Some of life’s most exciting milestones, such as getting married or teaching your teen to drive, can necessitate changes to your car insurance policy. After all, it is essential that your finances are adequately protected when adding a new driver to your household.

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That said, your policy contract will typically allow someone to use your vehicle occasionally without listing them as a driver, so how do you know which option is right, or when and how to add a new driver to your car insurance? Bankrate simplifies the process of adding a driver to your car insurance policy by breaking down when this change may or may not be required.

Why would I need to add a driver to my car insurance?

Adding a driver to insurance is necessary whenever someone else is given permission to drive your vehicle when they need or want to and you live at the same address. Adding a driver to your policy is usually tied to a change in your household. Most insurance companies require the additional driver to live within the same household, or to be listed as an owner of the vehicle.

There are several scenarios where adding a driver may be necessary.

  • Your teenager has started driving: If your teenager has their learner’s permit, it may be the right time to add them to your auto insurance policy. Teen drivers are at a higher risk of vehicle crashes, according to the CDC, so adequate coverage is often a must when they start using the vehicle. It is worth noting that adding a driver with a learner’s permit does not generally impact premiums – but insurers do want to know that an inexperienced driver is starting to use the vehicle(s) and will be licensed soon.
  • Someone new joins the household: If you have a family member joining your household, such as a sibling or parent, and they do not have their own policy, then you may want to consider adding them. You may also want to consider this if you have a partner or spouse moving in and they will be given access to your vehicle.
  • Your roommate does not have a vehicle and borrows your car regularly: If your roommate does not have their own vehicle and their own policy, but drives your vehicle on a routine basis, then you may want to inquire about getting them added to your car insurance policy. You may be able to add them since you live in the same household, but this should be verified by your insurance carrier.

When you do not need to add a driver to your car insurance

There are some scenarios where it is not typically necessary to add a driver to a policy, including:

  • The person does not live at your address: Most carriers require that the person you would like to add is a member of your household. However, each insurance company sets its own guidelines, so you may want to contact your agent for more information if you plan on letting someone who does not live with you use your vehicle.
  • The driver only occasionally borrows your vehicle: Since car insurance is tied to the vehicle and not just the driver, there are coverages in your policy that should allow for infrequent use by someone else. This is called the “permissive user” clause, and the coverage options vary by carrier. Before you let your friend or neighbor borrow your vehicle, a quick review of your policy’s coverage for permissive use will help you better understand what is covered.

Can I temporarily add someone to my car insurance?

You can temporarily add someone to your car insurance policy. This may be necessary if you have a nanny or babysitter living with you full-time during the summer, for example, and you are giving them access to your vehicle.

Each carrier has different criteria for adding someone on temporarily, so if you find yourself in this situation, it’s best to confirm with the carrier first for the right course of action.

How do I add a driver to my car insurance policy?

Adding someone to car insurance is a fairly straightforward process, and similar to when you switched your car insurance company or started your first policy. If you have a local agent you work with, a quick phone call and relaying the information is typically all you need. Some carriers allow you to add a driver online or through the mobile app.

When adding a driver, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Legal name
  • Birthdate
  • Social security number (depending on state and insurer)
  • Gender (in most states)
  • Occupation
  • Driver’s license number

There may be additional information needed, depending on your provider.

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