A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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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, mainly in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers Insurance CSR 4 Years

UPDATED: Oct 19, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Under an auto insurance policy, coverage is provided to the named insured, listed drivers, family members, and some permissive users
  • If a driver lives in your household, your insurance carrier requires that driver to either be listed as a rated or deferred operator
  • Deferred operators are household members who may have access to the covered auto but who own their own car and carry their own insurance
  • In most cases, you are required to add your spouse, teenage children, adult children and other licensed household members to your policy so that the insurer can charge you adequate premiums
  • If a friend or relative is visiting you for a short period of time, you may have coverage under the permissive use provision of your auto policy
  • It is important to verify coverage will extend before you decide not to add any operators to your Personal Auto Policy

Life events can definitely change your insurance needs. When you were single and ready to mingle, you may have chosen to keep bare minimum limits with little regard for your own financial protection. As you hit the career stage of life and your salary went up, you started to realize the importance of adequate insurance limits. During the marriage phase, you decided to combine your insurance with your spouse for a comprehensive umbrella of protection and a discount. Compare car insurance rates now by using our FREE tool above!

Whenever you experience life changes you should take a look at your coverage. These changes include welcoming a new driver to your household. You might assume that you need to add this newly settled resident to your policy right away, but that’s not always the case. Some policy provisions give you automatic protection for new drivers at no extra cost. Here’s how you can dictate if you need to add a specific driver and the steps that need to be taken to add him or her.

Your Duty as a Policyholder

Some might label auto insurance as a product, but it’s also a contract. When you apply for a policy and you sign on the dotted line, you’re agreeing that you’ll pay premiums and that you’ll fulfill your duty as a policyholder to keep your coverage. Failure to comply with the terms within the contract can lead to policy cancellations or denied claims. Since you’re paying premiums to ensure your carrier will pay for claims when they’re presented, it’s important to know what you’re expected to do before you need to do it.

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Duties to Disclose Drivers in the Household

One stipulation within the auto insurance contract is concerning drivers. It’s very tempting to hide a driver in the home so that you’re not charged more premiums. After all, if your insurance company doesn’t walk through your home and verify who lives there and who doesn’t, how will they know if you’re being honest?

Choosing to be dishonest is a huge risk that can land you in hot water right when you need to file a claim.

Under the standard Personal Auto Policy contract, it specifically says that family members and residents in the household need to be disclosed to an agent with the company. If there’s any question whether or not a person needs to be named on the policy, you should pick up the phone and ask your agent immediately.

What Can Happen if you Don’t List All Household Members?

If there’s proof that you intentionally didn’t list a driver or you lied when asked about a household member, the company has the right to deny a claim with due cause. In fact, one of the most common reasons for a claims denial is when the driver who had the loss wasn’t on the policy.

Not all carriers go to such drastic measures when it’s clear that failing to list the driver in the home was an oversight on your part. Some companies will still cover an unlisted driver living in the household with some stipulations. You must add the driver to your policy or sign a driver exclusion form before the company will offer you any type of settlement.

When You Need to Add Your Teen Drivers to Your Insurance

Now that you see how important it is to add drivers, you might be in a rush to add your teen to the contract as soon as possible. While you should call your agent and inform them that you have a child over the age of 13 in your home, you don’t always have to cover teens immediately. Since teens are high-risk drivers, this fact can be quite a surprise.

Many companies have found that it costs too much money to add teens who only have a provisional license. Since there’s no experience to verify and the teen must be under the supervision of an adult while they are learning, the larger carriers give parents a break by offering free automatic coverage to permitted drivers. Your luck will change when your teen is issued a license and they must be rated as a primary or occasional driver.

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What if there’s a driver with their own insurance in the home?

If there’s an adult driver in your home but they’re independent, you might not need to add them. Drivers who’ve been disclosed but aren’t rated are called deferred operators.

Deferred operators own their own car and have their own coverage.

If you do add the driver to the insurance policy, their own liability coverage will be primary and your insurance will then kick in after the limits are exhausted.

What if the driver is a temporary resident or visitor?

Auto insurance policies have special provisions built in that take effect in unique situations. The permissive user provision is one that you should know about when you’re building your policy. Permissive use is allowed under all standard policies, but only some drivers fit into this classification. Here are some of the rules:

  • Driver can’t live in the home
  • Driver can’t have regular access to the car
  • Driver can’t be a youthful operator
  • Driver must have a license

How to Add Drivers to Your Policy

Adding drivers to your policy is a simple transaction. You can either do it online or with an agent. Here are the steps that you need to take:

  • Collect license number, date of birth and list of convictions or accidents
  • Add driver and assign them to a vehicle
  • Ask agent to change in premium once they run MVR to verify accident history

If you’re not happy with your new rates, you might want to price the cost of insurance with your new household resident through other carriers. You can do this by calling companies or by accessing a rate comparison tool online. By using a comparison tool, you can instantly check dozens of rates and buy your coverage within minutes. Get everything that you need for an accurate quote, and find a more affordable rate. Enter your zip code in our FREE tool below to compare car insurance rates instantly!