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Family Car Doctrine

The family car doctrine holds the owner of a family car legally responsible for any damage caused by a family member when driving if the owner knew of and consented to the family member’s use of the car. This doctrine is applied by about half of the states. Thus, even if a parent does not have a minor household member listed on the auto insurance policy, under the family car doctrine, the adult remains liable. Most insurance policies have special provisions for members of the household under eighteen. Typically, minor drivers must be included on the policy. The car owner would not be able to invoke the uninsured motorist provision for a minor child driver residing in the insured’s household, driving the insured’s vehicle.

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