Joint Ownership Car Insurance: Listing Both Owners on the Policy? [Expert Advice]

If more than one person is listed on the car registration, joint ownership car insurance is needed. All driving members of the household should be listed on your policy.

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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...

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Reviewed byJoel Ohman
Founder, CFP®https://res.cloudinary.com/quotellc/image/upload/insurance-site-images/ciccom-live/41b5e36b-joel-ohman.jpg

UPDATED: Jul 1, 2020

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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.

Does joint ownership of a car mean joint ownership car insurance? Can you get a joint car insurance policy if you don’t live together? 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 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 parents and a son who co-signed for a vehicle before the son relocated, with his car, to a new state.  Even though parents co-sign, car insurance policies do not need to be in their name.
    • 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 car insurance policy and then be sure to enter your ZIP code to start finding the best joint ownership car insurance quotes online!

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

Can you get joint car insurance without being married? Yes, as long as you are living in the same household, you should be able to be on the same policy especially when co-owning a car.

Nolo.com defines the ways you can co-own a shared car.

All family members who will be driving need to be added to the car insurance policy.

While the driving record of the named insured will have the most significant effect on the cost of car insurance, household member’s records will be considered by the insurance company as well.

Let’s look at average annual auto insurance rates by driving record so you can see what rates members of your household could expect.

Average Annual Car Insurance Rates by Driving History
CompaniesAverage Rates With a Clean RecordAverage Rates With 1 AccidentAverage Rates With 1 DUIAverage Rates With 1 Speeding Violation
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
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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If you have a driver on your policy with a ticket or an accident, your overall rates will increase greatly.

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

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 rates paid and the rates 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.

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Get the Best Insurance Rates for the Entire Household

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

  • Demographics
  • Location
  • Vehicle make/model

This video breaks down many of the factors car insurance companies look at to determine rates.

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 the policy into consideration when choosing car insurance coverage such as:

  • The rating of the provider by an agency such as J.D. Power
  • The particulars of the policy
  • Additional benefits
  • Deductibles
  • Breadth of coverage

Paying more in deductibles means paying less in rates (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 rates straight from your bank account to the insurance company

How do I insure a car with two owners? 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 just by entering your ZIP code!

Frequently Asked Questions: Joint Car Ownership and Insurance

These are some of the more commonly asked questions about joint ownership car insurance.

Can I add someone to my car insurance that doesn’t live with me?

No, you can’t add someone to your policy that doesn’t live with you. Adding car insurance for a child not living at home might be possible if the child goes to college but still comes home on weekends and summers.

Can a car be registered in one name and insured in another?

Generally, the answer is no you can’t insure a car that is not registered to you. Car insurance companies want the car owner to be on the policy since they have a larger interest in the car.

Can I be on my parent’s car insurance if the car is in my name?

Again, the answer is no. Once you purchase a car in only your name, the insurance that goes along with it must also be in your name. If one of your parent’s names is also on the title then the insurance can stay under their policy.

Do you have to be the registered owner of a vehicle to insure it?

As we can see in the answers to the previous questions, the answer is yes. Generally it is the registered owner that insures the vehicle.

What rights does a co-owner have on a car?

If you are both listed on the title of the car, you have equal rights to the car. Even if you are not listed on the loan, the names on the title are all that matters.

How do I go about adding a vehicle to an existing insurance policy?

If you need to add a second or third car to your current policy, contact your insurance agent and they can take car of it.

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