Who is allowed to drive a vehicle under a named driver car insurance policy?
Why you can trust The Zebra
If you have a named driver car insurance policy, the only drivers covered the event of a crash are those specifically listed on the auto policy. If you allow your friend — unlisted on the named driver policy — to borrow your vehicle and they get into an accident, you would have no coverage. Let’s explore the pros and cons of carrying named driver auto insurance coverage and why you might want to think of adding other drivers when comparing quotes.
The key difference between a named driver policy and a standard car insurance policy is permissive use. Permissive use, while not always standard, is a common feature of car insurance policies. Permissive use provides coverage to an additional driver if they are given infrequent permission to use your vehicle. While the definition of infrequent may vary, it typically pertains to a driver who uses the vehicle less than 12 times a year.
Named insured policies do not include permissive use clauses. Even if an accident occurred the first time an excluded driver used the vehicle, you would be left without coverage.
This is the only major difference between a named driver policy and standard coverage. State law requires all drivers to carry at least the minimum liability insurance. Bodily injury and property damage coverage still apply.
Insurers like these policies because they remain aware of all of the risk presented to them. The insurance company has on file the age and driving history of each covered driver, and can very accurately price the policy to suit the policyholder's profile.
Customers might opt for a named insured insurance policy because they can cost less. Named driver auto policy rates vary based on the driving history of all named drivers on the policy.
The major con of named driver insurance is pretty simple: only the listed drivers are eligible for insurance coverage. Even if you’re in the car with them — in the event of an emergency, for instance — your insurance company can deny coverage. Many states require very clear language regarding this coverage.
Texas, for example, requires insurance agents to present the guidelines for named driver policies orally and in writing to a prospective client, and the contract must be signed by both parties.
Below are frequently asked questions regarding named driver policies and named driver exclusions.
This is a state — and insurance company — specific question. Insurers will often limit the number of vehicles, rather than drivers, on a policy. The number of vehicles allowed is usually limited to four. This limit may or may not apply to the number of named drivers on a policy.
There are two potential scenarios to cover here.
Another important term to keep in mind when shopping for a named driver policy is "rated driver." A rated driver is the driver whose profile is being used to price the premium for that particular vehicle.
Outside of seeking legal action, you might be out of luck. Your insurance company will argue you were aware of the limitations of your named driver policy ahead of time and thus they are not responsible. Because of instances like this, many states are passing legislation to clarify the restrictions of a named driver policy.
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.