Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 18, 2020

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Occasion Driver Car Insurance Summary
Occasional Driver Car Insurance FactsSource
You should list any person who occasionally drives your car in your car insurance policymass.gov
Some insurance companies call occasional driving "pleasure use"iii.org
The more miles you drive, the higher your insurance rates will be due to the greater likelihood of an accidentiii.org
Generally, your car insurance will cover other occasional driversiii.org
Some insurers offer PAYD pricing based on self-reported mileagerepository.upenn.edu
Young drivers in Texas have to show proof of insurance that covers the minimum amount as required by lawtdi.texas.gov
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Getting car insurance for occasional drivers may seem like a hassle. Are you asking, what is the best car insurance for me? We know there can be a lot to sift through.

We’ll go through everything you need to know, cover how an insurer defines occasional driving, and move on to how you can get the cheapest car insurance rate possible as an occasional driver.

What is an occasional driver on insurance policies? For some, 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 driver insurance is needed under an auto policy at all times.

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

Before learning more about occasional driver car insurance, enter your ZIP code above and receive personalized occasional driver car insurance quotes from multiple occasional driver car insurance companies.

Table of Contents

How do car insurance providers define occasional drivers?

One of the benefits of purchasing a car insurance policy as an occasional driver is that you’ll pay extremely low rates and you’ll still be covered if you get into an accident. However, you can avoid purchasing a car insurance policy altogether if you’re not a registered vehicle owner.

Occasional drivers can only be added to a car insurance policy with the consent of the policyholder. You may be asking, “What is a car insurance policyholder?” This is a covered individual.

However, keep in mind that car insurance companies have the authority to choose who they wish to cover and how much they will charge.

While most motorists tend to focus on how frequently they drive, car insurance companies want to know your car’s mileage. This link has information on car insurance mileage.

A policyholder could drive every single day and still be considered an occasional driver if they don’t 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. Generally, it involves the percentage of total miles put on the vehicle within a given time frame, i.e., a year.

Usually, a person is classified as an occasional driver if they’re listed as a driver of an insured vehicle but they are not the primary driver of the vehicle. One caveat to remember is that just because the individual doesn’t drive that vehicle very often, it doesn’t mean they seldom drive in general.

According to CNNMoney’s “Premium prices for teenage drivers,” car insurance companies categorize drivers in several different ways, sometimes requiring that a person put fewer than 50 percent of the total number of miles accumulated on the primary vehicle each year to be considered an occasional driver.

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

According to NOLO.com, liability insurance will cover the other driver’s medical expenses and property damage should someone borrow your car and get into an accident.

Take a look at the video below, which covers liability insurance in a bit more detail.

Medical Payments Coverage (MedPay) would help pay the medical expenses of anyone in your vehicle no matter who is at fault. Personal Injury Protection (PIP), unlike MedPay, is required in some states and helps with medical bills and other pesky expenditures.

Here’s a brief video that explains MedPay and PIP in detail.

It’s important to adhere to what is stated in your policy. A deviation may result in a premium hike, just as the poor driving record of an occasional driver can result in a premium hike. Discuss the policy terms for an occasional driver with your agent when signing up.

The most influential factor in terms of premium price setting is a person’s driving record. Let’s take a look at a table showing average rates for different records.

Average Annual Car Insurance Rates Based on Driving History
CompaniesAverage Annual Rates with a Clean RecordAverage Annual Rates with 1 AccidentAverage Annual Rates with 1 DUIAverage Annual Rates with 1 Speeding Ticket
USAA$1,933.68$2,516.24$3,506.03$2,193.25
Geico$2,145.96$3,192.77$4,875.87$2,645.43
American Family$2,693.61$3,722.75$4,330.24$3,025.74
Nationwide$2,746.18$3,396.95$4,543.20$3,113.68
State Farm$2,821.18$3,396.01$3,636.80$3,186.01
Average$3,102.08$4,076.60$4,895.38$3,641.34
Progressive$3,393.09$4,777.04$3,969.65$4,002.28
Travelers$3,447.69$4,289.74$5,741.40$4,260.80
Farmers$3,460.60$4,518.73$4,718.75$4,079.01
Allstate$3,819.90$4,987.68$6,260.73$4,483.51
Liberty Mutual$4,774.30$6,204.78$7,613.48$5,701.26
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A blemish on one’s record, particularly a DUI, can be catastrophic for premium rates. Let’s take a look at a video about driving records and insurance rates.

What car insurance requirements are there for occasional drivers? If you’re added to a car insurance policy, you’re required to have either a valid license or car insurance for a learner’s permit. Do you need car insurance for a learner’s permit?

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

Although there are car insurance providers that issue blanket policies covering licensed drivers aged 25 and above, you should still check to be certain.

A quick call to your insurance company can confirm this, so make sure to verify by asking about what is not covered under a car insurance policy.

Looking to buy occasional driver car insurance? You can enter your ZIP code below to compare occasional driver car insurance rates now.

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Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

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

Receiving a discount on your car insurance rates for being an occasional driver is possible, but several factors must be considered.

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 who 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 and report when you change employers to your car insurance provider in order to retain your occasional driving discount.

Let’s take a look at a table that shows occasional use discounts as well as other comparable discounts. The comparable discounts could come into play should you be a policyholder yourself and unable to take advantage of the occasional use discount. These could be a suitable replacement for an occasional driver insurance discount if you’re not eligible for one with your provider.

Car Insurance Discounts Available for Occasional Drivers
CompaniesOccasional Operator
Discount Available
Senior Driver
Discount Available
Senior Driver
Discount Available
Low Mileage
Discount Available
Low Mileage
Discount Available
21st CenturyN/AYesYesN/AN/A
AAAN/AN/AN/AYesYes
AllstateN/AYes - 10%Yes - 10%Yes - under 8,000 milesYes - under 8,000 miles
American FamilyN/AN/AN/AYesYes
AmeripriseN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
AmicaN/AN/AN/AYes - 0-5,000 = 10%
5,001-7,500 = 5%
Yes - 0-5,000 = 10%
5,001-7,500 = 5%
Country FinancialN/AN/AN/AYes - can get a lower rate for "Pleasure Use" only Yes - can get a lower rate for "Pleasure Use" only
EsuranceN/AYesYesYes - 15%Yes - 15%
FarmersN/AYesYesYesYes
GeicoN/AN/AN/AYesYes
Liberty MutualN/AN/AN/AYes - can allow you to qualify for
"Preferred Rating"
Yes - can allow you to qualify for
"Preferred Rating"
MetLifeN/AYes - 10%, must be retired Yes - 10%, must be retired YesYes
NationwideN/AN/AN/AYes - only in CA,
under 10,000 miles,
significant price drop, but not a %
Yes - only in CA,
under 10,000 miles,
significant price drop, but not a %
ProgressiveN/AN/AN/AYes - only in CA and TX
must be under 10,000/yr
Yes - only in CA and TX
must be under 10,000/yr
Safe AutoN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
SafecoN/AN/AN/AYes - 4,000 or less miles per year gets the highest discount
up to 25,000 annual miles can get a discount
Yes - 4,000 or less miles per year gets the highest discount
up to 25,000 annual miles can get a discount
State FarmN/AN/AN/AYes - under 7,500 with proof Yes - under 7,500 with proof
The GeneralN/AYes- 5%, 55 and older Yes- 5%, 55 and older Yes - great discount if under 5,000/yrYes - great discount if under 5,000/yr
The HanoverN/AYes - 5%, labeled for "Pleasure Use" for lower rate Yes - 5%, labeled for "Pleasure Use" for lower rate YesYes
The HartfordN/AYesYesYes - based off historical mileageYes - based off historical mileage
TravelersN/AN/AN/AYes - low mileage discount only available if using IntelliDriveYes - low mileage discount only available if using IntelliDrive
USAAYes - discount based on operator's individual driving recordYes - can be labeled as an "Occasional Operator" especially if retired Yes - can be labeled as an "Occasional Operator" especially if retired Yes - under 10,000 miles/yr
for drivers over 29
not available in HI or NC
Yes - under 10,000 miles/yr
for drivers over 29
not available in HI or NC
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As you can see, only one company offers an occasional use discount to policyholders. The low mileage discount, however, is more prevalent. If you’re a senior driver who occasionally uses a vehicle, the senior discount may very well be worth looking into.

Often it comes down to the aforementioned commute distance. Insurers operate via perceived risk and alter premiums accordingly. Let’s take a look at a table showing the rates from various insurers for different commute distances.

Average Annual Car Insurance Rates Based on Commute
CompaniesAverage Annual Rates for
10 miles commute
6,000 annual mileage
Average Annual Rates for
25 miles commute
12,000 annual mileage
USAA$2,482.69$2,591.91
Geico$3,162.64$3,267.37
State Farm$3,175.98$3,344.01
American Family$3,401.30$3,484.88
Nationwide$3,437.33$3,462.67
Average$3,884.36$3,973.33
Progressive$4,030.02$4,041.01
Farmers$4,179.32$4,209.22
Travelers$4,399.85$4,469.96
Allstate$4,841.71$4,934.20
Liberty Mutual$5,995.27$6,151.63
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As you can see, commute factors heavily in rate determination. Another factor is the age of the driver, be they occasional or not. If your car insurance company permits it, anyone that is of legal driving age and licensed can be classified as an occasional driver.

Teenagers, in particular, are going to be paying substantially more for car insurance. Again, this is due to insurers operating by perceived risk. Most people begin driving at 16 or 17, and at this point have not had a chance to prove themselves safe or unsafe drivers. Let’s take a look at a table comparing average rates for 17-year-olds and 25-year-olds.

Average Annual Car Insurance Rates for Single 17- and 25-Year-Old Drivers
CompaniesAverage Annual Single 17-Year-Old Female RatesAverage Annual Single 17-Year-Old Male RatesAverage Annual Single 25-Year-Old Female RatesAverage Annual Single 25-Year-Old Male Rates
USAA$4,807.54$5,385.61$1,988.52$2,126.14
Geico$5,653.55$6,278.96$2,378.89$2,262.87
Nationwide$5,756.37$7,175.31$2,686.48$2,889.04
State Farm$5,953.88$7,324.34$2,335.96$2,554.56
American Family$5,996.50$8,130.50$2,288.65$2,694.72
Farmers$8,521.97$9,144.04$2,946.80$3,041.44
Progressive$8,689.95$9,625.49$2,697.73$2,758.66
Allstate$9,282.19$10,642.53$3,424.87$3,570.93
Travelers$9,307.32$12,850.91$2,325.25$2,491.21
Liberty Mutual$11,621.01$13,718.69$3,959.67$4,503.13
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As you can see, the difference between what teens pay and what those in their mid-20s pay is staggering. In fact, teens can sometimes pay nearly five times as much as 25-year-olds.

These teen drivers, who are just learning, are frequently occasional drivers. These are drivers who would be covered under another person’s plan, usually their parents’.

Now that you know about auto insurance for occasional drivers, enter your ZIP code into the free comparison tool below to find affordable occasional driver car insurance.

Frequently Asked Questions: Car Insurance for Occasional Drivers

Is there something you’d still like to know about occasional drivers on car insurance policies? Check out some of the most frequently asked questions below.

#1 – What does occasional driver mean?

An occasional driver on a car insurance policy is any individual who drives an insured vehicle less frequently than the primary driver.

#2 – Are occasional drivers covered?

Yes, an occasional driver is covered once they are added to the primary driver’s insurance policy and as long as they are driving with the permission of the primary driver.

#3 – Can someone not on my insurance drive my car?

Generally, yes. Again, the person must be driving with the permission of the insured, primary policyholder.

#4 – How much extra does it cost to put a learner driver on your insurance?

Because young/new drivers have high insurance rates, you can expect your insurance rates to double if you add a learner driver to your policy.

#5 – What is the cheapest car to insure for a learner driver?

There are several good options. Consider getting your learner driver a Mazda MX-5 Miata, Subaru Outback, Volkswagen Golf GTI, Toyota Prius, Honda Civic 4-door, or Mazda 3.

#6 – Can you put a learner driver on your insurance?

Yes, this is usually a preferred alternative to provisional driver’s car insurance. Most learner drivers start out on their parents’ insurance policies.

#7 – Do all drivers in a household have to be insured?

In other words, do you have to put all drivers on insurance? In short, yes, they should at least be known to your insurance company. So, if you are covered by Geico, you should have occasional driver insurance from Geico on your policy.

#8 – What is the difference between an occasional and secondary driver?

They are just two different pieces of terminology referring to the same concept. Usually, it is called occasional operator insurance or occasional driver coverage. For instance, there is Geico occasional driver coverage, TD insurance occasional driver coverage, and State Farm occasional driver coverage.