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Named driver car insurance

What is a named driver and can I add an additional driver to my car insurance?

published: 17 November 2022
Read time: 5 minutes

Adding an experienced driver to your car insurance policy can help you get cheaper cover, but it might not be useful for everyone

Has your son or daughter recently received their driving licence? Are you lending your vehicle to a friend who is visiting from abroad? There are many reasons for which you may want to take out named driver insurance. This policy will allow you to share your car with much-needed peace of mind.

Browse through MoneySuperMarket’s detailed guide to discover all the ins and outs of this useful cover.

What is a named driver?

A named driver is the person who is insured to drive a vehicle in which another person does most of the driving. When driving that vehicle, the named driver will have the same level of cover as the main driver. They may also be referred to as an additional driver.

You’ll be allowed to include up to three additional drivers on your policy. You’ll be asked to give some details about the drivers you add and you’ll need to pick the ‘main driver’.

Young man driving a car

What is the main driver on a car insurance policy?

The main driver on a car insurance policy is the person who’ll be doing most of the driving. This won’t always be the policyholder, but it will be a big factor in the size of the premiums you’ll end up paying.

Who is named driver car insurance for?

Named driver car insurance is generally useful for younger drivers who already face high premiums because of their age and the associated risk factor. It can help reduce the cost of cover because:

  • Young drivers can add an experienced driver to their policy, such as a parent or guardian. Insurers will assume the young driver will spend less time behind the wheel as they’re sharing the vehicle with someone else.

  • Young drivers can also be added to their parent or guardian’s policy, which can be cheaper than taking out their own car insurance. However, the overall premiums for the main driver (the parent or guardian) are likely to increase, as they’re adding a higher-risk driver to their policy.

Can I drive someone else’s car without being a named driver?

Some car insurance policies will give you cover for driving someone else’s car without having to be a named driver. However, you’re likely to only get third-party insurance. For more comprehensive cover, you’ll need to be a named driver.

How can I add named driver insurance to my existing car policy and what are the rules?

For existing car insurance policies you can either phone up your insurer to ask them to add a named driver to your policy or, if you have an online account, you may simply be able to sign in and make the change online. 

For new policies or car insurance renewals, you will be asked at the quotation stage whether there are any additional drivers you want to include on your policy and you can simply add your named drivers there.  

When adding a named driver you will be asked for details such as: 

  • The driver’s full name

  • Their date of birth

  • Their main occupation

  • Their driving licence number or licence type

  • Any motoring convictions they have had in the past five years

  • Any accidents or claims they have made in the past five years

Note that an insurer could refuse to cover an additional driver if, for example, they believe they are too inexperienced. 

If your named driver has their own car insurance policy they will also need to let their insurer know that they are now a named driver on another car. 

Can I add visitor to my policy temporarily?

If you have friends visiting from elsewhere in the UK or from abroad and want to lend them your vehicle, named driver insurance may not be the cheapest option. In this case, taking out short-term car insurance may come as the most affordable solution. This is because it is available as a stand-alone option, meaning you will not need to amend your own policy.

Based on your insurer, short-term car insurance can last from 1 hour to up to 84 days.

What happens to my no-claims bonus if I add a named driver?

If you don’t make a claim on your car insurance, your insurer will give you what is known as a car insurance no claim bonus. This is a discount on your future premiums, cutting down the cost you will pay for your insurance when you renew your policy.

Adding a named driver to your car insurance policy won’t change the way your no-claims bonus is accumulated. However, it does mean your bonus is likely to be affected if the other driver has an accident and makes a claim, as it will still be made on your policy.

Your named driver also probably won’t be able to build up their own no-claims bonus, which might put young drivers off being added to their parent or guardian’s policy. They might still be able to earn a discount on their premiums if they stick with the same insurer when they eventually take out their own policy. This will be based on their driving history as a named driver on your policy.

What is fronting in car insurance?

Fronting is when you declare another driver as the main driver on a policy, even though they’ll be doing less driving, in order to get cheaper premiums. It is considered to be car insurance fraud.

Sometimes, parents and guardians will take out a car insurance policy in their own name and let their child use the car. This is generally to avoid paying higher premiums associated with younger drivers. This is illegal if you don’t have the right policy to allow any driver, and your policy could be invalidated. You could even be prosecuted for insurance fraud.

What level of cover can I get for a named driver?

When you add a named driver to your car insurance policy, you’ll both be covered to the same degree depending on your choice between:

  • Third party: Third-party cover is the minimum legal requirement if you’re driving a car. It’ll cover both the main and any other named drivers for damage done to a third-party driver, their vehicle, or their property. It won’t cover the main or named drivers for damage done to their own vehicle.

  • Third party, fire, and theft: Third party, fire, and theft cover adds protection for your own vehicle if it’s damaged as a result of fire, explosions, or theft.

  • Fully comprehensiveFully comprehensive cover includes everything mentioned above. But you’ll also be covered if your own vehicle is damaged as a result of anything else outlined on your policy. It’s usually the cheapest option.

What extras can I add to a car insurance policy with a named driver?

You and all other drivers named on your policy will be covered to the same level. This includes any of the following extra policies you might choose to add:

  • Breakdown coverBreakdown cover insures you for the cost of calling out roadside assistance if you break down while driving.

  • Courtesy car: A courtesy car policy gives you access to a replacement vehicle while yours is being repaired.

  • Motor legal protectionMotor legal protection pays out for legal expenses related to car insurance claims.

  • Personal accident coverPersonal accident cover offers a pay-out if you or any of the named drivers are seriously injured or killed in a road accident.

  • Driving abroad: Policies for driving abroad insure you for taking your car overseas. They are perfect for group road trips.

  • Multi-car cover: A multi-car policy insures you to drive other cars. But you should check with your insurer to see how this works with named divers on your policy.

  • Contents cover: Contents cover for your car means you’ll get a pay-out if items in your car are stolen or damage. But if anything is stolen after being left in plain sight, you won’t be able to claim.

  • Key cover: With key cover, you’ll be able to claim if yours or another named driver’s keys are lost or stolen.

  • Wrong fuel cover: This pays for any repair costs associated with you or a named driver accidentally topping up the car with the wrong fuel.

How much does car insurance cost with a named driver?

Adding a named driver often makes the premiums cheaper. This is because, since the car is shared, it’s assumed you’ll spend less time driving. This reduces the probability of you having an accident and making a claim, which is reflected in cheaper car insurance quotes.

However, it will depend on the driver you’re adding to your policy:

  1. If you’re an experienced driver and you add a younger driver to your car insurance, they will save money on premiums. However, yours will go up as inexperienced motorists are statistically more likely to be involved in an accident.

  2. If you’re a young driver and are adding an older or more experienced motorist to your policy, your premiums will fall. In fact, this indicates to insurers that you won’t be doing all of the driving.

Read our guide for more tips on getting cheaper car insurance.

Can my insurer refuse an additional driver?

Yes, some insurers may automatically refuse to add a named driver to your insurance. This could be if the additional driver is a learner, a young motorist, or somebody with a poor driving history.

The insurer’s decision may also be influenced by the type of car. In fact, insurance companies may deem certain vehicles too valuable to be driven by a young motorist.

Sometimes, insurers may find other ways to deter you from adding a named driver to your car insurance. They may not refuse to include them from the outset, but they could charge a high premium that you might not be willing to pay.

Compare cheap car insurance quotes

The easiest way to find cheaper car insurance for named drivers is to compare quotes with MoneySuperMarket. All you need to do is tell us a little about yourself and your driving history, as well as the same for any other drivers you’re adding to the policy. Just choose ‘yes’ when asked if you would like to add any additional drivers.

You’ll also be asked to give a few details about the car you want to insure. Once we’ve got the necessary info, we’ll put together a list of quotes tailored to your requirements. You’ll be able to browse and compare policies based on the overall annual and monthly cost of the policy, the level of protection you’ll get, and any extras included in your cover.

When you’ve found the right policy, just click through to the provider to finalise your purchase. As with any insurance product, you should remember that the cheapest policy isn’t always the best for your circumstances. We recommend balancing cost with the level of cover you get to ensure you have the right protection at the best price.

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