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

Full Bio →

Written by

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.

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Sep 22, 2020

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right car insurance coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Car insurance comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top car insurance companies. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Here's what you need to know...

  • A policy just not just give any person who decides to take your car for a spin the permissive user stats
  • The coverage will extend exactly like it does to a rental
  • Insurance can be extremely complicated without even mentioning a complicated scenario

Car insurance can be a very tricky subject, especially when you are trying to determine when it will and will not cover your assets or your vehicle.

Instead, you need to learn when your coverage follows you and when it follows the car so that you can put the coverage that you pay for to use in every possible scenario.

It is easy to assume that you can only really put your insurance to use when you are the one using the car, but that is not the case.

Start comparing car insurance rates now! Enter your zip code above to get started!

Table of Contents

Who is classified as a covered driver under your personal auto policy?

When you browse through your personal auto policy booklet, you will see a lot of jumbled information, definitions, terms and conditions that are all written in a very technical language.

While the definitions are designed to help you make sense of the gibberish written throughout each section of the policy, the way everything is structured can make it difficult to comprehend.

Under the definitions, you will find a section that describes who is and who is not a covered driver.

Here are some of the different drivers that should be covered under your policy:

  • Named insured who is licensed to drive
  • Spouse or co-owner of the vehicle
  • Household family members who are licensed to drive
  • Unrelated drivers in the household who do not have their own insurance
  • Teens who only have a permit and drive with an adult
  • Permissive users who do not have regular access to the car (unlisted)

Compare Car Insurance Companies

Compare quotes from the top car insurance companies and save

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Compare quotes from the top car insurance companies and save

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

 How are permissive users covered by your insurance?

It is possible for your car insurance policy to cover a driver other than those listed on the policy. In the insurance industry, these drivers have been assigned the name ‘permissive user’.

A policy just not just give any person who decides to take your car for a spin the permissive user status.

Instead, there are criteria that must be met.

The first condition that must be met is that the driver must have been given consent by the named insured to drive the car, hence the term “permissive.”

Here are the other criteria that must be met:

  • Did the driver live in the household at the time of loss? (must be listed)
  • Is the driver licensed? (unlicensed drivers are not covered under this status)
  • Did the driver deviate from the terms given when given express permissive?
  • Did the driver have other insurance or another owned vehicle?
  • Is the driver related in any way to the named insured?
  • Is the vehicle being borrowed for business use? (this is not covered)
  • Is the driver excluded from the policy? (loss may not be covered)

How will liability coverage extend to permissive users?

While some believe that liability will only follow the driver of the car when they are borrowing other cars, this is a myth that is not always true.

If the person borrowing your car does not have their own cover, it is possible that the victim in the accident could sue you as the registered owner of the car.

This coverage is afforded not to protect the driver, but instead to protect you.

Since failing to extend coverage to your friends that do not technically need to be listed can lead to financially damaging claims, the company will consider paying liability claims.

It makes the situation much easier when the person who is borrowing your car does have their own liability insurance because it will pay first and then your insurance will pay second.

How will your physical damage insurance pay when a permissive user is driving?

When a permissive user is operating your car, you want to be sure that any damage claims that you present will be paid following a thorough investigation.

Physical damage cover, which includes comprehensive and collision, is one of the most common types of coverage.

In this scenario, if you carry physical damage coverage on the car the coverage will still protect your asset for a collision as long as the driver was given permission.

If the driver is borrowing your car as a substitute because their car is in the shop, it is possible that the car could be covered for physical damage under your friend’s insurance even if you do not have damage coverage.

The coverage will extend exactly like it does to a rental.

Compare quotes from the top car insurance companies and save

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What if the driver did not have permission?

If you did not give the driver permission, it is possible the instance could be classified as a theft and your comprehensive cover will apply.

The company may require that you report the car as a theft with the police, so be sure you are forthcoming when you file your claim.

Insurance can be extremely complicated without even mentioning a complicated scenario.

Start comparing car insurance rates now! Enter your zip code below to get started!