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How to add a named driver to your car insurance policy

Does adding a named driver make your car insurance cheaper? In some cases, it could. Could the potential cost savings work for you?

Two drivers belting up before driving

 

What is named driver car insurance?

Named driver car insurance is when you add another driver to your policy. A named driver can drive your car any time of day - 24/7 - and has the same level of cover as you.

But they’re not the main driver. The policyholder should always be the main driver.

When you add a named driver to your policy, you’ll need to give your insurer some basic details about that person.

Because you’re changing your policy sometimes you insurer might add an admin charge – but not always.

 

Will adding a named driver save me money?

A named driver may be older and more experienced behind the wheel than yourself. So, your costs could go down if you add them to your policy.

That’s because insurers have the stats to show that driver age and on-the-road experience plays an important part in the likelihood of a claim.

It goes the other way, too. An older, more experienced driver might add a named driver to their policy. If that driver looks like a higher risk to an insurer, the policyholder’s costs could rise.

While younger drivers often have faster reflexes and better eyesight, more experienced drivers tend to have more natural caution and experience. Mile-per-mile, they tend to be safer.

A named driver on your policy has a bit of overlap with Driving Other Cars (DOC) cover. DOC protection could come as standard on a lot of comprehensive car insurance policies. For others, you might need to add it on.

The big difference is that DOC cover is limited to third-party protection only. Named driver cover, in contrast, offers the driver far more protection and peace of mind in the event of an incident.

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How to add a named driver to your existing car insurance policy

Give your insurer a quick call or contact them online. Often, it’s easier online as you can usually make changes to your policy 24/7.

Perhaps check their T&Cs too. Sometimes you’ll be charged extra for small changes to your policy.

You shouldn't be asked for huge amounts of info about the other named driver but do have their basics to hand.

So that means:

  • Their full name

  • Their date of birth

  • Their main job

  • Their marital status

  • Their driving licence number and licence type

  • Details of any motoring convictions in the past five years

  • Any accidents or claims in the past five years.

A named driver doesn’t have to live at the same address of the policy holder. 

 

Does being a named driver affect my own insurance?

It shouldn’t. If you’re involved in an accident that was your fault, you’d usually claim on the policyholder’s policy.

They’d likely see their insurance costs rise as their no-claims bonus (NCB) could be hit.

In other words, if you drive a friend’s car as a named driver and have an accident, the policy is tied to the car, not the person.

If you’re concerned about this risk and are the policyholder, have a think about protecting your NCB. Especially if you’ve built it up carefully over several years.

It’s not normally possible to build up a no-claims bonus history as a named driver. Some insurance companies do let named drivers build their own NCB.

But they’d usually only be able to transfer it to their own policy with the same insurer.

 

How much does adding a driver to my car insurance policy cost?

Insurers generally charge when you make changes to your policy. You can call them or make changes to your car insurance policy online via your policy document.

It might be worth planning this a bit in advance. You might want to make several amends to your policy simultaneously.

If so, most insurers would charge one admin fee in total. Make two changes separately and you could be charged twice. So, think ahead.

Sometimes though it’s just better to talk direct. Especially if you just want a better feel of a situation or scope out the potential impact on your policy.

 

Does adding a named driver affect my no-claims bonus?

Adding a driver could impact your NCB in the long run. This is one of the issues around named driver cover you should be aware of.

If you build up your NCB over several years, a single accident from a riskier driver could wipe that out in no time.

When you add a named driver to your policy, they enjoy all the benefits of that policy. If it’s a comprehensive policy, they get fully comp protection too.

This often includes breakdown cover and a courtesy car, if needed.

But the risk of that named driver is passed to you – to your policy.

If a named driver’s gets into trouble on the road, your no-claims bonus is at risk.

Even when a 100% responsible named driver is behind the wheel, none of us can control the behaviour of other road users. We can manage the risk around us only up to a reasonable limit.

 

Getting temporary cover as an alternative to named drivers

Is temporary car insurance a good substitute to adding a named driver to your policy?

It depends. The beauty of this cover is that it places the risk on the person paying for the cover.

If someone puts a named driver on their policy, they absorb the risk of that new driver.

Temporary cover re-directs that risk back to the person buying the cover.

So temporary car insurance could be worth considering, like:

  • Those once-or-twice a year road trips where shared driving between friends can help

  • Borrowing a friend’s car if yours is being repaired or is off the road

  • Extra cover for a child back from university who needs to get around.

You can buy cover lasting from one hour to a month or anything in between. It’s super-flexible, timewise. It also goes under the name of short-term car insurance.

Temporary cover though could be harder to get if you’ve driving convictions or points on your licence. You might keep your costs down by insuring less expensive and less powerful cars.

Either way, never accept the first quote you get. Always shop around.

 

What is fronting?

Fronting is fraud. Typically, it’s an older person putting themselves as the policyholder and main driver. They then add a named driver, often younger, who does the bulk of the driving.

It could be their child or maybe a friend. They might live at the other end of the country. Or just 10 miles away. They have the advantages of using a car without the full insurance cost.

Because fronting is deliberate misrepresentation it’s a criminal offence. Bending the truth to an insurer may leave both registered owner and the other driver without cover if discovered.

The registered owner’s policy can be totally invalidated, and the younger driver could be treated as completely uninsured in any claim.

This means they could be fined, prosecuted, and even banned from driving.

Not great. And it means even higher insurance costs in future for the younger driver.

If you think you know someone under pressure in this situation, why not:

 

Use telematics technology

Suggest a black box telematics device to the younger driver. This GPS-enabled device sends information back to the insurer on how well they drive.

Responsible behaviour is often rewarded with lower premiums.

 

Add a more experienced driver

Look at putting the parent’s or guardian’s name put on a younger driver’s policy.

This is legal and could cut the younger driver’s premium. It also lets them build up their own driving history. They should be using the car from time to time.

 

Consider multi-car insurance

If a younger person is living with their parents, they might find it cheaper for the family to take a multi-car insurance deal.

 

How does an insurer find out if a vehicle is being fronted?

Insurance teams have anti-fraud teams to uncover fronting – or any type of fraud. 

In some cases, an insurer may make cross-checks. Such as

  • Looking at where petrol or diesel is bought by credit card

  • Checking out where a vehicle’s serviced.

  • Getting photos of where the vehicle’s parked.

 

The Association of British Insurers, which represents UK insurance players, says:

““Advanced analytical software helps insurers proactively identify cross-industry patterns and alert the industry to fraudulent networks."

Some anti-fraud teams will listen to any suspicious recorded phone calls. Or cross-reference documents connected to a policy.

Either way, the cost of fraud is paid by every car insurance policy holder.

That’s because the insurance industry sets prices to manage the risk of all our behaviour. Insurers must plan and cope with future claims. 

Last year the ABI, said 107,000 fraudulent insurance claims worth £1.2 billion were uncovered in 2019.

But car insurance fraud was the most common – up 6% in number to 58,000 though their value, at £605 million, fell slightly.

The ABI says if anyone doesn’t disclose or misrepresents information at the car insurance application stage, it’s always considered insurance fraud.