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Get driving insurance on a parents’ car

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Written by  Rebecca Goodman
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Reviewed by  Saarrah Mussa
Updated: 22 Aug 2023

If you’re driving your parent’s car, you’ll need to make sure you have the right kind of insurance in place. You can be added as a named driver to your parent’s policy whether you’re a learner or a new driver.

How to get insured on a parent's car  

To be added to your parent’s car insurance policy as a named driver, you will need to contact your current provider. To be a named driver, you need to make sure you’re only occasionally using the car and you’re not the main driver. This is important and you can only be a named driver if the main driver is using the car most of the time.   

If you are added as a named driver but are using the car more than your parent, this is fronting which is illegal. If an insurer finds out you are fronting, they can cancel the insurance policy and it’ll be much harder to get a policy in the future.  

There are other things to consider too when adding a named driver to a policy, such as the fact that your parent’s premiums will probably rise because the risk of the car being in an accident will increase. However, this extra cost probably will still be cheaper than paying for two separate insurance policies.   

In this guide we look at everything you need to know about adding a named driver, including the legal requirements and the pros and cons of being a named driver.  

How to become a named driver on a parent’s car insurance policy  

A named driver is someone who occasionally uses another person’s car. This could be for weekend trips to the supermarket or for commuting. But the person who is the named driver cannot use the car for the majority of the time, the main driver must do this.  

Adding a named driver to a policy is sometimes known as second driver insurance and in some cases it can make car insurance cheaper.   

Young drivers typically pay the highest premiums so if they are added to their parent’s policy, instead of taking out their own, this could lower their costs. This is because the young driver won’t be in the car for the majority of the time and when they’re not in it, the parent will be using it who will usually be seen as a lower risk by an insurer. This brings down the overall risk of the car being in an accident which then reduces the premiums.   

To add a named driver your parent will need to contact their insurance company. Most policies will allow a driver to add a few named drivers to a policy. There may be a charge for doing this and the overall cost of the insurance could rise.   

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a named driver:  

Pros: 

  • Premium: the cost of your premium should be cheaper as a named driver 

  • Flexibility: as long as your parent isn’t using the car, it’s yours to drive which can be a lot more flexible than having to hire a car when you need to drive. 

  • Car: you’ll save money if you’re using your parent’s car and not buying your own 

Cons:  

  • Fronting: you must follow the rules to avoid fronting which is illegal 

  • Cost: if the parent has a bad driving record the overall price may not be cheaper for the child 

  • Insurance: if a named driver has an accident it will impact the main driver’s policy 

  • No-claims bonus: as a named driver you usually can’t build up a no-claims bonus 

Get your own new driver insurance   

There are some disadvantages of being a named driver and it won’t be the best option in all cases. Here are some instances where getting your own insurance policy would be a better choice:  

  • Cost: if you’re not saving money as a named driver your own policy could be cheaper 

  • Car: being a named driver means you can only use the car with your parent’s permission, and not for the majority of the time 

  • Use: if you need to spend more time in the car then your parent does, you will need to be the main driver with your own policy.   

Would short-term car insurance be a better choice?  

Short-term car insurance is an alternative to named driver insurance. It works by the driver taking out insurance for a temporary period which can be anything from an hour to a few weeks or months.   

When you take out short-term insurance you choose how long you need it for and it can be a good option if you need to use another car for a short period of time, such as during the holidays.  

The best way to choose is by comparing quotes to see which insurance option is cheapest for you. When comparing quotes also make sure you read the policy details so you find one that works best for your driving needs.  

What cover do I need?  

If your parent has given you permission to be added to their policy as a named driver, it’s important to make sure you both have the right kind of cover.   

The named driver will usually have the same level of cover as the parent. That means if your parent has fully comprehensive cover you will have the same level as a named driver. You are then covered for the same things as they are, such as liability coverage.   

However, any extra benefits they have, such as collision coverage or breakdown cover, may not be extended to the named driver. As all insurers work differently, you’ll need to speak to the insurer for the car to find out exactly what cover both you and your parent have.  

What happens if a named driver has an accident? 

If the named driver has an accident in the car, the main driver – your parent – will need to make the insurance claim. The accident will affect their car insurance policy and could push up the price. It will also impact their no-claims bonus.  

This is why it’s important to consider all the pros and cons of being a named driver before you and your parent go ahead with it.   

What is car insurance fronting?  

If someone is a named driver but they are actually using a car as a main driver and drive for the majority of the time, this is known as fronting. It’s an insurance term and it is illegal.   

There are serious consequences if a driver is found to be fronting. The insurance policy could be invalidated, and this will make it harder to take out a policy in the future and could push up your costs significantly.   

An insurance claim could also be rejected, leaving the driver to pay out for any repairs to the car or any other vehicles or properties that are damaged or for costs towards medical or compensation bills if other people are hurt.    

Can I build a no claims discount if I’m a named driver?  

Named drivers usually aren’t able to build up a no-claims discount. It’s usually only the main driver of the car that can benefit from this discount. They are also the person who will lose their no-claims bonus if a claim is made on the policy, even if it was the named driver who was in the car at the time.  

The rules vary here though, so it’s always worth checking with an insurer in advance to see how they handle the no-claims bonus.  

Why is insurance so expensive for young drivers? 

While many things impact the cost of your car insurance, from your job and address to the type of car you drive and its age, the driver’s age is also a big factor.   

Young drivers are seen as the group most at risk of having a car accident by insurers. There are a few reasons for this such as the fact that they have no built up any driving experience.   

This is why if being a named driver on a parent’s policy can make things cheaper, it could be a good option for a young driver.  

What’s the cheapest way to get insured on a parent’s car?  

Being a named driver will be the best option for some drivers, especially those who only need to use a parent’s car occasionally, such as when they’re back from university in the holidays. But for those that are home for a longer period, short-term insurance could be a cheaper option.   

Insurers look at lots of different things when pricing policies so the best way to find out which will be your cheapest option is to compare quotes.   

What if you only have a provisional driving licence   

If you haven’t passed your test yet you will need a provisional or learner insurance policy. You can still be added as a named driver to your parent’s policy, take out short term or temporary insurance, or take out your own provisional policy. You can find out the costs involved by comparing quotes.   

Compare cheap insurance now   

Shopping around for a new insurance policy is the best way to make sure you find the right policy for you at the best possible price. It’s quick and easy to compare car insurance policies with us.  

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