Does Car Insurance Cover the Car or the Driver?


Car insurance sounds pretty straightforward, but as you look further into the details as your policy you will discover it is actually pretty nuanced. Insurance follows the car, right? Whoever is driving it is covered, like if you give a friend permission to drive. Perhaps, it is your insurance policy so the coverage follows you in whichever car you’re driving at the time. Maybe in some cases the insurance follows the driver. Which is it? Is it both? Let’s find out right now!


Table of Contents

  • Does Car Insurance Cover the Car or the Driver?
  • Adding Other Drivers
  • The Rules and Exceptions


Does Car Insurance Cover the Car or the Driver?

Is the Car Insured or the Driver?

The benefits, coverage, and protections provided in standard auto insurance policies are limited to vehicles listed in the policy itself. This means the policy insures the car and you as the driver of that car when you drive your vehicle. Contrary to popular belief, car insurance typically follows the car — not the driver. Giving someone permission to use your car or a family member who lives in your household driving your car means they are covered in most cases.

Read the language in your policy carefully. Your insurance may also provide protections when driving someone else’s vehicle, like a rental car, or limit protections when lending your car. Not all insurance companies and car insurance policies are the same!


Adding Other Drivers

Most insurance companies require any household members of driving age who are licensed to be named on the policy. There is a realistic expectation that they could drive your vehicle. If they have an accident while driving your car, your policy would cover it until the cost of the damages exceed your policy limits

There may also be regular drivers outside of your household who need to be named in the policy. For instance, you may loan your car to your cousin every Saturday to drive to work. Car insurance typically lets other drivers use the insured vehicle as long as it’s not on a regular basis. Infrequent drivers do not need to be on the policy. For example, if your best friend visits from out of town and you loan her your car for the afternoon and an accident occurs, this event would generally be covered (but don’t be surprised when your rates go up because of it).


The Rules and Exceptions

Does Car Insurance Cover the Car or the Driver?

You may want to list someone as an “excluded driver,” meaning someone who is specifically excluded from coverage regardless of whether or not they live with you, have permission to drive your car, etc. Excluded drivers could be left off your car insurance policy due to high risk, like multiple accidents, a DUI conviction, or their age. 


Let’s say your brother who lives with you was arrested for a DUI last year. You don’t want his poor driving history to increase your insurance rates just because he lives with you. In this case, you won’t be lending him your vehicle and don’t want the fact that he lives with you to matter. He could be an excluded driver.


What about a teen driver? If you have a teen driver at home who will use your vehicle, they will likely need to be added to your policy. Doing so will likely increase the cost of your monthly premium, but collision coverage is even more important with a teen behind the wheel!


For any additional questions on liability insurance, coverage limits, or anything else, reach out to Pronto Insurance.

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