Named driver car insurance
Learn everything you need to know about named driver car insurance.
Want to find an affordable way to insure your son or daughter to drive your car? Or perhaps you want to insure a friend or colleague who uses your car at weekends? In this guide, we explain what named driver car insurance is and when you might use it. Plus, we highlight the costs and downsides of putting an additional driver on your insurance policy.
What is named driver car insurance?
Named driver car insurance isn’t a separate type of policy. It’s a term commonly used when the main driver officially adds someone to their car insurance policy as an additional driver.
Also known as “additional driver” insurance, you might make your son or daughter a named driver if they’ve just learned to drive and need to use the car every now and then or if your colleague or friend uses your car or van occasionally.
Basically, if someone else is using your vehicle from time to time, they won’t automatically be covered by your motor insurance. So you’ll need to add them as a named driver. With this, they’ll get the same level of cover as you do as the main driver of your car.
Can I save money by adding someone to my car insurance policy?
Well, that depends on who you’re adding. Insurers are all about risk. If you’re a low-risk driver – perhaps you’re an experienced driver in your forties or fifties, with a clean driving record and no history of claims – your premiums will be lower as a result.
If you then add a young, inexperienced driver to your policy, the insurer will see this as an increased risk of your car being involved in an accident. That’s not their imagination – there are government statistics that back this up. This data shows that drivers aged 17-24 are more likely to be injured in an accident. Car insurance industry data also shows that drivers in this age group are more likely to make a claim.
Claims cost insurers money, so if you add a young driver to your policy, this will be reflected in your premium.
But the reverse also holds true. If you’re a young driver looking to cut the cost of car insurance, you could do worse than add a more experienced driver as a named driver to your policy. Car insurers will like the fact that, at least some of the time, your car may be driven by a lower-risk driver.
If you add someone to your policy who’s a similar risk to you – perhaps a friend or partner of a similar age, with a similar driving record – you may find it doesn’t affect your premium much.
How much does named driver car insurance cost?
There’s no clear-cut answer to this as it depends on who you add as a named driver and when you add them.
Adding a named driver when you take out your annual policy could affect your premium. If the person you’re adding is a trusted and experienced driver, it could take it down. Or, if you’re adding a young or rookie driver, it could shoot your premium costs up.
You can also add a named driver part way through the year. As well as potentially affecting your premium (so you might have to pay a top-up if you add a less experienced driver, for example), you might have to pay an administration fee to your insurer for making this change.
Main driver vs named driver – what’s the difference?
This may seem like insurance jargon, but it’s actually crucial.
The main driver on a car insurance policy has to be the person that uses the car the most – usually the owner of the car (though there are exceptions). While it’s expected that named drivers will drive the car, at least occasionally, they shouldn’t be the main users of the car.
Why does it matter who is the main driver and who is the named driver?
If you are the driver that uses the car the most but put someone else down as the main driver and yourself as a named driver, you could be guilty of “fronting”.
This is a form of insurance fraud that could invalidate your policy and could even lead to a criminal conviction. It’s most commonly seen when parents put themselves as the main driver on a car when their son or daughter is the person using it most (or all of the time).
People do it to cut costs since getting a main motor policy tends to be more expensive for younger, more inexperienced drivers.
How can I add another driver to my car insurance policy?
If you’re starting a new main motor insurance policy, then you can ask to add other drivers to it when you’re applying. However, if you’re looking to put a named driver on your current deal, then these are the basic steps to take.
- Call up your current insurance provider’s customer services team.
- You’ll have to provide the age, marital status, address and occupation of any additional drivers. Plus, outline any accidents or motoring convictions.
- Your insurance provider might accept the application, in which case you’ll probably have to pay a fee for adding the named driver.
- Or the insurer might reject the additional driver, as young drivers can’t be insured on certain types of cars.
Can I add a young driver as a named driver?
This is a common scenario if you’re a parent that wants to insure a child that is learning to drive or has just passed their test and getting their own insurance is prohibitively expensive. The answer to the question is, typically, yes. But your premium is likely to go up as your son or daughter will be regarded as a higher-risk driver.
And be aware that some insurers are reluctant to insure learner or very inexperienced drivers, so there’s a chance your insurer may refuse to cover young drivers at all.
What level of cover will the named driver have?
If you add a named driver to your policy, they will have the same level of cover as you do as the main driver. Depending on the level of cover you’ve taken out, this could be the following:
Third-party: The minimum legal requirement to drive a car. Third-party insurance covers damage done to other vehicles, drivers or property while being used by the main policyholder or a named driver, but it doesn’t cover damage to the policyholder’s car.
Third-party, fire and theft: As above, but also covers the policyholder’s car if it’s damaged as a result of fire or theft while being used by the main driver or a named driver.
Fully comprehensive: Comprehensive cover includes everything above, plus any damage to or loss of the policyholder’s vehicle in the event of an accident or anything else outlined in the policy.
How does my no claims bonus work if I add a named driver to my policy?
If neither you nor the named driver has an accident or needs to make an insurance claim, then your no claims bonus should work as normal. You’ll have the same level of discount on your premium, and your years of no claims will continue to accumulate.
However, if the named driver has an accident, as the main driver you’ll be the one that has to claim against your policy, and your insurer may need to pay out. Depending on whether your no claims bonus is protected, and the conditions attached to your no claims bonus protection, this could wipe out some or all of your no claims years. Even if you don’t lose any of your no claims bonus, you may still see your underlying premium rise at your next renewal.
Will a named driver on a policy be able to build up a no claims bonus?
Probably not. Policies rarely allow a named driver to build up their own no claims bonus. This is unlikely to bother a friend or family member that has their own car and only drives yours occasionally, as they’ll build up a no claims bonus on their own policy.
However, it may put young drivers off being named on a parent’s policy as, even if they never cause a claim to be made, this won’t usually count when they come to take out their own insurance.
There may be an exception to this rule if a young named driver continues with the same insurer when it’s time to take out their own policy, as some insurers will offer a discount if a young driver sticks with them.
What extras can be added to a named driver’s cover?
It’s down to the policyholder to arrange for any extras to be added – named drivers can’t add extras themselves. If you’re a named driver on a policy and would like an add-on that isn’t already included (if you expect to do a few long journeys and want the security of breakdown cover, for example), you’ll need to ask the policyholder to add it (bearing in mind that this will add to the cost of their policy).
Find out more about the add-ons available in our guide to car insurance optional extras.
What should I do if I want to add a named driver to my policy temporarily?
If you only want to add a named driver for a short period – for example, to share the driving with a friend on a weekend getaway – it should be as simple as calling your insurer and asking it to add them for however long you need. As always, when adding a named driver, you’ll need to supply details of their age, marital status, address, occupation and any accidents or driving convictions.
But bear in mind that, on top of any premium charge to cover them, you may need to pay a policy adjustment fee. Before accepting your insurer’s quote, it could be worth checking if cheaper cover is available via a standalone, temporary car insurance policy. These short-term policies are available for as little as £42 for a one-day policy on average.
What is “fronting”?
Fronting is where you put an experienced driver down as the main driver on a car insurance policy to reduce the premium, even if they’re not the one that will drive the car the most.
Don’t do it. It’s a form of insurance fraud and could invalidate the policy or, worse, mean you’re prosecuted for a crime.
How can I be sure that I’m not “fronting”?
While most people probably realise that they shouldn’t deliberately lie on a car insurance application just to save money, some people may “front” by accident. For example, if a parent owns the car that their son or daughter is using, they might put themselves down as the main driver on a car insurance policy and add their child as a named driver.
Don’t get caught out. The main driver should be the person who spends the most time driving the car. They don’t have to be the owner or registered keeper.
How else can I save money on my car insurance?
There are other ways to cut your insurance costs.
- Black box policy. Also known as a telematics policy, this is when your car is fitted with a small black box that measures speed, distance travelled and the time of day or night you’re driving. This rewards responsible driving and leads to lower premiums in the long term.
- No claims discount. Drive carefully and avoid making a claim, and after a few years, your insurer could reward you with a sizeable discount.
- Pay a higher excess. This is the amount you’re willing to pay should you get in an accident and make a claim. If you agree to pay a larger amount, you may get a lower premium. However, make sure you can afford the excess!
- Third party insurance. Limiting your cover to third party or third party, fire and theft (TPFT) may save you money. Check this though, as recently these types of insurance policies have become more expensive – more than your average fully comprehensive premium.
The bottom line
Adding someone to your car insurance policy as a named driver can be a cost-effective way to insure someone else to drive your car. If the person you’re adding is a more experienced driver, it could even reduce your insurance premium. However, you should never claim that the more experienced person is the main driver of the car and put yourself down as a named driver just to save money. This is a form of insurance fraud. It could invalidate your policy, and lead to a driving prosecution.
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