IN PLAIN ENGLISH

How does permissive use car insurance work?

In car insurance, permissive use refers to the ability of other drivers — unlisted on your insurance policy — to drive your vehicle. Permissive use auto insurance allows infrequent use of a vehicle — fewer than 12 times per year — by a driver (a permissive user) who does not live at the same address as the policyholder. For example, a family friend or neighbor would qualify under permissive use, but an immediate family member who lives with you would not.

Permissive use can get complicated. Let’s explore some frequently asked questions on who exactly is allowed to drive a car while staying within the boundaries of your insurance policy.


Is permissive use standard on all car insurance policies?

Permissive use is a fairly standard feature of most auto insurance policies written by large insurance companies. If you are insured by a smaller or non-standard company, double-check to confirm your policy's permissive use standards.

Another scenario in which permissive use may not apply is a named driver policy. A named driver policy is a relatively rare policy type that covers only those drivers explicitly listed on the policy.


Does all my insurance coverage apply to the permitted driver?

If someone not listed on your policy is involved in an incident while driving your car, all your insurance coverage should transfer over to cover the costs. Your bodily injury, liability, even comprehensive and collision should apply in the event of a claim. We say should because some smaller non-standard companies may only transfer your bodily injury and property damage liability in this situation.

Check your policy details and insurance carrier for specifics.


Permissive use vs. adding a new driver to your policy?

The general rule of permissive use is a driver can use your car up to 12 times per year. Each time a driver enters and leaves the car counts as a separate "trip" under permissive use regulations. If you’re going to be taking a road trip or they will be using your vehicle for a few weeks, consider adding them to your policy. This will increase your premium temporarily, but you can always remove them later.

Speak to an agent at your insurer for details.


What are the limits to permissive use on auto insurance?

All limitations and rules that normally apply to your policy will apply in a permissive use case. For example, if you let another person borrow your vehicle to drive for Lyft and you don't have a rideshare endorsement, you could be penalized.


How much does permissive use cost?

Permissive use is usually an all-or-nothing policy feature. The price is built into your premium.

Learn more about how much car insurance usually costs.


Which insurance companies offer permissive use?

Most of the big companies — Allstate, AAA, GEICO, and USAA — allow for permissive use, but you should always confirm your policy details. If you have a named driver policy with any of those companies, you will not have permissive use. You should contact your insurer to verify you have permissive use prior to letting a friend borrow your car.


For more information related to car insurance, see our additional articles below:

Ava Lynch LinkedIn

Ava worked in the insurance industry as an agent for four-plus years. Currently providing insights and analysis as one of The Zebra’s resident property insurance experts, Ava has been featured in publications such as U.S. News & World Report, GasBuddy, and Yahoo! Finance.

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Recent Questions:

Risk of assets for separate car insurance policy

Although you have separate car insurance policies, your mutual assets would still be at risk because you are married. Your husband's car insurance would be the one to pay for the damages but if the damages exceed his policy limits for liability then your husband would be responsible for the remaining damages.

Do I need to get a non-owners policy if I'm borrowing my mom's vehicle?

Hello, If you live with your parents and drive their vehicle more than once a month, they will need to add you to their policy. If you do not live with them and/or you do not drive the vehicle more than once a month, you would be covered under what's known as permissive use (provided you have your parent's permission to drive their car).

Am I still covered on my ex-husband's car if he took my name off the insurance?

Unfortunately, if you are not listed on the policy and drive the car on a regular basis, it's not likely that you would be covered. Permissive use usually extends to those who drive someone else's car, but that is usually capped at no more than one use per month.

Can I drive my mom's car to Canada?

There's a lot of things to unpack here. There's the general concerns: Are you covered to drive your mom's car?