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 insuranc...

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Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. Through her years working in th...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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Anyone who drives a vehicle regularly should be added to that car’s insurance policy, whether or not that person lives with the owner of the vehicle. Insurance generally covers a claim involving the insured vehicle regardless of the person driving, but some insurance companies only cover accidents caused by listed drivers. Additionally, adding a person to your insurance policy enables that person to file a claim and handle claim-related business. This can be tremendously helpful and convenient in some situations.

What can listed drivers do?

When adding a person to a car insurance policy, the policyholder has two options: The new driver can be listed as a co-owner of the policy, or he can be added as a driver on the policy. Many married couples choose to carry joint policies, which list both members of the couple as policyholders. This allows either person to make changes to coverage, add vehicles, make payments or cancel the insurance policy. A claims settlement check can be made out to either named policyholder.

Adding a driver to the policy does not allow that individual full access to the policy itself. Listed drivers are able to call the insurance company to file claims, schedule inspection appointments and make repair arrangements. They can discuss the coverage on a policy, but they cannot have settlement checks made out in their names.

Why should I add a driver to my car insurance?

If a driver is not listed on your insurance policy, he or she cannot discuss coverage or make any inspection arrangements for a claim. The policyholder or another named insured on the policy must be present for any telephone communications regarding the claim. This may not be possible in emergency situations, such as if the policyholder is in the hospital. Because of this, it’s important to always keep at least one other person listed on your insurance policy.

Some car insurance companies also require that a driver be listed on the policy in order to operate the vehicle. With this type of policy, all unlisted drivers are considered to be excluded and any accident those drivers cause will not be covered by insurance. Even if your policy does not exclude unlisted drivers, it’s a good idea to add anyone with frequent access to the vehicle as a listed driver.

Car insurance companies base premiums in part on the driving history of everyone who has access to a car. If a person drives a vehicle frequently but is not listed on the policy, this could be considered insurance fraud and may lead to the policy being canceled in some situations.

How do I add a driver to my policy?

Adding a driver to an existing insurance policy is very easy. You simply call either your agent or the customer service support number for your insurance company and request to add a driver. After providing the driver’s name and contact information, he or she will be added to the policy effective immediately.

If a driver is added partway through a policy term, the insurance company may wait until the policy’s renewal date to change the premiums. The insurance premiums may increase if the new driver is under 25, has a poor driving record or a history of traffic violations or DUIs.

Depending on your family’s needs, it may make sense to purchase two separate policies, with the driver added to one policy but excluded from the other. This would allow the driver free access to one vehicle but none of your other cars. This may be a more affordable option for some families, or it could be more expensive; be sure to check with your agent to see which option is best for your needs. If you do choose to exclude someone from any one of your insurance policies, be sure that he does not drive the excluded vehicle; this would lead to a claim denial and potential policy suspension if an accident were to occur.

By taking the time to research his options, a person can make the best choice regarding adding drivers to his insurance policy. Whether adding a driver, excluding a driver or adding a co-owner to the policy, you can customize your car insurance to suit your individual needs.