Car Insurance for Your Au Pair: What do you pay? (Survey)

by cv harquail on February 5, 2016

Please join us in finding the best deals by adding your car insurance info to our
Google Spreadsheet at this link: Au Pair Mom Car Insurance Survey  . 


The cost of insuring your Au Pair to drive your family’s car(s) is one of the unpleasant surprises of hosting an Au Pair.  

I don’t think there’s anyone who’s been delighted to get a quote from their insurance carrier.

In our family, I felt reasonably lucky that we have a great insurance provider (USAA) that offered a ‘good student’ discount and a ‘safe driver discount’ that we could get for our Au Pair.  And, it didn’t hurt that our Au Pairs drove an older car when they were off duty and only drove around town when they were on duty.

What does it really cost to insure your Au Pair to drive your family car?

au pair, driving problems, liscenceI’m talking about fully insuring him or her, as a listed, regular driver and not as a “guest”.

(More on ‘designating your Au Pair driver’ in an upcoming post.) 

I’ve set up a Google Spreadsheet at this link: Au Pair Mom Car Insurance Survey    

The survey is open to anyone who’d like to add data from their Host Family’s experience.

The spreadsheet asks for:

— Your State (2 letter abbreviation),
— Your Car Insurance Provider,

— Your Deductible (since this is such an important variable),
— How many cars your AP is insured to drive (in case this matters) and
— Your Annual Cost to Insure Your Au Pair.  

There’s also a place for comments– please use this space to address costs and coverage, maybe to mention any special discounts you were able to negotiate.

Comments on other elements of car insurance can be added to this post, below.  


WestMom February 5, 2016 at 11:55 am

Hi CV. I think there is perhaps something missing in the spreadsheet. Premiums might be for more than one car, but AP might only drive one car, right? Or should the total premiums be only for the one car AP actually drives? Also in that case, we should list how many drivers are insured for that car… as well as car make/year (a new Land Rover won’t be the same cost as an old Ford Fiesta) You know what I mean… It’s not apples to apples.

I would suggest the following fields?
– State
– Insurance provider
– Car make/Model
– Portion of premiums for AP insurance
– Deductible
– Quick blurb about AP (age, gender, number of years with DL)
– AP has local driver’s license Y/N

WestMom February 5, 2016 at 12:02 pm

I see you removed the premiums column. Makes more sense… :)

cv harquail February 5, 2016 at 8:25 pm

I’m trying to make it as simple as possible… so that’s why no make/model/year.
I’m presuming that everyone gets a local license (b/c it’s required).
The cost column is about the cost of insuring the AP specifically. We’re interested in the upcharge, not the total or percentage. These might be useful figures, but I’m trying to find the sweet spot between simple, informative, and helpful.

WestMom February 5, 2016 at 10:44 pm

This is our first year getting a local driver’s license and when I mentioned this to our LCC, she said AP didn’t need to get a DL. So this makes me curious… It is really required?

OMDG February 7, 2016 at 9:03 am

Probably depends on the state. In PA it’s not required that they get a US license *if* they are only here for one year, and *if* they have an international one. But, if they are going to drive, you still need to add them to your insurance. In our city, it would have been an extra $2000 per year for a 19 year old. When we had a 27 year old, it cost us $0 extra.

OMDG February 7, 2016 at 9:05 am

Oh yes, and this was for a 2008 Subaru Forester. We live in a city where people like to sue.

Eastcoastmom February 7, 2016 at 2:16 pm

I’ve always been told the AP doesn’t need a DL unless he or she extends and then it’s required for year 2.

hOstCDmom February 7, 2016 at 3:26 pm

It is a matter of state law for how long one may drive without a state license. So this varies state-by-state. And different states even treat different countries differently, for example Connecticut will not recognize at all Chinese issued international drivers license. But I believe New York will. And some states will allow a French or German etc. to just exchange their country license for a state license without taking any exams.

But on top of the state law issue is the insurance company issue. An insurance company may require something different and more stringent than the state law. So even if the state law allows Au Pair to drive for one year on their international drivers license, the insurance company may still say that they won’t ensure the open-air unless he or she has a state license etc.

hOstCDmom February 7, 2016 at 3:27 pm

* insure the Au Pair :)

TexasHM February 7, 2016 at 8:10 pm

In TX APs are required to get a DL within 90 days of arrival. APs from certain countries (as of today its France, Germany, South Korea and Taiwan) can do a license exchange without having to test but our French AP that did this never got her license back despite following the process to a T.

Our insurance allows them to drive with us on their international license until they pass the test (does everyone on here know that an international license actually doesn’t mean anything? It is literally just a translation of their country license into several languages. There is no test, no requirements other than having a license in whatever country they live in which as many have mentioned, can be bought in some popular AP countries! It would be like taking my Texas drivers license and translating it into French and German and voila! I have an international license!).

Taking a Computer Lunch February 8, 2016 at 7:44 am

I tell our European APs to make sure they photocopy their driving license from their home country. None have had a problem getting their license back upon return.

My state gives APs a one-year grace period to drive on their international license. However, my insurance company does not. Just had to light a fire under an AP who has made everything but getting a DL a priority.

Reluctant Grownup February 5, 2016 at 8:52 pm

I really agree that the cost of AP car insurance for first time host families can be shocking. I know that it’s completely in our power to determine how much it will be, and even screen for age, etc, with the coat in mind

Howevere, I wish agencies gave a realistic range to lessen the shock, and to have us think really carefully about whether we require a driver/ offer car access on our profiles. For families that don’t require driving for the job, especially in areas with good walkability and transport, iinsuring the au pair for her leisure driving is a definite and expensive perk.

WarmStateMomma February 8, 2016 at 10:08 am

I don’t think the agencies can give families this kind of info. In Houston (4th largest city in the US), we have loads of mega freeways and you can’t get anywhere without taking a highway or three. Yet it only cost $40/month to add a 22-yo AP with a Chinese DL to my insurance. I can’t imagine that would be sticker shock for anyone, but it sounds like other insurance agencies charge a lot more. It would be misleading for an AP agency to tell families it would cost $40/month when so many families pay so much more.

HD and I never served in the military, but our fathers did. That was enough to qualify for USAA insurance which is way better than the State Farm insurance we used to carry.

Mom2Jack February 8, 2016 at 11:15 am

Last year I spoke to USAA about car insurance – as it appears to be much cheaper than the insurance that we are using in terms of adding our au pair. Both of our fathers served in the military. We were told by USAA that we could not obtain insurance from them unless our Fathers had had insurance with them – which was not our case. So we were out of luck.

hOstCDmom February 8, 2016 at 11:39 am

We are in the same situation as WarmStateMama – DH and I did not serve, but my father did, and he has had USAA insurance for decades. Thus I can have USAA, and as my spouse DH can also; same re my kids as my dependents.

USAA has been around for quite some time, but until fairly recently, to have USAA insurance, one had to be or have been an officer in the military, or be the dependent of a former officer in the military, such officer who had had USAA insurance himself/herself). I believe that non-commissioned officers and their dependents may now join USAA.

It is my understanding that USAA insurance rates are often lower because the demographic they insure tends to be law abiding, careful, and statistically less likely to engage in negligent or reckless behavior that would lead to accidents/liability. (And have something to lose if they did engage in such behavior)

(Although, as a personal aside, I can see how this would be true for officers themselves, but I don’t really see how their dependents would necessarily be statistically less likely to be a better bet…? Or their APs for that matter! :))

WarmStateMomma February 8, 2016 at 11:42 am

My FIL was career Navy and I think he does have USAA himself.

Reluctant Grownup February 8, 2016 at 11:59 am

USAA sounds amazing. As we have a military grandfather, we may look into this.

I think LCCs could ask everyone in their cluster how much they pay and do a spreadsheet like this. Then it’s geographically specific, and it could help host families hunt for good deals.

As a first time HF, we said “we’ll get you insured after the 30 day guest window, for leisure driving.” Then, we realized $130 a month, for someone who didn’t really like our household, her job, or children, was something we shouldn’t have promised outright. We should have seen how it went and given a surprise perk instead of having our AP feel the least bit baited and switched.

WarmStateMomma February 8, 2016 at 12:20 pm

USAA is great! I had an expensive car that was hit twice. Once, the driver had USAA and they actually helped me more than my agency. The other time, someone with the same agency as me hit my car. They gave me a hard time about approving repairs because they hadn’t determined who was at fault yet. Even though the other driver reported to the agency that she was completely at fault for hitting my parked car AND we both had the same agency so the agency had to pay for the repair either way. Absurd.

Reluctant Grownup February 5, 2016 at 9:39 pm

Wow that was a lot of typos. Sorry.

hostmama in CA February 6, 2016 at 3:10 pm

I was just talking with my insurance agent about this as we have a new au pair. I am in CA and insurance is with State Farm. The first 21 days she can borrow the car with her international license. After that CA license is required and she needs to be listed on the insurance. I provide an old car so I don’t stress about it much if dings happen and to decrease cost. 1994 Subaru Legacy. $500 deductible. My au pair is 26 years old and has been driving 8 years in Europe. She will get “credit” for 18 months driving experience here. They quoted me $80/month.

WestMom February 6, 2016 at 4:52 pm

I posted above about our situation in NY state. Can you actually get a DL in California in 21 days?

hostmama in CA February 6, 2016 at 7:59 pm

I believe so. It is impossible to get an appointment, but you can have her show up for a walk-in and wait several hours in line to do the written test.

Old China Hand February 6, 2016 at 6:49 pm

How do people deal with the wait once the Au pair gets her permit and before she takes her road test? Our insurance doesn’t require we add a permit driver since we are required to be with her. But then the whole thing where she no longer can drive on her own once she passed the written test is crazy. She could until the day she took her test. So I guess she could show her international license if pulled over but our insurance won’t cover her on that if she has been using the car for over 30 days. So how do you work around this?

FL Mom February 8, 2016 at 10:42 am

CV…This post is completely misleading…I work in the insurance industry and can say this with confidence. Auto insurance premiums within a zip code can vary by company by hundreds of dollars due to different rate plans not to mention the vast differences within a state or state-to-state. The age of the au pair can make a huge difference as well. There are so many factors…the best advice is to shop within your zip code. Also, each state and insurance company has different requirements. Don’t assume an international driving permit is acceptable or that your policy covers the aupair (this goes for homeowner’s insurance as well, their belongings are likely not covered because many policies only cover resident relatives). I strongly encourage everyone with an au pair to talk to an actual agent, not a 800 number to make sure they aren’t in for an unpleasant surprise in the event of a loss.

hOstCDmom February 8, 2016 at 12:17 pm

I didn’t get the impression that CV was trying to do a scientific poll or draw any conclusions. I, rather, thought that this post and the spreadsheet serve a useful purpose to let HP know what other HP are paying, given broad brush context re # cars/age and gender of AP, in order to highlight the very point you make –that it is VERY VARIABLE, and thus we would all be well served to shop around, consider various options etc — AND to make sure that we are covering ourselves liability-wise in a way that we are comfortable with (and that as a minimum, complies with the law)

cv harquail February 8, 2016 at 2:21 pm

Thanks hOstCDmom —

Yes that was the idea, to show the range so that people can get a sense of what sorts of costs are possible, on both the low and the high side. That’s also why I limited the kinds of information (and columns) to just the basics needed to have a ballpark.

Nothing beats comparison shopping PLUS adjustments of the specifics.

Returning HM February 8, 2016 at 6:31 pm

I can’t say it’s making me feel good, though, to see that we pay by far the most of everyone!! (19 yr old male AP may have *something* to do with it….)

AlwaysHopeful HM February 8, 2016 at 8:14 pm

Interesting point on the homeowners insurance. What can an au pair do to cover his or her personal belongings?

WCO HD February 9, 2016 at 6:49 pm

Check with your insurance agent, but I believe they could get renter’s insurance to cover their personal belongings. And because it would mostly just be clothes and maybe a few electronics, it would probably be pretty affordable in most cases.

Host Mom in the City February 9, 2016 at 11:25 am

Great post, CV! It’s pretty amazing what the range is! We mostly had 22-23yo Germans who were fairly inexpensive to insure. I didn’t fill out the form because I’m not positive, but only about $50 extra a month. The agency sites are misleading, like this one advertising that the annual cost is $18,853 per year right at the top of the page, but then a box lower says oh yeahhhh there’s all these other costs too:

NJ Mom February 10, 2016 at 12:23 pm

It seems like there is a huge range. I can see why the agency gives no direction whatsoever. Perhaps good LCCs would know the specific state regulations and some AP friendly insurers. NJ auto insurance is notoriously high in general, and we’re definitely on the high end. If was interesting to see the various state laws regarding international DLs. I would say our overall transportation cost per year for an AP car (car, maintenance, fees, insurance, gas, etc) is close to 6K. I’m sure agencies don’t want that figure on their “cost effective” chart.

host mom in the city February 10, 2016 at 6:50 pm

regarding getting a state driver’s license, I feel it is crucial for au pairs to get a state driver’s license. our au pair stated she took her own country’s driving test SIX times before she passed. She swears she is a very good driver, but I honestly can’t trust her when it took her that many times to pass the test. She took the written test once and failed it. We don’t need her to drive for the kids and if she does drive, it will be for her personal use only. I absolutely won’t allow her to drive unless she passes the state test. it’s for my own peace of mind.

Host Mom in the City February 12, 2016 at 7:42 am

Looks like there’s someone else posting with my name. No worries (I don’t have an au pair anymore and rarely post), but just wanted to let people know this wasn’t me.

HoustonMom April 6, 2016 at 4:30 pm

Hi all — We have welcomed our AP in January. She is driving our children to their respective activities and also uses a car over the weekend. We decided to get her her own car. Until now we had our two cars insured with GEICO. Adding our AP to our policy required an extra over $2200 per year — yes! unbelievable! We thought getting her her own car would help in reducing the cost but GEICO simply told us that as she is on our insurance policy she has to be insured for ALL 3 CARS!! even though she will never use my car nor my husband — we tried to get her a different policy which of course was not an option.
Is there someone who has had a better experience with AP and car insurance in TX. We used to leave in the Katy area and the last AP we had costed us an extra 60 to $70 per month on our premium.
Geico only recognize her DL in TX and also only recognized her Driving experience based on her TX DL (so less than 2 months – when she has been driving for years in her country). Unfortunately we don’t have any family member in the Army so no USAA for us ;-( — any advice would be welcomed. I am really hoping on a better rate soon.

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