I made a claim for damage to my car. I didn't know how it
happened but thought it must have been a hit-and-run while I was at
a friend's house. The adjuster said the damage wasn't
consistent with my story, and they need to investigate
further. My daughter has now confessed that she took my car
on a joyride, to see if she could drive stick shift, and ended up
hitting some bushes and the curb when coming off the freeway.
Now what will happen with my claim?
A child secretly taking your car out for a joyride has to be every
parent's nightmare. You at least can find comfort in the fact
that your daughter was only in a minor accident and that no one was
Since the claim was already made, you now need to inform the
insurance adjuster working your claim that your daughter confessed
to taking the car out without your knowledge. With this new
information, your insurance provider will determine if the claim
will be accepted or denied according to the terms of your policy
and state laws.
If your daughter is licensed and listed as a driver on your auto
insurance policy, then the incident should be covered by your
(once your car insurance company can confirm that her description
of the incident is consistent with the damage your car
If the claim is accepted, your
will be due (maybe you can get your daughter to pay you back for
that cost as part of her punishment), and the car should be
It might also be found that your daughter damaged someone's
landscaping with the bushes she hit. If this is the case, the
homeowners (or state is it was public property) should be informed
and may make a claim against your
property damage liability
If your daughter isn't listed on the policy, then to cover your
car's damages (and any liability claims against your policy) your
insurance company is likely going to require you to add your
daughter to the policy. They may charge you from the time that she
received her license and should have been added to the policy
according to their guidelines.
If your daughter wasn't listed, or was specifically excluded
from your auto policy, then your company may be able to deny any
claims, making you personally responsible to cover the damages to
your car and any other property damage she caused.
Having your car crashed by a child who isn't listed on the
policy (or excluded from it), can result in your policy being
canceled or non-renewed
by your insurance company (if state laws allow).
If your car insurance policy does cover this incident, then it's
very likely that your premiums will go up at renewal time, since it
will be considered an at-fault accident. Accidents normally
affect your rates for the next three years, but check with your
insurer and your state's insurance regulator to see exactly how
long you can be surcharged for this incident.