August 6, 2019 12:00 PM PT

Adding Someone to Your Car Insurance

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Adding someone to your car insurance might increase or decrease your rates. Read our guide to see what affect it may have on your policy.

Who Can I Add?

Generally, someone must be related to you or living with you to be added to your policy. You may not be able to add a car to your insurance that you don't own, such as your child's or parent's car.

Why? Insurance companies expect you to have an "insurable interest" in any vehicle you add to a policy. Simply put, they want you to have a stake in what happens to the vehicle.

Spouses, boyfriends/girlfriends, and children can all be added to your policy. If you're unsure if someone can be added, contact your insurance company directly.

When Should I/Shouldn't I Add Someone?

It's generally cheaper - and easier - to add someone to an existing policy than to purchase a new one. And it's much safer than having no coverage at all.

Consider adding someone to your insurance if they:

  • Get a driver's license
  • Move in with you and have access to your car

You don't need to add a driver if they only use your car on rare occasions. The same holds true for family members who don't live with you and use the car sparingly.

How Much Will It Cost?

Adding a driver may increase your premiums. But that's not always true. It's all about risk. Insurance companies look at factors like:

  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Occupation
  • Driving record
  • Length of time since getting licensed

A younger or newer driver, or someone with several accidents on their record, would pay more for insurance than an older, more experienced driver with a clean driving record. But it's usually cheaper to add them to a policy than for them to get their own.

The average annual rate quoted for a teen driver to have their own policy is $2,267. The average cost increase is just $621 for adding a teen to the parents' policy.

Adding someone to your car insurance could even lower your rates depending on their age and driving record.

For example, if a driver under age 25 (high risk) adds a parent or older spouse (lower risk) to his or her policy, the premium could drop because overall risk decreases.

Make sure you ask how your premium will change and how you'll be billed if the cost increases.

How Can I Add Someone?

Adding a driver usually takes just a phone call. Contact your insurance agent - you can find their information on your insurance documents or online.

Be sure to review your entire policy with them. There may be other ways to save money on your policy, especially if an addition means your premium increases.

Ask yourself:

  • Have your driving habits changed?
  • Are you driving more or less than you used to?
  • Have you moved?
  • Have you changed professions?

Discuss the answers with your insurance agent. You can also ask:

  • Should I increase or decrease the deductible?
  • Is it time to drop full coverage in favor of just liability if your car is older?

You may even consider getting quotes from other companies, especially if you've seen significant changes in your circumstances.

When you contact your insurance agent, be ready with the following information on the individual you're adding:
  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Social Security number
  • Occupation
  • How long they've had their license
  • Recent tickets or accidents.

What Happens if There's an Accident?

If a covered driver is in an accident with your car, the accident should be covered. That's why you added them to your coverage in the first place.

But when someone who is not listed on your policy is involved in an accident with your car, things get more complicated.

  • If someone who drives your car only occasionally gets into an accident, it will probably be covered. However, the incident will probably raise your premiums.

  • If someone in your household or related to you - i.e. someone the insurance company would have expected to be listed on your policy - drives your car and gets into an accident, it may not be covered and you could be liable for all damages.

If you lend your car to someone unfit to drive - for example, someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol - the insurance company likely won't cover the accident.


Do I have to add my teen driver to my insurance?
One way or another, a teen driver needs car insurance. It's likely cheaper to add them to your policy than for them to purchase a policy of their own.

The average increase of adding a teenage driver to your auto insurance policy is about 80%. Insurance costs more for teen drivers because they add increased risk.

Some insurance companies also offer discounts for teen drivers for:

  • Good grades
  • Completion of a safe driving course
  • Use of an app to track driving behavior

What about short-term or temporary drivers?
Maybe you've hired a live-in nanny for a few months. Or a housekeeper to help out when a family member is ill. Or you have a friend living with you for a while.

If they will be driving your car more than occasionally, consider adding them to your policy temporarily. While it's possible they'd be covered if they had an accident, some insurance companies can be strict about this.

Your agent can advise you whether you should add them to your policy and how to obtain temporary insurance.

Bottom Line

Not all car insurance policies are the same. Make sure you understand your policy and what it does and does not allow before adding a driver. And don't hesitate to contact your agent to clear up any questions.

Write to Diane B at Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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