Do you have to list both registered owners on a car insurance policy?

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Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 10, 2019

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Here's what you need to know...
  • If the registered owners live together, they must all be listed on the insurance policy.
  • If the registered owners live apart and one does not drive the vehicle at all, that person can be left off the policy.
  • Coverage for “permissive drivers” does not usually extend to family members.

Do all registered owners need to be on the insurance policy? Yes and no!

  • YES! – If both registered owners of a car are also drivers of the car, then both must be listed on the car insurance policy. Any immediate family member who drives the car should be listed on the main car insurance policy as well.
    • For example, if a husband and wife, for example, are the registered owners of a vehicle, they should both be listed on the insurance policy. So should any licensed children who have the potential to get behind the wheel of the family car.
  • NO! – If, however, the registered owners of a car do not reside together, and do not share driving privileges, then it is not necessary to list both drivers on the car insurance policy.
    • An example would be a mother and son who co-signed for a vehicle before the son relocated, with his car, to a new state. As long as the mother will not be driving the car at all, she does not need to be listed.
    • Some insurance companies will require the driver to sign an exclusion form that explicitly states the other registered driver will not be operating the vehicle.

Read on to learn some of the reasons why it is important to list both registered owners on the auto insurance policy and then be sure to enter your zip in to start finding the best car insurance quotes online!

Policy Premiums Take All of a Car’s Drivers Into Account

While the driving record of the named insured will have the most significant effect on the cost of the car insurance policy, the records of any other listed drivers will be considered by the insurance company as well.

Some factors, such as listing a teenage driver or a driver over the age of 75, will likely mean higher premiums.

However, the risk of not insuring them is not one a responsible car owner can afford to take.

If an unlisted family member gets into an accident—which is more likely if the driver is a teenager or an elderly person—he or she may not be covered by the owner’s policy.

If that is the case, the owner will find himself in serious trouble when he becomes liable for all damages resulting from the accident.

In other cases, the insurance company may cover the damages, but will charge the policyholder retroactively for the difference between the premiums paid and the premiums he would have paid if he had listed his teenager as required.

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Listed Drivers vs. Permissive Drivers

A permissive driver is someone who has been given permission to drive a car by its owner but is not listed on the car insurance policy.

Permissive drivers are usually covered by the owner’s car insurance policy.

However, an owner will likely run into trouble if he submits a claim for damages resulting from an accident caused by a “permissive driver” who is actually a member of the owner’s family and who resides in the same house.

Since all family drivers should be listed on the policy, the insurance company could deny coverage in such an instance.

Get the Best Insurance Premium for the Entire Household

Auto insurance companies use three main factors, and a host of secondary ones, to compute premiums:

  • Demographics
  • Location
  • Vehicle make/model

Each insurance company places a different value on each factor, so it is imperative to shop around for the company that uses the formula that is most cost effective.

Price is a key consideration, but drivers need to take other aspects of a policy into consideration when choosing car insurance coverage:

  • The rating of the provider
  • The particulars of the policy
  • Additional benefits
  • Deductibles
  • Breadth of coverage

Paying more in deductibles means paying less in premiums (but more out of pocket in an accident). Forgoing certain forms of coverage, like comprehensive or collision, could be a smart idea for an older, more beat-up car that has already been paid for in full.

There are a variety of discounts available to drivers who know where to find them. Make sure you acknowledge all conditions that could qualify you for a discount. Examples include:

  • The possession of safety features such as anti-lock brakes or anti-theft devices
  • Insuring more than one vehicle, insuring your home and car with the same company
  • Using Electronic Payment Transfer (EFT) to pay your premiums straight from your bank account to the insurance company

The best way to find car insurance quotes for the cars in your household—and, thus, coverage for your entire family—is to compare quotes online. Save money by comparing quotes now!

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