Can I Add Someone to My Car Insurance Who Doesn’t Live With Me?

Most auto insurance policies are designed to cover cars that multiple people in the same household drive. An insurer may allow you to add a driver who doesn’t live in your home, but whether or not that happens depends on the insurance company you choose and your state’s insurance code.

  • Typically, an auto insurance policy can cover everyone in a household.
  • Car insurance policies only provide coverage when a permitted driver is behind the wheel.
  • Usually, auto policies extend coverage to occasional drivers such as visiting relatives or friends.

Who Can I Add to My Car Insurance?

Usually, car insurance policies are designed to cover everyone in your household, including your partner or spouse, licensed teenagers, and other relatives who share your home. If a new driver moves into your home, you can add them to your policy.

In some cases, you might need to add a non-relative who lives in your home. For example, if you rent a room in your home, you may decide to let your roommate share your car. But if you and your roommate each have an automobile, you’ll likely need separate policies. If you share each other’s cars, ask your insurance agents about the best way to insure the cars.

Who Do I Need to Add to My Car Insurance?

You should add to your policy all people who regularly drive the insured vehicle. A typical car insurance policy would list family members such as a husband and wife, domestic partners, and dependent kids who have driver’s licenses. As a rule of thumb, only list drivers who have permission to regularly use your car.

If your teenager gets their driver’s license, you have a couple of insurance options, including adding them to your policy or buying them their own policy.

If the teenager goes off to college and takes the insured automobile, you’ll need to notify the insurance carrier. Typically, the insurer will let you keep your college student on your insurance policy even if they attend school in another city. But the move may change your insurance rate since providers set premiums based on location. If your child goes to school in another state, you’ll need to adjust coverage to meet mandatory insurance requirements.

Insuring Drivers Who Don’t Live With You

Your vehicle’s car insurance coverage isn’t completely limited to drivers listed on your policy. The coverage may extend to people who occasionally drive your vehicle and don’t live with you, such as:

  • A friend who shares the driving with you during a trip
  • A family member or friend who needs to borrow your car for a few days while theirs is in the shop for repairs
  • Family members or friends who stay in your home, like cousins who visit for the holidays

Most insurers classify an “occasional driver” as someone who drives your vehicle less than 25% of the time.1

Your policy likely won’t provide coverage if someone borrows your vehicle to perform paid or commercial activities, nor will it cover people you list on your policy as “excluded” drivers.

Whether your auto insurance policy’s coverage extends to an occasional, non-listed driver also depends on if they have your permission to drive the car.

Permissive Use

Car insurance policies usually only extend coverage to drivers who have your permission to use your vehicle for a short period. Typically, permissive use extends the full coverage of the policy, unless the policy includes a provision that limits coverage on borrowed cars. So if your car is stolen while your friend is using it and you carry comprehensive coverage, your policy will likely cover the loss.

The person who borrows your car borrower should have their own insurance policy to ensure the vehicle has adequate coverage if an accident happens. For instance, if you don’t carry collision coverage but the borrower does, their coverage might pay for damages to your car following an accident.

Non-Permissive Use

If someone takes your car without permission, they likely aren’t covered by your policy. For example, if your teenager’s friend drives your car without permission and totals another driver’s vehicle, they—not you—are liable for the damages.

Can I Add Someone to My Car Insurance Who Doesn’t Live With Me?

Providers usually don’t allow you to add a non-related driver to your policy who doesn’t live with you. Typically, car insurance covers the vehicle’s owner and family members in the same household. Adding a driver who doesn’t live with you gets complicated and often depends on your insurer and state insurance laws.

A common exception to this rule is that insurers will allow adult children to remain on their parents’ auto insurance policy when they go off to college and take a family car. However, some insurers may tack on additional fees after the adult child reaches a specific age. And if the college-bound dependent purchases their own policy, they can’t remain on the parent’s plan. When a child goes away to college with a family vehicle, ask your insurance agent about how it will impact your coverage.

What Happens When I Add Someone Else to My Policy?

Adding someone to your auto insurance policy isn’t something you should take lightly, because you could face unexpected consequences. Insurers evaluate the risk that they’ll have to pay a claim, so consider each driver carefully before listing them on your policy. For example, if you add a roommate to your policy who has bad credit, a history of filing insurance claims, or a history of traffic violations, your rate could increase.

Adding a teen driver likely will increase your rate, sometimes as much as 130%.2 Before adding your teen driver to your policy, it pays to shop around for the best rates.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What happens when you let someone else drive your car?

Typically, your auto insurance coverage extends to drivers not listed on your policy if they only drive the covered vehicle for a short period instead of regularly. So if you lend your car to a visiting relative, let a friend drive it while you’re vacationing together, or allow someone to use it while theirs is in the shop, your policy should provide the same coverage to them as it does to you.

Does my car insurance follow the car or the driver?

In most circumstances, your auto insurance policy follows your car, not its listed drivers. However, the coverage may also provide some protection when you are driving another person’s automobile. For example, if you borrow a friend’s vehicle and cause an accident, their property damage liability coverage will cover the cost to repair the other driver’s car. But if their coverage doesn’t cover all damages, your policy may cover the remaining costs.

Does my car insurance cover other drivers?

If you give someone permission to drive your automobile, your auto insurance policy should provide all the coverage of its terms and conditions. When buying a car insurance policy, the carrier will require you to list all your vehicle’s regular drivers. However, you don’t need to list occasional drivers such as family members who visit for the holidays or friends with whom you share vacations.

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