I bought a new car last year and kept my old one so he could use it. He attends a college about 50 miles away and has it with him there. But due to the close proximity of school, he does a lot of commuting home. My question is was it a mistake to leave it in my name.
I have to disagree with Supe on this and I'll give you the point of view of a 35 year veteran of the insurance business.
Keep the car in your name. Having two cars on the same policy gives you a multi-car discount. Separating the ownership results in a big increase in rates on his car and if you are supporting him through college there's no sense in wildly increasing your rates if you don't have to.
Insurance companies have no problem with a parent providing a car for a college student away from home. In fact there is even a classification for it. Just make sure you notify the insurance company of the change and get the policy properly adjusted. Insurance companies generally allow that until the student graduates.
I'm worried that if he gets into trouble with it, I will be liable
There's a difference between liability and coverage. You wouldn't be liable for accidents caused by your son, but the policy would certainly cover them and protect you if you were also named in a lawsuit.
Things have been finacialy tough over the last few years and we can't afford a law suit. The only thing we have of value is the house. Losing that will destroy us.
Then increase your liability limits to greater than the value of the house. Limits of $300,000 would probably be enough since the majority of liability claims are settled out of court for less than that.
(Should we put a Homestead on it
That's probably a good idea regardless of any other considerations.
Here's the statute:
Here's a guide:
Here's the form:
And the fact that he just turned 21 worries us that there may be more dangerous activity coming soon. (He's not a bad kid, but mistakes can be made). Would it be smart to put the car into his name or is there another solution?
The solution is leave it as is and trust your kid to be responsible. If something happens, you and he are covered.
Personal note. I provided a car for my daughter throughout college and insured it on my policy. She even had an at-fault accident at one point. No big deal. Insurance paid and we still kept the policy as is. When she graduated and got a job, she bought herself a new car and paid for her own insurance.
That's how it's supposed to work.