Which Drivers Should Be Listed on Your Auto Policy?
Very often we get the questions, "Can I let Sally, my neighbor, drive my car if hers breaks down?" or "Do I have to list Johnny, my son, on my policy if he hardly ever drives the car?" The answer is yes, and no.
The policy language states that all licensed members of a household or any driver that may have regular access to a vehicle needs to be listed as an operator on the policy. The next question is to properly assign the driver as the Principal Operator of the vehicle that they are going to drive the most. Even if it is an inexperienced operator that is the Principal Operator of the third car and possibly cheaper for Mom or Dad to be listed as the Principal Operator, the inexperienced operator needs to be rated on that vehicle. The bottom line is that in the event of a loss, if the company does determine that the vehicle has been not rated properly, they could deny paying a claim. At that point, you have been paying premium for nothing. It becomes difficult to say that little Janie is not the Principal Operator of the third car when it has a High School parking sticker on it and she drives it to school every day.
If a driver in your household has their own policy they should still be listed on your policy and can then be "deferred" to their own policy. This will ensure that the operator's possible surcharges only be charged on their own policy, not on two policies. Drivers can also be "excluded" from any or all autos; this should only be done when the operator will not be covered for any optional insurance coverage. Also, payments under Parts 3 and 4 may also be limited to those amounts that the company is required by the state to sell.
Let's go back to Sally; she is your neighbor that needs to run to the grocery store in your car because hers is in the shop. Yes, she can drive your car and will be covered without being listed as an operator on your policy. However, your other neighbor, Jim, takes your car every Wednesday to Home Depot and every Saturday to the dump. He now has "regular access" to your vehicle. Jim should be listed as an operator on your policy. However, he can be "deferred" to his own if he does have his own policy. If he does not, then he needs to be listed and then rated on it as well.
If you have any questions whatsoever about if somebody should be listed, please feel free to give us a call and we would be more than happy to help you determine the best option. Keep in mind, none of us particularly like paying our insurance premiums but we do NOT want to pay premiums only to have the company deny paying a claim because a policy was not correctly rated... Where is the savings there?