Why you can trust The Zebra

The Zebra partners with some of the companies we write about. However, our content is written and reviewed by an independent team of editors and licensed insurance agents, and never influenced by our partnerships. Learn more about how we make money, review our editorial standards, reference our data methodology, or view a list of our partners.

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.

Buy Car Insurance Online and Start Saving!

or
Location pin icon
glyph-shield-checkmark No junk mail. No spam calls. Free quotes.
Recent Questions:

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?
Aug 4, 2018 Dayton, OH


Is my friend covered if they borrow my vehicle?

Generally speaking, a person who you give permission to drive your vehicle should be covered by the policy on the vehicle. It's called "permissive use" and is normally allowed with most companies.
Nov 23, 2017 Austin, TX

Can my son borrow my vehicle to use on the weekends

This can be tricky. Since he doesn't live in your residence full-time, he no longer needs to be listed on the policy.
Jul 28, 2018 Smithtown, NY

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.

  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.

  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.

Ava Lynch
Ava LynchSenior Analyst

Ava worked in the insurance industry as an agent for four-plus years.

Ava currently provides insights and data analysis as one of The Zebra's property and casualty insurance experts. Her work has been featured in publications such as U.S. News & World Report, GasBuddy, Car and Driver, and Yahoo! Finance.