Car Insurance for Occasional Drivers

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Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Dec 5, 2018

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Here's what you need to know...
  • Occasional drivers may have the opportunity to find cheaper car insurance premiums
  • Not all companies offer discounts for occasional drivers
  • Regardless of how often you drive, you must always be covered by insurance before you get behind the wheel

To some drivers, occasionally operating a vehicle might mean traveling to and from the supermarket each week, while others may only need to drive their cars once per month.

In either instance, occasional drivers need to be covered under an auto policy at all times.

If you are driving a vehicle owned by someone else, you will not need to purchase your own coverage. As long as you are able to be added onto an existing policy as an additional driver, there is no need to purchase an individual policy.

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One of the benefits of purchasing a car insurance policy as an occasional driver is that you will pay extremely low rates.

However, you can avoid purchasing an auto policy altogether if you are not a registered vehicle owner.

Occasional drivers will only be able to be added to a car insurance policy if they receive the consent of the policyholder. Car insurance companies also have the ability to pick and choose to whom they will extend coverage, as well as the amount of money that they charge.

Young drivers in Texas have to show proof of insurance that covers the minimum amount as required by law.

How do car insurance providers define occasional drivers?

While most motorists tend to focus on how frequently they drive, car insurance companies want to know the total number of miles that you travel.

A policyholder could drive every single day and still be considered an occasional driver if he does not travel many miles at a time.

The criteria for occasional driving will vary with each car insurance company, but there are some general guidelines they all tend to follow.

According to CNNMoney’s “Premium prices for teenage drivers,” car insurance companies categorize drivers several different ways, such as requiring occasional drivers to put fewer than 50% of the total number of miles accumulated on the primary vehicle each year.

Other insurers stipulate that occasional drivers operate any of the vehicles listed on the policy less than 25% of the time.

The State of California Department of Insurance’s information on car insurance also states that occasional drivers may have different levels of protection than the primary drivers on car insurance policies.

This indicates that motorists listed as occasional drivers may have a harder time getting their insurance claims accepted and paid if they broke the terms of their policies.

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What car insurance requirements are there for occasional drivers?

Being added to a car insurance policy will require you to either be a licensed driver or have a valid learner’s permit.

Not all insurers permit occasional drivers to be covered at all. Because insurance companies are able to create and enforce coverage criteria and policies at their own discretion, you will find that the rules for occasional drivers can be fairly inconsistent.

If your car insurance company permits it, anyone that is of the legal driving age and licensed can be classified as an occasional driver.

Although there are auto coverage providers that issue blanket policies that cover licensed drivers aged 25 and above, you should still check to be certain.

A quick call to your insurance company can confirm this, but it is important that you verify this information by reading over your car insurance policy.

Can you get a discount on rates for being an occasional driver?


Receiving a discount on your auto insurance premiums for being an occasional driver is possible, but several factors must be in play.

Being an occasional driver on a car insurance policy is not the same as qualifying for an occasional driver discount. The main difference is that motorists deemed occasional drivers cannot simultaneously be active policyholders.

Occasional driving discounts are given to policyholders that do not drive their cars more than the predetermined number of miles chosen by the insurance provider.

These types of car insurance discounts are popular with senior citizens, college students, and motorists who work less than 20 miles from their homes.

You may need to record the number of miles on your speedometer periodically as well as report when you change employers to your auto insurer in order to retain your occasional driving discount.

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