Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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In a nutshell...

  • You, your spouse, and all of the drivers who live in your home need to be on your auto insurance policy
  • Anyone who is licensed to drive in your home needs to be rated, or claims on your vehicle won’t be covered
  • If you need a friend to drive you around for a week, they can drive your vehicle without being added
  • Drivers who don’t live with you but who will borrow your car are automatically covered under your policy
  • Car insurance follows the car. When the driver has other insurance, the car’s insurance will be primary

Renting a car can get expensive. No matter how good of a deal you get, the rental rate, taxes, and fees will quickly add up.

If you have friends or family visiting you for the holidays or another special event, one way to help them enjoy their trip without breaking the bank is to offer to let them borrow your car while they are in town.

Letting visitors borrow your car is a very nice gesture, but it can also be a dangerous one.

Before you decide that it’s best for your aunt to cancel her rental car reservation for the upcoming week, you should make sure that you’re not putting yourself at risk by lending your car out. You may want to add your aunt to your policy just to be sure she’s covered.

Before you do this, here’s what you need to know about temporary drivers.

If you want to go ahead and start comparing auto insurance rates, try our FREE online quote tool! Enter your ZIP code above to get started!

Who is covered to drive your vehicle?


Auto insurance contracts are very specific. If you read through the booklet that comes with your policy documents, you might be surprised at just how specific it is.

One of the first topics that the contract covers is who is insured to drive your covered vehicle. Typically to be covered, you need to be listed as an insured driver.

Some people who need to be listed include:

  • Your spouse living in your household
  • Family members who live in the home and are licensed
  • People you’re not related to who drive your car, don’t have other insurance and live in your home
  • Any driver who has regular access to your vehicle and doesn’t have insurance of their own

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What happens when you allow someone to borrow your car?

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If you go by the motto “better safe than sorry,” your whole mission in life is to avoid catastrophe by staying prepared. People who believe in being financially prepared for disaster usually see the value in products like auto and home insurance.

If you fall into the forward-thinking demographic, your first action might be to add a driver when they are borrowing your car for only a day.

What you might not know is that you don’t always have to add a driver just because they will be taking your car for a spin for a day or a week.

What does it mean when someone is a permissive user?

There’s a chance that anyone who’s visiting you or helping you out for a week or so will be covered under your policy without making any changes.

If coverage is provided, it’s because of the permissive user provision in the policy.

Permissive user provision says that someone who is given permission to drive your car will be covered just like the drivers you pay for.

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Are there restrictions in the permissive user provision?

If an auto insurance company classified everyone as a permissive user, they’d never collect the money that they need to cover the risk. Not having the money to cover you is why you can’t just say that everyone is a permissive user and get away with it to save money.

If someone legitimately is covered as a permissive user, they will meet these requirements:

  • The permissive user can’t be a permanent resident in your home
  • The driver must have a valid license issued in the United States
  • The driver must be experienced and have at least three years of licensing history (most companies)
  • The driver must not have serious moving violations on their record
  • The permissive user must not have regular access to the covered vehicle

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Drivers With Their Own Insurance Don’t Need to Be Added

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