Today, we’re tackling a question as old as insurance: Do all household members need to be on my car insurance policy? Whether you have not-quite-driving-age teens or live with elderly parents who have their own vehicle and policy, we’ve got answers for you. Keep reading to find out what you need to know.
Car insurance household members: Who needs to be listed on my policy?
Generally speaking, insurers will ask you to list all household members when applying for a car insurance policy. Young children (typically under the age of 14) should be exempt, but the other individuals in your household should be disclosed, including:
- Significant other
- Children near driving age, if required by your insurer
- Other family members who live with you
So, if you’ve ever wondered do I have to add my child to my car insurance or do I have to put my roommate on my car insurance, you’re now aware they should at least be known to your insurer. You can then talk to your agent about your household’s specific driving situation (who is and isn’t driving the vehicles on the policy, who has their own car and coverage, etc.), so they can categorize your household members and give you an accurate quote. Here is an example of how different household members may be categorized on your policy.
Rated drivers are the people on your policy who will affect your insurance premium. At minimum, the named insured will be a rated driver. But any other household member who is old enough to qualify for a driving/learner’s permit will be considered a rated driver unless they fall in one of the other categories below.
Listed individuals are simply noted on the policy, but they do not affect the premium. For example, a teenager who will be licensed soon might be known to your insurer, but they won’t affect your rates until they get their license.
If you live with a licensed driver who has their own insurance policy, they could fall into an “other insurance” category. Your insurer might require proof of insurance to make sure this individual has coverage.
If anyone living in your household doesn’t have a driver’s license, doesn’t plan to get one, nor ever intends to drive, they might be categorized as a “non-driver.” This group might include household members with impairments that keep them from driving or elderly individuals who no longer drive and have turned in their license.
Why do I need to include everyone when listing drivers on auto insurance?
When an insurer asks you to list household members, they’re trying to get a complete picture of your situation and the extent of the risk they will be insuring. If you give them an accurate look, they can properly calculate risk and quote you the right premium. However, if you neglect to list your kids or other household members on your policy, the picture you paint is incomplete. If someone in your household, who is unknown to your insurance company, gets in an accident, your insurer might rescind or cancel your policy and/or deny your insurance claim because they’ve been kept in the dark. It’s always better to give your insurer all of the information and let them sort out which drivers should be rated when giving you a quote.
What is an excluded driver?
An excluded driver is someone specifically excluded from coverage under your car insurance policy. The option is not available in all states. However, if your state allows you to exclude certain household members from your policy, it’s important for you to understand that no coverage will be provided if they get in an accident while using your vehicle. Therefore, you need to be absolutely certain this person will never be getting behind the wheel of the vehicle in question before you ask your insurance company to exclude them.
Let’s look at an example!
Your cousin, Alisha, is coming to stay with you during her final year of college. She has a driver’s license, but no car. Unfortunately, you don’t feel comfortable allowing her to drive your car and you’re worried that adding her to your insurance policy could cause your rate to go up. (She’s been in quite a few fender benders and had a DUI.) Plus, you live close enough to the school that you figure she could easily walk or take the bus to class.
You’ve heard the term “excluded driver” before, and think that it may apply to your cousin and your car insurance policy. So, you call your insurance company to find out whether your cousin can be excluded from your auto insurance policy. A driver like Alisha could be considered a “high-risk driver,” and excluding her could help you keep your cheap car insurance rate.
What happens if an excluded driver gets into a car accident?
Let’s say you list Alisha as an excluded driver on your car insurance policy, but she ends up driving your car anyways. (What were you thinking Alisha?!) If she were involved in a car accident while driving your car, your insurance company probably would not pay for the damages, though it varies from state to state. And, your car insurance company may decide to take other adverse action against you, like not renewing your policy.
This means that you could be liable for the damages and injuries that result from the auto accident. And if she took your car without your permission, you could be asked to prove that she stole your vehicle in order for the accident to be covered by your insurance company. Yikes!
Do people not living in my household need to be listed on my policy?
If someone outside of your household is using your vehicle on a regular basis, they’ll need to be listed on your insurance policy. Here are some circumstances involving people living outside of your home and if they’ll need to be on your policy:
- Kids away at college: If your children are away at school, you might be rethinking your car insurance policy. However, if they come home for a weekend to visit, they might borrow your car to run errands or visit friends. If so, they still need to be listed on your policy. Or, if they end up borrowing your car for a period at school, they would also need to be listed on your policy.
- Someone serving in the military: It’s no surprise that military members still have to meet minimum insurance requirements wherever they reside. But military members might be deployed or moved to new locations often. So, what are the military car insurance options if you or your spouse will be away from home for a specific period of time? Well, it depends on your insurer, according to Military.com. The safest bet is maintaining continuous coverage to make sure your future rates stay low. But some companies might let you cancel your policy and reinstate it at a later date without penalty because you’re serving our country. Talk to your insurer to find the best option for you.
- A nanny or relative who helps with childcare or errands: If someone is using your car to help run errands or provide childcare while you work or because it’s difficult for you to get out, they will likely need to be listed on your policy, even if they don’t live with you.
The bottom line: Who should I include on my auto insurance policy?
Before choosing to exclude a driver from your insurance policy, talk to your insurance agent about your specific situation. In general, everyone that is 14 years and older who resides within your household should be listed on your policy, regardless of whether or not they have a driver’s license. Any other regular operators of vehicles, including children away from home or in college (licensed or not), should be listed as well.
It is really important to be honest with your insurance company about who lives in your household and who regularly drives your car, even if your state does not allow you to exclude a driver. The consequences for not telling your insurance company about the drivers who live with you can be costly when your insurance company discovers the omitted information, including denial of coverage, policy cancellation, or rescission.
When in doubt, play it safe
Even if you think someone won’t be driving your vehicle, it doesn’t hurt to play it safe. Life happens fast, and you never know when a relative or roommate will need to drive your car. When you’re going to get a car insurance quote, think of everybody who might need to be listed on the policy beforehand and who should be a rated driver. If you still have questions or want to see how much car insurance could cost you, give us a call or stop by one of our nearby locations. We make it easy to add or remove drivers on a policy!