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When Should You Add a Driver to Car Insurance?

Tuesday, 2 January 2024

Letting someone borrow your car is something most of us have done before. It could be a family member who needs to go out of town for the weekend or even a friend who asks to use your truck when moving to a new place. In these situations, you’re likely more than happy to help them and lend them your car. But do you need to add them to your car insurance policy? What if it’s someone who lives with you – do they need to be added? This blog will explain which situations you should add a driver to car insurance and when you are good to leave someone off of your policy.

Types of drivers listed on an auto insurance policy

Before we get into the specifics, let's first explore the different categories of drivers in insurance.

Primary Drivers

In the context of auto insurance, the primary driver refers to the individual who uses the insured vehicle the most frequently or as their primary mode of transportation. This person is typically the main operator of the vehicle and is often the policyholder or the individual whose driving history and characteristics primarily influence the insurance premium and coverage. Any accidents, traffic tickets, suspensions, or insurance claims on the primary driver's record will be crucial in determining insurance rates and coverage details for the vehicle.

Secondary Drivers

Secondary drivers may occasionally operate the insured vehicle but are not the main drivers. These additional drivers are listed on the insurance policy, providing coverage when they use the car. The driving history and characteristics of secondary drivers can influence insurance premiums and coverage but to a lesser extent than the primary driver. Including secondary drivers on the policy ensures that they are covered under the insurance plan when using the insured vehicle, offering a comprehensive approach to coverage for all individuals associated with the vehicle.

Occasional Driver

An occasional driver is an individual who infrequently operates the insured vehicle. Instead, they may drive the vehicle on an irregular basis during specific occasions or as needed. Insurance policies often require the inclusion of occasional drivers to ensure coverage when they use the vehicle, even if it's not their primary means of transportation.

Does it cost more to add a driver to car insurance?

Adding a driver to your auto insurance policy often results in increased premiums due to factors such as the added driver's risk profile, driving history, age, and gender. The type of vehicle being insured also plays a role, as certain cars are more expensive to insure. It's advisable to contact your provider to understand the specific effects this has on your insurance. While adding a driver may raise premiums, ensuring all regular users are properly listed on the policy is crucial for comprehensive coverage.

When to add a driver to car insurance

Generally speaking, anyone who lives in the same household or drives your vehicle regularly should be listed on your policy. Here are some examples of when you may need to consider adding someone to your car insurance.

Teen Drivers

If your child is still learning to drive and requires an experienced driver to be present, they do not need to be included in your policy. In Canada, most insurance companies only require you to add your child to your policy once they are licensed to drive independently. If you are in a co-parenting situation and your fully licensed teenager has access to your car when they stay with you, they should also be listed on your auto insurance. However, if your child only lives with you part-time, it is quite possible that you won’t be charged as much to add them compared to if they lived with you full-time.

Adult Children in Your Home

If your adult children live with you but do not have their own car or auto insurance, they should be listed on your auto insurance policy. While they may not own a vehicle, adult children may frequently borrow your car for various reasons, such as driving to college, commuting to work, or attending social events. By adding them to your policy, you ensure that they are covered in the event of an accident, protecting both their interests and your own.

A Parent Living in Your Home

If a parent living with you does not own a car or possess auto insurance, adding them to your insurance policy is recommended. Insurance companies typically require all household members with access to the insured vehicle to be listed. Examples of situations where parents might need to borrow their children's cars include attending appointments, running errands, or picking up the grandkids from school.

Other Drivers Living in Your Household

Whether it be regarding a significant other, sibling, cousin, or roommate, consulting a BIG broker on including other drivers living in your household on your auto insurance is a must. The key factor often revolves around whether these individuals already have insurance. If they do, they may have sufficient coverage when driving your car, but confirming the specifics with your insurance broker is essential. If not, you may need to add them as a secondary or occasional driver on your policy.

An Employee Who Uses Your Car

Whether you are a business owner with a commercial vehicle or have nannies, personal care workers, or housekeepers who regularly access your car, you should add them to your insurance. This will ensure these individuals are covered whenever they take your vehicle out on the road.

Friends and Neighbours

When it comes to friends or neighbours using your vehicle, listing them on your auto insurance may only be necessary if it becomes a regular occurrence. Remember that when you lend your car, you are essentially lending your insurance coverage as well. If your friend or neighbour gets into an accident while driving your vehicle, it can affect your insurance, such as increased premiums or changes in your coverage terms.

That said, since everyone’s situation is different, it’s always advisable to consult a BIG broker to ensure you have coverage for everyone who needs it.

How to Add a Driver to Car Insurance

When adding someone to your car insurance, they will need to provide the following information:

  • Legal name
  • Date of birth
  • Gender (Male, Female, or Gender X)
  • Driver’s License Number
  • The 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 and license suspensions
  • Previous accidents or claims
  • The make, model, and year of their vehicle if they are adding it to your policy

Experience the BIG Difference

Whether you are concerned about sharing the road or sharing your car, having sufficient auto insurance coverage is the best way to enjoy peace of mind. Hopefully, this blog answered any questions about when you should add a driver to car insurance. If you’re unsure about your coverage, give us a call, and one of our brokers will be happy to provide you with the advice you need.

By: Devon Gribble