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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Here's what you need to know...

  • Your car insurance covers you, your family members, and other listed drivers when they are operating your covered autos
  • Insurance will also follow listed drivers when they are operating rented vehicles or temporary substitutes
  • If you plan on letting someone borrow your vehicle, it’s important to check and see if that individual will be covered under your policy’s permissive user provision
  • The permissive user provision states that your insurer will pay for claims that are made against your policy when someone that you’ve granted permission to drive is behind the wheel
  • If the individual isn’t licensed, lives in your home, or is excluded from your policy, your insurer won’t extend coverage to the driver

If you look at your insurance policy, it can be more than just a little confusing to understand who is covered to drive your car. Your declarations page will list who is listed on the policy as a rated driver, but that doesn’t mean that only primary and secondary operators are safe to drive your car.

You never know when someone that you’re close to will need to borrow your car. If you’re a generous car owner, you might be the first person your loved one turns to.

Whether they need to run errands in your car for just a few hours, or they need your car for the entire weekend, you need to be sure that your loved one is covered to drive before you offer your car.

Start comparison shopping today by entering your zip code into our FREE tool above!

Who is covered to drive your car?

Your Personal Auto Policy booklet will lay out who is and isn’t covered to drive your car. The policy language is very clear to ensure that everyone who buys a plan through the carrier understands how they are protected.

While every company has their own policy booklet, standard policies typically follow the same rules in the personal market.

If you’re not sure where to find information in your insuring agreement, look under the definitions section of your contract. Here is where the company defines who is insured.

By definition, parties who are covered by the Liability, Medical Payments, and Uninsured Motorist sections of the contract include:

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Most Companies Will Pay for Claims Presented by Family Members

Every company has their own rules concerning who’s covered to drive your car.

While some terms and conditions in your policy are up for interpretation, it’s common for companies to cover anyone who’s living in your home while they are driving your car — especially if the driver meets the definition of family member.

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Are you required to list all of the drivers in your home?

When you apply for insurance, the company will ask you if any other licensed drivers live in your household who don’t have insurance.

If you answer yes, the carrier will ask you to provide their licensing information so they can be listed as a primary or secondary driver on the policy.

Rated drivers can affect your premiums, but companies expect their policyholders to disclose anyone that’s present in the home that could operate the vehicle.

If you purposefully don’t list a household member who doesn’t have their own insurance, the company is justified in denying your claim.

What if the household member has their own insurance?

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Companies won’t change your premiums if you list a driver in the home who already has insurance.

Since the driver has a company that they can file a claim against following a claim, they will be classified as a deferred operator. Your insurance will still be primary if a claimant files a lawsuit against you.

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How are people who don’t live in the home covered under my insurance?

If you have friends and family members who live outside of your home, you can lend them your car as long as they meet the permissive user classification.

Standard auto policies include permissive user provisions that allow you to be a generous car owner. As long as you give the driver permission to take your car, the driver will be covered.

Who qualifies as a permissive user?

You aren’t free to lend your car out to just anyone. If you want to be sure that coverage will extend, you need to know who isn’t eligible as a permissive user. Here are some scenarios where someone isn’t covered to drive your car:

  • The driver has a suspended or revoked license
  • The driver lives in your home and isn’t listed as a driver
  • The individual has serious moving violations on their record
  • The driver is under 25 and has regular access to your cars

You should always arm yourself with loads of information before you lend your car out. Ask your insurer if the driver is covered before taking the chance.

If you’re not happy with the answer to your question, shop around for car insurance using our FREE online rate comparison tools and find a better policy today. Enter your zip code below to get started!