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How to insure a temporary driver on your car

A car key electronically opening a carWhat’s the best way of insuring someone else to drive your car?

Should you add them to your car insurance policy on a short-term basis or getting them to take out their own temporary car insurance?

If they are a family member and likely to get behind the wheel on a regular basis, you might consider adding them as a named driver to your current policy.

But is this the best approach if someone you know just wants to borrow your vehicle for a weekend away or a holiday?

In either case, it’s likely to be worth considering some form of temporary car insurance.

Your insurance options

Adding a riskier named driver to any insurance policy will push premiums up.

Insurers regard under-25s as the riskiest group, so it may make sense to take a student son or daughter off your annual policy if they are not going to be around much.

When they return at Christmas, Easter or next summer, however, you can still allow them to drive by taking out temporary cover.

This is likely to save you a lot of cash, and there are two ways you can do this.

The first is simply by adding your child as a named driver for a fixed period.

Chances are, this will be far cheaper than keeping them on the policy for the whole year.

All you need to do is call your insurer shortly before you want to add the person to your policy and provide their details, such as age, occupation and claims history.

Your provider will then give you a price for the extra cover, based on the risk of the new driver, and the length of time you need the insurance for.

This may also include a small administration fee of, say, £20 or £30.

Specialist policies

The other alternative is to take out a separate temporary car insurance policy for the new driver.

Such policies typically last for up to a month and, as with adding a named driver, the amount charged will depend on personal factors such as age and claims history, as well as the make and model of vehicle and where it is being kept.

Do bear in mind that some providers will not offer temporary car cover to drivers under the age of 21.

So how do you choose between these two approaches?

Get the right price

The cost is likely to be the biggest consideration but the cheapest option really depends on the insurers and the individual circumstances of the drivers involved.

The best bet is to get quotes for adding a driver, and for a standalone policy.

And don’t forget to check the price for adding a driver for the whole year. In some cases, this might not cost you a penny extra.

Vanessa Chance from insurer LV= points out: "It's worth noting that depending on who the named driver is and their age, driving history and so on, the premium may not increase a great deal – if at all – even if they are added for a full year."

But this is more likely to be the case when adding low-risk – such as older, more experienced – drivers.

Don’t forget take any administration fees into consideration.

Remember that if you plan to add someone to your policy on several separate occasions over the course of a year, paying successive admin fees could mean it is better value to keep them on the policy permanently.

What happens after an accident?

A standalone temporary insurance policy means that the new driver – and their insurer – is responsible for any accidents or damage they cause.

Chance says that, if a named driver had an accident in your car, it could push up your insurance costs in future as well as lose your no-claims discount.

"If the accident was their fault it could increase the premium," she says.

However, if your car is being driven by someone who has their own temporary cover in place, your own future insurance costs will be unaffected by any mishaps they experience, and they will have to cover any excess payments out of their own pockets.

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Chris Torney

Chris Torney

Chris is the former personal finance editor at the Daily Express. He's been a journalist for more than 10 years and contributes to a wide range of finance and business titles.Read more from Chris

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