Car insurance will cover the vehicle regardless of who is driving (in most cases) at the time of an accident. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to add an individual to the policy if they drive the vehicle frequently. This makes claims much more convenient and easier to settle, and also ensures coverage will be afforded to a loss. Adding another driver to a car insurance policy is often pretty quick and easy.

Why Add an Additional Driver?

There are several reasons why it makes sense to add a driver to your auto insurance policy:

— It ensures that coverage will be afforded if an accident occurs

Although most insurance companies provide coverage for an accident regardless of who is driving the vehicle, some companies will only cover the claim if the driver is listed on the insurance policy. Unless you know for sure what type of policy you have, it’s best to add all possible drivers to the policy.

— It extends first-party medical coverage to all members of your household

Personal Injury Protection coverage, or PIP, pays for medical expenses whenever a driver is involved in an accident. It also extends medical coverage to individuals who are injured as passengers in another person’s vehicle or to pedestrians or bicyclists. Adding your loved ones to your auto insurance policy will extend PIP coverage to them no matter where they are.

— Listed drivers can file claims

Whenever a claim is filed, the insurance representative must discuss coverage and confirm inspection arrangements with someone listed on the policy before the claim can more forward. If an unlisted driver calls in a claim, the representative will need to contact the named insured to confirm all of the information before setting up an inspection. This can be time-consuming and inconvenient for the insured.

Adding a driver to your insurance policy also ensures that you are up front and honest with the company about how your vehicles are used. Insurance companies determine premiums based on the driving habits of all individuals who have access to a vehicle. Frequently allowing someone who is not listed on the policy to drive a car may be seen as a form of insurance fraud. At the least, it will lead to an underwriting referral and possible rate increase if the insurance company learns that an unlisted driver has been using the vehicle.

Will my car insurance rates go up?

It is possible that a new driver will cause a person’s auto insurance rates to increase. If the driver is young, has a history of traffic violations or has been in accidents, the insurance premiums may go up. This is also true of individuals who live with the insured without being listed on the policy. Auto insurance companies will usually ask for identifying information of other members in the household and assess risk according to that individual’s proximity, whether or not they actually drive the car.

In other words, living with a bad driver might cause rates to increase even if he doesn’t use your car. In these situations, it may be necessary to exclude the driver from the policy. This will keep their risk factors from deciding your insurance costs, but it also means that they can never drive your car. Accidents caused by excluded drivers will be denied by the insurance company.

Any time a driver is added to a policy, they will be a listed driver for all vehicles on that policy. In homes with numerous vehicles, it may be a good idea to add drivers to one policy but not the other. For example, if a person has more vehicles than they can list on a single policy, they may choose to put their son’s 90s-model vehicle on one policy and the other family vehicles on a separate policy that excludes the son. This enables the son to be listed as a driver of the car he frequently uses without increasing the rates for all other cars in the household.

How do I add another driver to my car insurance policy?

In most cases, adding a driver to a policy is very easy. The named insured simply needs to call the insurance company’s toll-free customer service number and request to make a change to the policy. Alternatively, if the insured uses the services of a local agency, he can contact the agent in person or over the phone in order to update the policy.

The new driver’s name, age and driver’s license number will be needed to add him or her to the policy. Additional identifying information like a social security number may or may not be needed as well. The insurance company will review the new driver’s driving history and may make rate changes if applicable.