Visitor Question

What’s the parental auto insurance liability for 21 year old son?

Submitted By: Bradley (Nashville, Tennessee)

I’m trying to understand auto insurance risk. My son is 21 and in college. He owns and drives a car. If he had an auto accident in which there was significant medical cost and/or death to the other party, and my 21 year old son was found responsible, can the injured party or their family sue us (his parents)?

If not, then that significantly lowers my insurance risk and therefore the cost of the auto insurance, correct? Is there any way to control the cost and liability? The referenced state is Tennessee. Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Bradley,

At 21 years of age, your son is an adult for legal purposes. This means you are not legally liable for property damage or injuries he may cause. Your facts imply you pay the insurance premiums for your son. What is not clear is whether your son’s car insurance policy is independent and separate from yours, or whether he is listed as an insured under your policy.

In the event your son’s negligence results in property damage and/or injuries to one or more third parties, those injured parties would only be able to pursue your son, and not you for the injuries and related expenses sustained by injured parties.

In the event of an accident caused by your son, it is likely neither you nor your son would be sued. On the contrary, the injured parties would simply file a claim under the insurance policy.

The injured parties would have access to the amount of funds available under the policy under which your son was insured at the time of the accident. In the event the accident is so serious as to result in medical bills and property damage in excess of the limits if the policy, then the injured can turn to your son, and not you, for the excess costs.

Learn more here: Tennessee Car Accident Guide

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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