How can I add another driver to my car insurance policy?
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UPDATED: Aug 21, 2019
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Let’s face it, in today’s world it’s becoming more and more common for multiple families to live in the same household – with children of many different ages.
These economic times dictate doing so may be the best way to make ends meet when finances are tight. If you find yourself in this situation, it may be a wise idea to add the additional drivers in your household to your car insurance policy.
When we reference “additional drivers,” we are talking about any individuals in your household licensed to drive, regardless of age. In most cases, these drivers can be added with a simple phone call to your car insurance carrier.
They’ll ask you appropriate information about each driver including age, sex, potential frequency of their vehicle use, and a snapshot of their driving history.
Then, just as the car insurance company checked your records before writing your policy, they’ll check the records of any additional drivers before adding them on.
Why do I need to add additional drivers?
One of the least known facts about car insurance among most drivers is that their policies only cover immediate family members living in the same household. That means a typical family consisting of a husband, wife, and two children of driving age will all be covered under a single policy.
However, if a brother-in-law comes to live with them, he is not considered part of the immediate family. Unless he is listed on the car insurance policy, he may not necessarily be covered if he has an accident while driving the family car.
Furthermore, many individuals allow out-of-town guests to drive their vehicles with impunity, never realizing that potential accidents may or may not be covered. They simply assume that because they have a car insurance policy all accidents will be covered regardless of the driver.
Although not set in stone, a general exception to this non-coverage circumstance applies to extended family members or guests who are using your vehicle specifically to perform a task on your behalf.
One example would be allowing your brother-in-law to drive your vehicle in order to pick up your son from football practice.
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How much will my auto insurance rates increase for each additional driver?
Additional drivers will be factored into your overall premiums according to the same conditions in which your original policy was written. The most important factor will be the driving history of the additional drivers you add.
As always, numerous accidents, speeding tickets, and various violations demonstrate to the insurance company a higher risk. They will charge a higher rate for those drivers than for those with clean driving records.
Be advised that additional drivers with serious offenses such as DWI or leaving the scene of an accident may not be allowed to be added to your policy without bumping you into a high-risk pool.
If you have multiple vehicles you may be able to reduce the impact of higher rates by “assigning” drivers with less desirable histories to your less valuable vehicles.
For example, let’s say you own a brand-new, 2011 pickup truck and a 2004, four-door sedan. Even without additional drivers the pickup truck is deemed to be more valuable and therefore, more expensive to insure.
In order to keep your premiums down, you want to allow the truck to be driven only by the safest drivers in your household. Drivers who pose a greater risk should be limited to the four-door sedan.
When you call your car insurance company to add additional drivers, they will ask which of your vehicles the additional drivers are most likely to use. That’s the time to assign your pickup truck and four-door sedan accordingly.
This does not mean your additional drivers can never drive your other vehicles, but just that they will be using the vehicle you assign them to most of the time.
What if my additional drivers move out?
In most states, drivers who are living in separate households are not allowed by law to be on the same auto policy. One of the exceptions to this rule are students, who may remain on their parent’s policies until age 26 as long as they remain in school. This is true whether they remain at home or they live on campus.
The idea here is to help students save money on car insurance so they can devote more money to their college education. Insurance companies are willing to take this risk because statistically speaking; college students tend to be a bit safer than their working peers are.
As for the remainder of your additional drivers, if they move out of your house they must also be removed from your policy. Leaving them on your policy simply for the sake of saving the money is not a good idea, because an insurance company could refuse to pay a claim if they discover said drivers are no longer living in your household.
Moreover, the cost of having to pay for an accident out-of-pocket will far exceed the higher cost of insurance premiums drivers incur when purchasing their own insurance.
Lastly, keep in mind that if you’re talking about temporary guests coming in from out of town it probably won’t be worth it to add them to your regular car policy.
For those drivers, you are better off buying temporary coverage that will last only as long as the duration of their stay. Temporary car insurance policies typically run for periods of 30, 60, 90, or 180 days.