Joint car insurance

Find out how to insure more than one person on a car insurance policy, and why adding a named driver could lower costs overall.

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Firstly, there’s officially no such thing as joint car insurance – you’ll never find it listed as an option on a car insurer’s website. But that doesn’t mean that two or more people can’t share a car insurance policy. And, contrary to what you might expect, adding a named driver to an existing car insurance policy can even help lower the overall premium.

What is joint car insurance?

Joint car insurance doesn’t really exist – two or more people can’t be joint policyholders on the same car insurance policy. What most people think of as joint car insurance is usually where the main policyholder adds another driver (or more than one driver) to their policy. This is known as adding a ‘named driver’ (see below).

You might also come across two other kinds of insurance that can be easily confused with joint car insurance:

  • Any driver car insurance, which allows anyone with a driving licence to drive the vehicle, subject to certain criteria
  • Multi-car insurance, which is intended to cover multiple vehicles – usually registered at the same address. Each vehicle would only have one main driver; other people can be added as named drivers.

Can I take out car insurance jointly with another person?

Not as such. Each car insurance policy can only have one, main driver. However, you can add other drivers to your policy (and vice versa). This could be:

  • For convenience, if two or more members of a household want to share one car, for example
  • If a driver paying high premiums wants to reduce their premiums by adding a more experienced driver to their policy.

Is ‘named driver’ insurance a good option?

Potentially, yes. If you formally ask your car insurance provider to add another person to your car insurance policy, they will be known as a named (or nominated) driver. A named driver will have the same level of cover as the main driver. So, if the policy is fully comprehensive, the named driver will have fully comprehensive cover.

It’s important that the person using the car the most is registered as the main driver. Simply pretending that a more experienced driver is the main driver in order to avoid paying high premiums is insurance fraud otherwise known as “fronting” and is illegal in the UK.

A named driver doesn’t necessarily have to live at the same address as the policyholder. For example, a car owner could add a local friend that needed to borrow the car occasionally to their policy.

Can I save money on my car insurance with additional drivers?

This depends on the driver, or drivers, that you add.

If you are paying high premiums, perhaps because you’re young or have only recently passed your test, then adding an experienced named driver with a blemish-free record could reduce your payments. However, it can’t just be in name, as the experienced driver will actually have to drive the car (at least occasionally) in order for the cover to be valid.

Here’s an example. A student is living at home and has their own car. Because they’re young, and a new driver, their insurance premiums are very high. The student’s mother is an experienced driver, but doesn’t currently have her own car, and would like to drive her son or daughter’s car. The student decides to add their experienced mother as a named driver to their existing policy. The insurance provider now takes into consideration the two drivers using the car: the main high-risk driver and the low-risk named driver. The new premium is lower because the overall risk has dropped slightly now that the high risk driver isn’t driving all 100% of the time.

However, if you are an experienced driver and you add a driving novice to your car insurance, your premiums are likely to go up to reflect the increased risk.

If you add someone that lives in the same area and has roughly the same level of experience as you then, assuming their driving record is clean, you may not see your premiums change much at all. As is always the case with insurance, though, your mileage may vary.

Can I add someone else to my car insurance temporarily?

Typically, yes. For example, someone who needed help with their grocery shopping or other errands while they were recuperating after a hospital stay could ask their insurer to add a relative to their car insurance policy for a short period.

Bear in mind that this might qualify as a change to the policy and incur additional fees, so check with your insurer. In addition, adding someone for a week or two can be proportionally expensive compared to adding someone for the whole year.

Can I add more than one person to my car insurance policy?

Most insurers allow more than one named driver to be added. A family of four people with driving licences but only one car could all be covered under the same insurance policy, for example. The person that drives the car the most would need to be the main policyholder.

Different insurers have different limits on how many named drivers you can add to one policy; up to four is fairly common.

Can I drive someone else’s car if I’m not a named driver on their policy?

It depends. Driving without appropriate insurance is illegal, but if you have your own car insurance policy, it may cover you to drive other vehicles. This is more likely if you have fully comprehensive cover, but it doesn’t come as standard, so check the small print carefully. And even if you have this extension, it will probably only cover you on a third-party basis.

Some cars may be covered by an ‘any driver’ car insurance policy, which allows anyone with a licence to drive a vehicle, but this is fairly rare as it’s an expensive option.

If you’re not covered by any of these, and you want to be able to drive someone else’s car for a short period, you could consider temporary car insurance.

What is ‘any driver car insurance’?

Any driver car insurance is a type of policy that’s held under one name, but which allows anyone with a driving licence to drive the vehicle without having to be a named driver.

There are often certain conditions, such as the driver having to be over 21.

These policies are often very expensive, because the insurer has no control over the risk level of the people driving the car. They are more commonly used by businesses (for example, where multiple employees may need to drive the same vehicle).

Can two people get separate insurance on the same vehicle?

Yes. If you want to take out your own insurance on a car that is owned by someone else, you can:

  • Take out a temporary car insurance policy that covers you for a few days, weeks or months – if you want to share the driving with a friend on a road trip, for example
  • Take out a non-owner car insurance policy.

Is it cheaper to insure two cars on one policy?

Insuring more than one car on the same policy is known as multi-car insurance; it’s offered by a number of leading car insurers.

There’s no hard and fast answer to whether multi-car insurance is cheaper than buying separate policies for different cars. It depends on the insurer, your circumstances, and the cars themselves, so check both options.

Bottom line

Adding an experienced driver to a the car insurance policy of a young driver could see their premiums drop, but doing the reverse could have the opposite effect. How significantly premiums are affected, if at all, will depend on the insurer, so – as always – shop around for the best cover, making sure you include the named driver during the quote process. Bear in mind that pretending that an experienced driver is the main driver of the car when they are not is known as “fronting” and is illegal in the UK.

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*Based on data provided by Consumer Intelligence Ltd, www.consumerintelligence.com (March '21). 51% of car insurance customers could save £228.60.

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