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Who insures a shared vehicle?

 

If you share driving duties with a friend, roommate, or spouse, it can be tricky to determine who insures the vehicle. As a general tenet of insurance, you need to maintain an insurable interest in the vehicle in order to have a financial stake in it. If the item — the car, in this case — is shared, it creates a gray area. Let's break down the ins and outs of car insurance for a shared personal vehicle.

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Can you share car insurance?

 

Yes — you can share a car insurance policy. If you share driving responsibilities with another driver, you may be required to share car insurance. Most car insurance companies will require a driver to be listed on the policy if:

  • They use the vehicle frequently (more than 12 times a year)
  • Live in the primary residence listed on the policy*
  • Are a spouse of the primary named insured*

*Exceptions to this rule exist if the individuals do not drive at all, or if they are insured on another policy. If this is the case, those drivers can be excluded from the policy. They won't be allowed to drive the vehicle — and coverage can be denied if they do drive the car and end up in an accident. Even still, your insurance company could require excluded drivers listed on the policy for clarity.

Drivers who do not live at your address but use your vehicle often can be listed as non-resident drivers. While regulations on non-resident drivers may vary by insurance company, it is usually defined as someone who drives a vehicle more than 12 times a year.

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Who insures a shared vehicle?

 

Review the specific circumstances below to see which one most closely matches your situation:

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One individual owns the vehicle outright

Person A holds the title and registration in their name while sharing regular driving duties with Person B. In this example, Person A would insure the vehicle and Person B would be listed as a covered driver. If the vehicle were totaled, all claims payouts would be made to Person A, who owns the vehicle.

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Title and registration are shared

This may depend on the insurance company's specifications. This issue concerns how claims checks are paid. For specific circumstances in which ownership is either entirely shared or undefined, speak to an insurance agent to learn about state-specific or company-specific stipulations.


Potential issues with sharing car insurance

One issue with sharing car insurance occurs if the vehicle is totaled or severely damaged and a claims check needs to be paid out. If you own the vehicle outright — meaning you are not leasing or financing it — the claims check will be paid to the primary insured. If you’re sharing the vehicle, it can be tricky when it comes to dividing the claims payout.

It’s a good idea to speak to an agent at your insurance company. Because car insurance is regulated at the state level, your state’s laws can help clear up any uncertainty.

If you're sharing a vehicle and there is a claim, dividing the payout can be tricky.

Find an insurance policy that suits your situation today.

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Additional resources and related articles

For the most part, sharing car insurance policies is pretty straightforward. The big issue comes from who the primary named insured should be. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re the registered owner, you’re the primary named insured. If ownership is shared, it can be tricky. In this circumstance, speak with an agent at your insurance company.

RECENT QUESTIONS

If my girlfriend and I get auto insurance together (we live together) does it matter who the main owner of the policy is?

You will both need to be listed on the insurance policy to be eligible drivers. I would put the main policyholder as whoever will be the titleholder and registering the vehicle.
Dec 22, 2019 New York City, NY

Can my boyfriend remove me from policy without my knowledge?

Yes. He can remove you from the policy without your consent or informing you.
Dec 28, 2018 Washington, DC

Will my girlfriend's bad driving record follow me to another car insurance company?

Sorry to hear about the situation. It is possible for claims to follow you elsewhere.
Nov 18, 2019 Cameron Park, CA

I'm an international student who will be sharing a car with my girlfriend. How do I get insurance and does it cover both of us?

Not all insurance companies will be willing to cover drivers with non-U.S. licenses, but it's certainly not impossible to find insurance as a foreign driver.
Nov 3, 2019 Savannah, GA

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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.