Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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UPDATED: Sep 26, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • When you apply for auto insurance, you must list all of the drivers that live in your household or that have regular access to your vehicle
  • If you review your declarations page, you will find that some drivers in the home are rated as primary drivers and others are secondary drivers. This happens when there are more drivers than vehicles in the household
  • If you intentionally don’t name a driver who lives in your home, any claims that you file while that driver is operating the car can be denied
  • Your policy will cover drivers who have access to your car for a short period of time but who don’t need to be added. If you’re letting a friend drive your car for a day, you don’t need to add them

Not every driver who operates your vehicle needs to be added to your insurance policy. While this might sound astonishing to some, it doesn’t make sense for all drivers who drive your vehicle to be added to your policy when they don’t have regular access to it.

Adding a driver to your policy costs money, and companies don’t want to spend money running driving records when the operator isn’t much of a risk.

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If you have a friend coming into town for the weekend or your partner needs to borrow your car while their car is in the shop, you may be interested in adding the driver to your policy for as little as a day.

What you might not know is that it’s not always necessary to add a temporary driver to the plan. Here’s what to do ensure you have the right coverage:

Who do you need to list as a driver on your policy?

When you apply for coverage, the agent will ask you a very general question about the drivers you want to be listed on your policy. For most people, this is a cut and dry question, but for some, it’s not.

If you live with your spouse and only your spouse, you know that both you and your partner will be listed on the policy.

Things get more complicated when you throw more people in the mix. The general rule of thumb is that anyone who lives in your home and has regular access to your car needs to be rated as a driver under your policy.

If you have a roommate who owns their own car, you still need to list them as a deferred operator who doesn’t affect your rates. Even people outside of the home should be named if they are driving your car regularly.

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Understand the Difference Between Occasional Drivers and Primary Drivers

When you’re building your insurance policy, you might be hesitant to add someone who occasionally drives your vehicle because of their spotty record. This is where driver assignments can benefit you. There are two types of drivers: primary drivers and occasional drivers.

Primary drivers are the drivers that are assigned to a covered vehicle. They have more of an effect on the vehicle’s premiums because they are the ones who drive it most often.

Occasional drivers drive the cars on the policy from time to time. They have an effect on rates, but the effect isn’t as dramatic.

How to Assign Drivers to Vehicles on Your Policy

You must have more drivers than cars in the household for there to be a spot for an occasional operator rating.

If you own two cars and you have three drivers in the home, the riskier driver will typically be rated occasional. This is a good way to manage your premiums without intentionally choosing not to list a high-risk operator.

Is it necessary to add a driver who’s going to drive your car for a day?

The idea of having an uninsured loss after you let a friend borrow your car is terrifying.

If you’re worried about lending your car out to friends, family, or coworkers, you should find out how your policy works when someone borrows your car.

Luckily, there are provisions in your policy that ensure that your policy will pay if someone aside from a driver on the policy is involved in an accident in your car.

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Who meets the definition of a permissive user?

Permissive users can’t have access to your car all the time. If they have a spare key, even if just for emergencies, they should be listed as a driver on your plan. Anyone who lives in your home is also ineligible for coverage through the provision.

Here are some of the other requirements to consider:

  • The driver must be licensed to drive in the U.S.
  • The driver must be 25 or older
  • The driver can’t be child of the named insured
  • The driver can’t be excluded on the policy

It’s easy to overlook how important it is to update your insurance as your lifestyle changes. You don’t need to add just any driver to the policy for a day, but you should make the call to ask your agent if it’s necessary before you make assumptions.

If you’re not happy with the service you’re receiving, get quotes for coverage only by using a rate comparison tool.

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