full time student, but we provide most of her support and we claim her as a dependent on our taxes. She lives at home during the summer and holidays.

The car would be in our daughter's name. She currently is listed on our insurance policy, but we are considering having her get a policy of her own. Is this necessary or can she remain on our policy and have my wife and I insulated from liability if she were to have an auto accident?

Our insurance company says that, if we claim her as a dependent, then nothing we do insulates us. According to them, it doesn't matter if she gets her own policy or remains on ours, or whether she has a car in her name only. That doesn't seem to be true from what I have read.

What is the law regarding liability here? How can we insulate ourselves from liability if our daughter has an accident? Any information or suggestions you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for a helpful website.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "How to protect our assets if our daughter gets her own car?":

Rob (West Palm Beach, FL):

Parental liability for injuries and property damage caused by minor children is set out in Florida Revised Statutes Title 23 - Section 322.09.

In the State of Florida, for legal purposes your daughter is over the age of 18, and therefore she's not considered a minor. Your daughter's residing in your home does not make you or your husband liable for property damage and injuries she may cause.

Moreover, claiming your daughter as a dependent does not make you and your husband legally liable for property damage and injuries she may cause. Once again, for legal purposes, your daughter is not a minor. Therefore liability should not attach to your or your husband.

Liability should also not attach to you personally simply because your daughter is on your insurance policy. Of course, the policy will cover her for any damages she causes in an auto accident.

If the car is solely in your you're daughter's name, you and your husband should not be liable for injuries or property damage your daughter may cause.

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

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