Car Insurance for a Shared Vehicle: What to Know

If you're sharing driving duties, it's important to iron out the auto insurance details.

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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.

Splitting car insurance — table of contents:
  1. Can you share car insurance?
  2. Who insures a shared vehicle?
  3. Issues with shared car insurance
  4. Additional resources and related articles

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.

Who insures a shared vehicle?

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

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.

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- 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.

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.

Find an insurance policy that suits your situation today.

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Ava Lynch photo
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.

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.