Page Illustration

When Should You Add a Driver to Car Insurance?

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

It’s not uncommon for you to lend out your vehicle once in a while. Maybe a family member needs to borrow your car while they wait for repairs, or a friend asks to use your truck when moving to a new place. Do you need to add them as a driver to your policy? What about if you have a newly licensed teenager in your home, or have a parent living with you – do you need to add them? In this blog, we will explain which situations you should add a driver to car insurance and when it’s not necessary.

Before we begin explaining when to add a driver to car insurance, let’s break down the different driver categories in insurance.

What is a Primary Driver in Car Insurance?

When you purchase car insurance or add a new vehicle to your policy, a BIG broker will ask which driver will use it most. This person will be assigned as the ‘primary driver’ of that vehicle. The primary driver is not automatically the vehicle owner/lessee. You might own a car, but your child uses it to get to school, work, hangouts with friends, and maybe even an errand or two. If the child uses the vehicle more frequently than anyone else in the household, they will be the primary driver.

Here’s how it works: each driver presents a different statistical risk when driving a vehicle based on their experience. Insurance companies take into consideration any accidents, traffic tickets, suspensions, insurance claims, etc. This helps them produce an accurate rate to insure the vehicle.

What is a Secondary Driver in Insurance?

So, what if multiple people use the same vehicle? Now what?

For others in your household who regularly use a vehicle, you can assign a secondary driver. This could be a spouse who uses your car, but less often than you. It could also be a child who regularly practices their driving in your vehicle. Adding a secondary driver may cost an additional premium because the secondary driver is an additional risk.

The bottom line is that you should add a driver to car insurance when they regularly use the vehicle.

Occasional Driver

Finally, there may be an option to add an occasional driver. This is someone who drives your car on occasion throughout the week, perhaps once or twice at most. It could be a nanny who drops your kids off at school a couple times a week, a roommate who needs to get to a weekly fitness class, or an aging parent who takes your car to ongoing appointments or grocery shopping.

Does It Cost More to Add a Driver to Car Insurance?

Generally, yes it will cost more to add a driver to car insurance, however, it greatly varies depending on the driver’s experience. More often than not, when you add a driver to insurance, it will increase your premium.

What If?

The general rule-of-thumb is that if the person drives your car regularly or lives in your household, they should be named as a driver on your auto insurance policy. However, every situation is unique, so we always recommend talking with a BIG broker. Here are some examples where you might be unsure.

Teen Drivers

If your teen driver just received their learner’s permit (varies by province), they do not need to be added to your policy yet. It’s only when they begin driving independently that they need to be listed.

Co-Parenting Situations

In a co-parenting situation, where your teenager spends a portion of time with you and drives your vehicle, they should be listed on your policy. Often insurers charge a reduced premium given the child’s living arrangement.

Adult Children in Your Home

Adult children who do not have their own vehicle and insurance, must be listed on your policy in order to use your vehicle.

A Parent Living in Your Home

A parent living in your home should be listed on your policy unless they have their own car and policy.

Other Drivers Living in Your Household

Check with a broker to see if other family members or roommates need to be added. Often it boils down to whether they have their own insurance. If they won’t be driving your car, you will need to provide details to a BIG broker (not licensed or insured elsewhere).

An Employee who Uses Your Car

Nannies, personal care workers, or housekeepers that use your car on a consistent basis should be added to your car insurance.

Do Friends or Neighbours Need to be Listed?

Friends or neighbours who use your vehicle probably don’t need to be listed, unless it’s a regular occurrence. Just remember that whenever you lend your car, you are lending your insurance too. If they get into an accident, it will impact your insurance.

How to Add a Driver to Car Insurance: What You Need

If you realize that you need to add a driver to car insurance, here is the information you will need from the driver.  

  • Legal name
  • Date of birth
  • Gender (Male, Female, or Gender X)
  • Driver’s License Number
  • Date they obtained their license (include all dates for graduated license systems)
  • Insurance history (most recent company names, policy number, how many years insured)
  • Disclose any traffic tickets, license suspensions to avoid any surprises
  • Any past accidents or other claims
  • Vehicle make, model, year if they are adding their own vehicle to your policy


As always, our BIG brokers are here to answer your questions. If you’re ever unsure about whether to add a driver to car insurance, give us a call – we’d be happy to give you advice. We also love to help people save BIG on their car insurance, so if you are looking for a competitive price without compromising on coverage, contact us now or start a quick online quote.

By: Amy Legault