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What is a named driver policy?

If you have a named driver car insurance policy, the only drivers covered in 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.


Named driver policy vs. standard auto insurance

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.

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Named driver auto insurance policies: pros

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 it can cost less. Named driver auto policy rates vary based on the driving history of all named drivers on the policy.

 

Named driver auto insurance policy: cons

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.

 


Frequently asked questions

Below are frequently asked questions regarding named driver policies and named driver exclusions.

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How many additional drivers can be added to a named driver policy?

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.

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Are named drivers insured to drive other cars?

There are two potential scenarios to cover here.

  1. If the second car is not on your policy (such as a friend's). If your personal policy is a named driver policy but a friend’s policy (whose vehicle you want to drive) is not, you are eligible to drive their vehicle under the permissive use clause.
  2. If the other vehicle you want to drive is on your named driver policy. Unless there’s specific language in your policy that states otherwise, you should be able to drive any car that is covered on the policy as long as you’re a named driver.

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. 

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Can you still file a claim if a non-named driver gets into an accident?

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.

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RECENT QUESTIONS

Can my ex-husband insure my car in his name or on his policy?

As long as your ex-husband is going to drive the vehicle and park it as his residence, he can insure your car under his name and policy. Because you own it, you would need to be listed as an additional interest in the policy.
Jul 7, 2019 Baton Rouge, LA

If I buy an RV, can I insure my adult children and their spouses to drive it? They do not live in my home.

Yes, you can list drivers on your policy that do not share your address. For drivers who will be behind the wheel frequently, I would list them by name on your RV insurance policy.
Dec 27, 2020 Ventura, CA

I have a car in my name but my sister drives it. What do we do about insurance?

If your sister is the policyholder, you will have to have her call her insurance company to access the policy information. Since the car is registered in your name, the insurance either needs to be in your name or you need to be listed on her policy as an additional interest.
Jul 18, 2019 Riverbank, CA

Non-named driver got into an accident, are they covered?

If you have a Named Driver policy, that means the people listed as drivers on the policy are the only ones covered. Since the driver is not listed on the policy, they are not covered to drive the car and the insurance company can deny the claim.
Jan 30, 2019 New Braunfels, TX

Ava Lynch photo
Ava LynchSenior Analyst

Ava joined The Zebra as a writer and licensed insurance agent in 2016. She now works as a senior analyst, providing insights and data analysis as one of The Zebra's property and casualty insurance experts.

Ava’s insurance career began as an agent with Farmers Insurance. Over the years, she has become an authority in all things property and casualty insurance, helping her to write informative guides for shoppers.

Ava’s work has been cited in publications such as InvestopediaThe BalanceMoney.comLiberty Mutual, U.S. News & World Report, GasBuddy, Car and Driver and Yahoo! Finance.

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.