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If you're sharing driving duties, it's important to iron out the auto insurance details.
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.
Yes — you can share a car insurance policy. If you and another driver share driving responsibilities, you may be required to share car insurance. Most car insurance companies will require a driver to be listed on the policy if:
*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.
Review the specific circumstances below to see which one most closely matches your situation:
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.
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.
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.
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.