How does car insurance cover additional drivers?

Most people driving your car are covered, but some policies differ on unlisted drivers.

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Your car insurance company should cover other drivers, but you may need to list them on your policy to receive protection. While some companies cover friends or family even if they’re not named, not every company allows this benefit.

Read on to find out what you need to know about named driver car insurance.

What is a named driver?

A named driver, also known as an additional driver, is a person who’s insured to drive a car – assuming it’s another person who does most of the driving. The named driver usually has the same amount of coverage as the car’s main driver.

If you already have car insurance and you’d like to add a driver, you have to get in touch with your policy issuer to give them details of the new driver.

So, does car insurance cover additional drivers?

Yes, but coverage varies between car insurance providers and whether the driver is named on your policy. You might find one company that covers a friend driving your car every once in a while. But another provider might only protect named drivers on your policy, especially if they live with you and there’s a reasonable chance they might borrow your car.

Do I need to list everyone that drives my car?

Most of the time, you should list all drivers who regularly use the car to avoid being turned down for a claim. You may pay a higher premium to offset the risk of another driver. Drivers listed may include:

  • Roommates
  • Family members living in your house
  • Additional owners on the car’s title
  • Friends who drive your car regularly – this varies by insurance provider

Does my car insurance cover unlisted drivers?

In many cases, yes. Most policies include a statement or clause that protects unnamed drivers if you give them permission to drive. In this case, a friend or family member who doesn’t live with you could get coverage to protect them in the event of an accident.

If your policy doesn’t include this statement, you could be held responsible for accidents as the car’s owner. If you’re not sure about adding a driver, you can find out whether to name them on your policy from your car insurance company.

When in doubt, avoid unwanted costs or denied claims by refusing to let an unnamed driver get behind the wheel.

How does car insurance work if an unlisted driver gets in an accident?

If an unnamed driver gets in an accident with your permission to drive, your car insurance will likely act as the primary coverage and the driver’s as secondary insurance.

Keep in mind that some insurance companies don’t cover drivers not named on your policy. In this case, the driver’s insurance might pay or you might get left with damage expenses out of pocket. If your car was stolen, your insurance company should cover the damage under comprehensive coverage if you bought that protection.

How do I add an additional driver to my car insurance?

To add another driver when buying a new policy, you can enter that driver’s information in the driver section of the application. Your premium will reflect the risk of that driver and any others on the policy.

If you have car insurance, you can follow a few steps to add another driver to your policy:

  1. Phone customer service about adding the new driver.
  2. Tell customer service the driver’s name, driver’s license number and driving history.
  3. A representative should add the driver to your policy and confirm any changes in your premium.

Or you can add the additional driver online:

  1. Log in to your customer account and choose to edit policy details.
  2. Enter the driver’s information and save the changes.
  3. Accept your updated premium and finalize the change.

Bottom line

Most of the time, you can cover other drivers by giving them permission to use your car or by adding them to your policy. However, it’s really important to check your policy so that you understand exactly what is and what isn’t covered. In the worst-case scenario, you could be responsible for damage after an accident happens. Also, adding another driver could change your premium.

Frequently asked questions about named drivers

Do I have to add a roommate to my car insurance?

Not necessarily, if your roommate won’t be driving your car. However, some companies or states require you to tell your insurance company about any licensed drivers living with you. If you don’t exclude the roommate from your policy in this case, you may pay a higher premium. Consider adding your roommate if they’ll be driving your car at all.

When is the additional driver’s coverage effective?

Once you’ve added the driver to your policy, you should see the driver listed on your policy declaration page either online or through a mailed or emailed copy. Once you’ve confirmed the driver’s name is listed, that person can receive coverage while driving your car.

Will adding another driver increase my premium?

It might but not always. If the driver is younger or has experienced an accident or traffic violation recently, your premium probably will go up. But a safe driver with a long claims-free history could lower your cost or keep it the same.

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