Determining which drivers must be listed on your car insurance policy is quite important and fortunately, easy to do.

Your auto insurance premium is partially determined by the drivers that are listed on your policy. While your insurer looks at more than a dozen factors that affect your insurance rates, any drivers (and their driving record) listed on your policy will absolutely push your premium up or down.

The big question is, who exactly has to be listed on your policy, and how will that impact your premium? While a fully licensed teen driver certainly needs to be listed, what about a teen with a learning permit, a parent living with you or a neighbor who borrows your truck to move?

We'll fill you in on who needs to be listed on your car insurance policy and who can be left off.

Key Takeaways

  • If you fail to list a driver on your policy, and they are responsible for an accident, your insurance provider might deny your claim.
  • Insurance companies obtain reports that list potentially undisclosed drivers, including newly licensed drivers and additional drivers.
  • Your teen’s auto insurance policy won't extend to your vehicle.
  • Once your teenager gets their license, you should have them on your insurance.

Who should be listed on your insurance policy

Having sufficient car insurance gives you a front-line defense if an accident happens. Your auto insurance company becomes the primary payer for damages and injuries instead of you personally -- but only if you’re properly covered for the situation.

If you fail to list a driver that your insurer requires and they are responsible for an accident, you may end up with a denied claim. That would leave you on the hook for all of the costs related to the accident. This is especially true if you leave a driver off of your policy in order to lower your premium.

In general, the majority of insurance companies expect the following people to be listed on your car insurance policy:

  • Licensed family members living in your household
  • Unrelated licensed drivers living in your household (who do not have a policy of their own)
  • Anyone driving your vehicle regularly that is not insured on another policy

Insurers obtain reports that list potentially undisclosed drivers, including newly licensed drivers and additional drivers. While these are general guidelines, policies vary by the insurance company, so always check with your insurer if you have any doubts.

Teen with a permit

Some insurers don't require a teenager with a driver's permit to be listed on the policy. Most often, they will be covered by a parent’s policy. Once your teen gets a permit, alert the insurance company before your teen gets behind the wheel. If you don’t and your teen is in an accident, you may be shelling out a lot of money for a loss you thought was covered.

Insurance for a newly licensed teenager

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the crash rate for 16-year-olds is almost nine times greater than the general population of drivers, this is particularly true for brand new drivers. CDC data shows that crash risk is particularly high during the first months of licensure.

If your teenager just got their license, you should have them on your insurance. Giving consent for your teen to get a license makes you legally responsible for any accidental mishaps.

Your premium will increase. In fact, adding your teen to your policy might actually increase car insurance rates by an average of 161%. However, forgetting to add your newly licensed teen on your policy may leave them uncovered and you responsible for any incidents they cause. Some insurers may cover the claim but will charge you unpaid premiums from the day your teen was licensed. Either way, you are getting a significant bill.

Liability and collision

When a teen hits your policy, it is a good idea to review and possibly increase your liability limits. Liability coverage pays for injuries and property damage caused by drivers of your vehicle. The higher the limits, the better. That’s because if the liability limits on your policy are exceeded, you may have to pay the remainder. Limits of 100/300/50 are a good start. Limits of 250/500/100 are even better.

Nearly every state requires you to have car insurance and have laws that outline the minimum level of coverage you must buy. Unfortunately, these levels are rarely high enough to cover an accident. If you carry the minimum liability limits, you might want to consider increasing your limits. This is especially true when you add a teen to your policy.

If you put your teen in a newer vehicle, you might also consider carrying collision insurance, which will pay to repair your car if it is damaged in an accident. Collision insurance is optional coverage and fairly affordable.

Insurance for a teen driver who doesn't live with you

Insurance-for-a-teen-driver

Divorce or a teen moving out of your home can lead to complications with auto insurance. If your child stays with you regularly and has access to your vehicles, they should be on your car insurance. This is true even if your teen lives with another parent with car insurance. That’s because it’s likely your auto insurance company will assume your teen will drive your car while living with you.

Car insurance always follows the car, not the driver. So, if your teen is in an accident while driving your vehicle, it will be your insurance that pays for any damage.

Coverage for young adults living at home with their own vehicle

Many young adults living at home have their own insurance policies. However, if your teen is under 18 they may have a difficult time getting coverage as they are not old enough to enter into a contract legally, and that includes insurance policies.

It’s best that all young adults living in your home who have their own cars carry the appropriate coverage limits. It may be tempting for teens and young adults to carry the state minimums to keep their costs low, but this can be a mistake. If your teen is in a serious accident, they may not have the coverage necessary to cover all of the bills.

If your teen or adult child borrows your car on occasion, your insurance will be primary. For this reason, it's wise to carry high liability limits and collision coverage if you want your car covered by your policy. Your teen’s auto insurance policy won't extend to your car.

Insurance for a parent who lives with you

Insurance-for-a-parent

In most cases, a parent that lives with you will have their own car and their own insurance, so there is no need to list them on your policy. However, if they no longer have a car and use your vehicle on a regular basis, it’s recommended to add them to your policy.

If you fail to add them to your policy and a parent living with you gets into an accident, any claims might be denied. As with teens, senior drivers often pay a higher premium because statistics show they are involved in more accidents. If you're sharing your car with a senior driver, you should consider increasing your liability limits. Also, keep collision and comprehensive on your vehicle if you want it covered in the event of an accident, theft, fire, or vandalism.

Insurance for random people who drive your car

The majority of standard car insurance policies do not require you to add a neighbor, significant other, friend, or relative who doesn't live with you to your insurance policy as long as they are not using your vehicle on a regular basis.

However, if the person you lent the car to is involved in an accident, it will be your insurance policy that covers the damage. While most insurance policies have a “permissive driver” clause, some policies restrict coverage to drivers listed on the policy.

Delivery or rideshare restrictions

If your friend or relative uses your car to earn money by being a rideshare or delivery driver, they might not be covered under your insurance policy. Most standard car insurance policies exclude coverage if you are using your vehicle for commercial purposes.

Insurance for a caregiver

Suppose you no longer drive but have a friend or caregiver drive you around instead, you will need to add them to your car insurance policy as a listed driver. But only if they use your car. If you've lost or given up your license, you can request that your insurer list the caregiver as the primary driver on your policy. As the car owner, you still need to be the one to insure your car.

Excluding drivers

If you have concerns about your teen, adult child, or anyone else living in your home who wants to borrow your car, you can exclude them from your policy. But you will need to contact your insurer to let them know which drivers you wish to exclude. That means that any driver excluded from your policy will not be covered in the case of an accident or other qualified claim. This is true even if they take your car without your permission.

Time to explore rates and insurers

When you add or remove a driver, get married or divorced or experience another major life event, you may want to reevaluate your auto insurance needs. Making sure your policy is suitable for your current situation will ensure you are covered in case something happens. When you’re ready to explore rates and insurers, check out the best car insurance companies today.

Frequently asked questions

How many drivers and vehicles can be on one car insurance policy?

How many drivers you have on your car insurance policy depends on the policy. Some policies set limits on the number of drivers and vehicles you can list, while other policies have no limits. You may have to list certain vehicles, like collector cars, on another policy. 

Should I add friends to my policy if they drive my car? 

Most often, your insurance will cover anyone who only drives your car once in a while. That’s because insurance follows the car, not the driver. However, if a friend uses your car often, you may need to add them to your policy, especially if they don’t carry their own insurance. 

If I add drivers to my policy, will my car insurance rates increase?

When you add other drivers to your car insurance policy, your rates will increase. How much they increase depends on who you add. If you add a teenager, your rates will increase more than if you add someone with a long history of a good driving record.