When you purchase an auto insurance policy, you have the option of listing drivers. It’s not strictly necessary in most cases to do so; your insurance should still cover any auto accidents that your vehicle is involved in whether or not the driver is listed on the policy. Nevertheless, adding a driver to your auto policy has multiple advantages, and it’s quite easy to add drivers to most insurance policies.

Why Should I Add a Driver to My Insurance?

Anyone listed on your auto insurance policy has the ability to file claims against the policy and deal with the insurance company. If an individual is not listed, they cannot file a claim on your policy or communicate with the insurance company about your coverages, claim status or other issues.

Depending on your situation, having one or more people listed on your policy can be tremendously helpful. For example, if you are ever injured in an accident, having someone else handle the claim for you is invaluable. Similarly, if your car is damaged while you’re away on vacation, you might want someone to handle the repairs for you before you return home.

Listed drivers on your policy are also able to enjoy some of the benefits of your insurance, even if they do not drive your vehicles. For example, a resident relative who is listed on your insurance can be covered under your policy’s personal injury protection coverage. In addition for paying medical expenses for people involved in car accidents, this coverage also covers the medical expenses of people who are hit by cars as pedestrians or bicyclists. This coverage alone may be a good enough reason to add your children to your auto insurance policy.

It’s also generally required for you to list someone as a driver on your policy if they will have frequent access to your vehicles. This is so that insurance companies can accurately assess your risk. For example, if your car is driven frequently by a 16-year-old, that car has a higher chance of being damaged than if a teenager never drives it.

Most insurance companies will base a vehicle’s risk factors on who lives in the house, not simply people directly listed on a policy, but that’s not always true. Indeed, some policies will automatically exclude anyone who is not listed on the policy. This means that any accident caused by an unlisted driver will be denied by the insurance company.

These types of policies are the exception, not the rule, but it’s still a good idea to check with your insurance company about this possibility. Overall, it’s always safest to add a driver to your policy if that person has frequent access to your vehicle or if you want them to have the ability to contact your insurer on your behalf for any reason.

How to Add a Driver to Your Insurance Policy

Adding a driver to your car insurance policy is very straightforward. In most cases, you must simply call the insurance company’s customer service number or your agent and request to add the driver. In order to process your request, the insurance company will need some information about the driver:

  • Their name, age, gender and relationship with you
  • Their address, especially if it’s different from yours
  • Their driver’s license number

The insurance company will review that individual’s driving record and determine if any rate increases are warranted. Your policy should not be severely affected by adding a driver unless that individual is a teenager, has an especially bad driving record or has been convicted of a DUI. In that situation, your premiums may or may not be affected depending on whether your insurance company has already applied their risk factors to your policy due to living together.

What if I Don’t Want Someone On My Policy?

In some cases, you may live with someone who you do not wish to be included on your auto insurance due to their high-risk driving. In order to prevent them from causing your rates to increase, you cannot simply avoid adding them to the policy; you will need to have them actively excluded.

Excluded drivers are not included in the risk assessment for a vehicle, so your premiums will be lower than they would be if that high-risk driver was permitted access to your vehicle. You must make sure, however, that the excluded driver does not ever drive your vehicle as any accidents will not be covered by insurance. That would leave you needing to pay for damages out of pocket and you may have your policy canceled for insurance fraud if the insurance company determines that you’ve been allowing the excluded driver to drive your vehicles frequently.

Whether you plan on excluding a driver or adding someone to your policy, you should discuss your options with your agent to ensure that you know how much the policy will cost and can budget accordingly. The agent can also advise you as to the best way to reduce your premiums if you have a high-risk driver in your home or how to modify your coverages to suit your needs.