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When should you add an occasional driver to your car insurance policy?

Young woman holds up key to brand new car

March 21, 2019. Many drivers believe that car insurance stays with them, not with the car, and if they lend their car to a friend it will be their friend’s insurance that will be affected if there is a collision. When you lend your car to someone, they are actually covered by your insurance policy and their driving could affect your insurance, not theirs.

What happens if you lend your car to a friend and they get in a collision?

It is OK to lend your vehicle to a friend or for them to use your car to help you move or pick you up from the airport. But what happens if your car is in a collision and someone other than you is driving?

As long as your friend has a driver’s license, your permission to use your car, is not doing anything illegal, is not using the car for something not covered by your policy (like business use) and does not drive your car on a regular basis, they will be covered by your insurance.

However, anything that occurs when your friend is driving will affect your insurance, not your friend’s. Your insurance premium could go up if anything happens. If your friend gets in a collision and your insurance does not cover the full cost, you will be responsible for paying the difference.

What is a primary driver?

The primary driver on a car insurance policy is the person who drives the car most of the time.

What is an occasional driver?

An occasional, or secondary, driver is added onto the car insurance policy because they use the car once in a while. Often, an occasional driver is a spouse or a child, but it can also be a sibling or roommate.

Every insurer has their own rules, but in general, if someone borrows your car once or twice a week you should add them to your policy, but if they borrow your car once every month or two you probably will not need to add them.

If you are supervising someone with a learner’s permit while they drive your car, you probably will not need to add them as an occasional driver.

How much does it cost to add an occasional driver to your car insurance policy?

The cost of adding an occasional driver is calculated in the same way as a regular insurance policy and depends on factors like their driving record and the type of car you own. Young, inexperienced, or male drivers generally pay the most for car insurance.

The cost of adding an occasional driver is usually less than the cost of them having a separate insurance policy. The occasional driver will also be able to start building their own insurance history. How many drivers you can add depends on your insurer but there is usually no limit.

When should you add someone as an occasional driver?

You should add an occasional driver to your policy when

  • They drive your car regularly
  • They drive your car more than your insurance policy allows and you are at risk of being denied your claim if the other driver is in an accident.

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