Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Aug 3, 2021

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Key takeaways...

  • Your insurance company wants to know who lives in your home and who has regular access to your vehicle
  • When you’re the one who primarily drives your car, your rates will be strongly dependent on your driving record
  • If someone lives in your home and occasionally drives, they will still have an impact on your insurance premiums
  • Not all drivers must be listed on your policy; drivers who don’t live in your home don’t need to be listed or rated
  • Before someone visits your home or moves in for a brief period, see if they will be covered to drive temporarily

Insurance premiums change from vehicle to vehicle. If you buy a luxury car, you’re expecting to pay more to insure it than someone who owns a value-priced compact.

Obviously, how much a car costs to repair will have an effect on the cost of protection on the vehicle, but the insurer also wants to know who’s going to be driving the car from day to day.

Your reputation as a driver is critical in the eyes of the insurer. If you’ve been licensed for several years, it only makes sense for a company to look back at your driving history to see if there are any negative trends.

A driver who’s constantly getting cited for speeding and running red lights will pay more than another who has been violation-free for years. If you have other drivers in your home temporarily, let’s see how your insurer will handle it.

Looking to add a driver to your policy and you need better auto insurance? Enter your ZIP code above and compare at least three to four policies today!

What Do You Need to Understand about Your Auto Insurance Contract?


Auto insurance policies are owned by the registered owner of the vehicle. The name on the title could be different than the name on the registration, but the names on both the tags and the insurance policy need to match.

Even though you’re the named insured and policy owner, you might not be the only one who has to be listed as a driver. Some auto insurers lay this out more clearly than others in the application process.

You must read your auto insurance contract so that you know all of the requirements you have to comply with while you’re a policyholder. Then you can decide if you need a temporary policy or if a non-owner policy secured by your friend or family member.

Some consumers rely on their agents to tell them all of the rules, but it’s a lot of information to cover, and you’re given a packet to read through after you submit your application. At the end of the day, you must read through this packet to be sure you’re not withholding valuable information that’s used to calculate premiums. Unfortunately, even if your agent forgets to tell you something, you’ll still be held to the terms.

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Who are you required to list on your auto insurance policy?


One of the sticky subject areas that you need to comprehend as you’re listing drivers is who you’re expected to name on your policy and why.

Under the standard personal auto policy, you’ll see that you’re supposed to tell the company about anyone who’s licensed and resides in the home permanently.

If you live with someone who is over the age of 14, you’re going to have to tell the insurance company. It doesn’t matter if the person is a roommate who doesn’t drive your car or your partner who does, you have to tell an agent either way.

The agent will then decide if the household member needs to be rated as a driver or just listed as a resident.

What is a rated driver vs. a listed driver?

There are two different ways that residents in your home can be classified when they are on your declarations page. The first option is to put your household member as a rated driver.

A rated driver drives your car and, therefore, has an effect on your rates. They won’t be taken off of the policy until they move out, are excluded, or they have their own insurance.

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The next option is to name the resident in your home as a listed driver. A listed household member is someone who has been disclosed by the policyholder and who might not impact your rates.

The listed resident won’t impact your rates because they don’t yet hold a license, or they have a license but they have their own car and their own policy.

Anyone who has their own coverage is called a deferred operator.

If there’s a second driver in the home, how are they classified?

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You can list and rate multiple drivers on your policy. If you’re in a full house, it’s possible to list five or even 10 people if you need to.

As far as your premiums are concerned, only two of the drivers on your policy will really impact the rates: the primary driver and the occasional driver.

The primary driver on the policy directly affects a car’s premiums. If the driver has violations or any at-fault accidents, it’s going to affect how much most coverage options cost. It could also affect whether or not you can get discounts.

Even if your roommate is borrowing your car while theirs is being repaired, you should check with both your insurance policies to make sure you know who would cover any accident. If they don’t have a policy, you may want to look into temporary coverage.

The primary driver doesn’t have to be the named insured on the contract.

The second driver who occasionally operates the car is called the occasional operator. When you’re an occasional driver, your record can still impact the policy.

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Do you need to add a driver who is going to be visiting you?


Everyone has their own situation. Not everything with insurance is so cut and dry.

Sometimes, you’ll have visitors who are staying with you for days or weeks. If you want those temporary visitors to drive your car, you don’t automatically have to list them on your policy. If it’s more than a few days or even if they’ll be driving your car regularly, you may want to ask them to get short-term car insurance.

If your visitor won’t be legally classified as a resident in your home and they aren’t named as an owner of the car on the title, they will be covered as a permissive user under many policy terms.

In most events, drivers who have permission to drive your car are covered for a short period of time. That time might be a week or 30 days, but it doesn’t mean they can be visiting for the entire term.

Is It Fair to Require the Other Driver to Carry Insurance?

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It’s only natural to worry about your coverage and how a temporary member of your home is going to be covered. If you don’t want to run into problems, you can require the second driver to purchase their own non-owner’s liability policy.

Non-owner’s liability ensures that they have liability coverage when they are borrowing your car.

This temporary coverage protects your car and takes the stress off you. It can also be extremely affordable for your visitor. This is especially true if they are a high-risk driver with multiple tickets or accidents.

If you add a second driver to your contract temporarily, you might have trouble deleting them later on. Some companies want proof the driver moved out or has insurance somewhere else before they will remove them. Unfortunately, many people only find this out when they’re trying to remove the visitor.

If you’re having trouble changing your policy, get insurance quotes online. You can make the changes to your policy structure and even save money in the process. You can get quotes with and without short-term policies. If you’re not happy with your current policy at any time, you can change. You don’t have to wait until the expiration date of your six-month policy. The average rates with competitors may be lower than you think.

Enter your ZIP code below to compare several quotes online. Find better auto insurance rates today!