While there may be situations where friends, colleagues or associates need to drive your car, if they do it routinely, consider putting them on your auto insurance. It’s a common misconception that auto insurance follows a driver, but in reality, it follows a car. And ultimately, you may be legally and financially responsible for the car and its drivers.
In the Driver's Seat
To add a non-family driver to your car insurance policy call your insurance agent and let her know that you would like to add someone to your policy. If more than one car is covered under your insurance policy, your agent will likely ask you to assign the driver to just one car. Just like getting an initial insurance quote, your agent will ask you for information on the new driver, including his date of birth, driver license number and contact information. Once the driver has been added to your insurance, make sure that he has a copy of the insurance card.
In most cases, your insurance will cover a licensed driver who borrows your car with your permission. However, insurance companies require you to disclose someone who is a recurring driver of your car. An "occasional driver" usually denotes someone who drives the car less than 25 percent of the time. Because they do not drive your car full time, occasional drivers will generally be cheaper to insure than regular drivers.
When you add a driver to your car insurance policy – whether it is a family member or not – that may change your rate. If the driver has traffic violations, accidents or DUIs on her driving record, you could see a significant rate increase. However, if the additional driver has a better record than you do, your cost for insurance may decrease.
Lending Your Car
If you do lend your car to non-family or non-household members on a regular basis, it can be a good idea to add them to your policy. Before you lend your car, make sure you understand what your insurance policy covers and any restrictions or conditions that may apply to other drivers. You should also make sure that anyone borrowing your car has a valid driver's license, as your insurance may not cover an unlicensed driver.
While every situation differs, if you do not add a non-family member to your insurance policy and that person happens to wreck your car, your insurance may not cover it. In most cases, insurance follows the car, not the driver; however, if someone is a regular driver of your car and is not listed on your policy, your insurance company may deem this as a non-disclosure or misrepresentation of information and opt not to cover the accident.
While you are able to add non-family drivers to your auto insurance policy pretty easily, the same is not true of adding cars that are not owned by a member of your household. Because car insurance rates depend on where a car is housed or garaged, among other factors, and most insurance companies offer discounts for multiple cars covered under one policy, your insurance company likely will not allow you to add a car not owned by a member of your household to your policy.
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