Adding Relatives to an Existing Auto Insurance Policy

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Here's what you need to know...
  • Adding relatives to your auto insurance policy is a relatively easy process
  • Know the definition of a household member as it relates to insurance purposes
  • Make sure you are aware of who actually needs to be added to your insurance policy
  • Research your state’s requirements for all drivers before adding any relatives to your policy

What defines someone as a household member?

For insurance purposes, household members include all family members of driving age who are residents at the policy’s address. A person who is not a relative and who is of driving age may also be required to be listed on your policy depending, again, on the state in which you live.

If you do not disclose this information, then you might be in breach of the contract and therefore your claims might not be paid out!

Worst case scenario: the cousin who has a history of DUIs and lives with you takes the car out for a spin and rams it into a tree. If you didn’t list that cousin on your insurance form, the insurance company would have a reason not to pay your claim.

Even worse, the insurance company could force you to sue your own cousin for vehicular theft.

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Do you have to add household members to your policy?

Family car wash, men at work. Little boy in cap cleaning the headlight

The truth of the matter is that any relative, or any other driver in your household, has to be added to your auto insurance policy if they plan on driving the insured vehicle.

There really isn’t a choice in the matter unless you live in those two states (New Hampshire and Wisconsin) that don’t require mandatory liability car insurance.

New Hampshire does not require you to buy a minimum liability policy. Wisconsin also doesn’t require mandatory auto insurance, but you do have to have proof of $60,000 in reserve.

If you don’t reveal everyone within your household, you might be committing insurance fraud.

For instance, in order to properly assess your rates, the insurance industry has to know if someone with three DUIs in the last three months is living within your household.

As a general rule, the car insurance company will want to know everyone who lives in your household in order that they may determine risk.

How this works, in theory, is that the more people you have on your policy, the more likely you’ll run into a factor that could raise the cost of the policy.

If you have many drivers or a high-risk driver in your home, then it might be wise to seek out something called an “exclusion” for that one relative. But that one relative would have to have his or her own car and own insurance.

As usual, these rules may vary from state to state. Be certain to check.

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What factors affect adding relatives to your policy?

There are many factors that determine whether you should add relatives to your policy. These are generally the same factors that affect auto insurance costs generally.

1. One factor is the age of drivers who are under 25 years old.

2. Another factor is if a relative has had tickets or moving violations within the last few years.

Minor misdemeanors, such as parking offenses, do not make a huge difference. However, serious violations, like multiple DUIs, would very likely increase your rate because you would be adding someone who is in a high-risk category. 

If you have a relative in a high-risk category, then you might want to consider excluding this relative from your coverage.

However, excluding a driver is not as easy as it sounds and may require that the person in the household being excluded has his own insurance and car.

For example, in Pennsylvania, you can exclude a family member but that person has to prove that she or he has insurance with another company or is a part of the Commonwealth’s Assigned Risk Plan.

Again, your state may have differing requirements.

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