Who can drive my car?

Auto Insurance rates are set by companies based on perceived risk. Overwhelmingly, their prices come down to the answers to these two questions: in the event of a loss, how much will it cost us; and what is the likelihood the loss will occur. “Who can drive my car? This is a common question people ask when comparing rates for car insurance. Since teen drivers, or those with poor driving records will jump-up the chance of an accident, insurance companies want to know about all residents in your household over the age of 15, in addition to anyone that might have access to your auto.

Car insurance companies are allowed to require this information about residents when you apply for your auto insurance policy. Just as the year, make, and model of your vehicle, and your personal driving history are factors in determining the cost of Insurance; so is information about the complete list of drivers. Insurance companies do not necessarily require that the people must be added to your coverage, but that anyone who lives in the same house, and or, who has “Regular Customary Access” must be either listed as a driver or excluded  from the policy. “Who can drive my car?” is a question that needs to be answered prior to you having an accident.

“Do you charge more for auto insurance every time I add an additional driver?”

The short answer is no! Rates will go up if you add a person that is of a more expensive rate class than yourself. For example, in a 50 year-old driver wants to add his 18 year-old son, expect  the rate to rise, but flip that, and have an 18 year-old want to add his middle-aged dad to his car insurance, and the price will not change*.

“Must I list all People Living in my House?”

This time the short answer is yes. The insurance company understands that it is unreasonable to list EVERY person who might ever drive your car. What if you drive friends out of town on a camping trip, and you get bitten by a rattle snake, clearly someone is going to need to drive you to the hospital. Emergency situations come up that you could not have envisioned, but car insurance companies feel asking an applicant to list people in their own home is a reasonable request. Here is a case that fall neatly under the heading, “Better safe than sorry.”

Are Answering These Questions Required?

I’m not a lawyer, but my best understanding is YES, that insurance companies do have the right to ask questions that they can demonstrate are relevant to determining risk and that includes information about other possible drivers?  Questions will also include any business use, do you attend a college out of state and take your auto with you?

The Department of Insurance and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires insurance companies obtain this information, so one has to expect that the questions will be asked. Here again I must state the “Better safe than sorry.” concept is vital. While companies will often take your word at the time of the application, at the time of a claim they can investigate further and simply put “Insurers do not like surprises.”  If it turns out you did not answer the application truthfully, the company can, and often will state your false statements constitute misrepresentation. That can result in the cancellation of your policy, null and void, a denial of all claims.

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