There are a lot of factors that can impact your auto insurance rates, including the people who live in your house and drive your car. To assist with assessing risk, your insurer will likely request information about the primary and secondary drivers of the car. “Secondary drivers” refers to all household members as well as anyone who lives in a different household but may drive your car at any point.

Who are your household members, why do they need to be listed on your auto insurance policy, and how will this impact your auto insurance rates? Let’s take a look.


Who is considered a “household member”?

Car insurance carriers could ask you to list anyone who lives in your home, has a valid license, and has access to your vehicle as additional drivers on your policy. Some states may require “household members” to be listed on your policy whether they drive your vehicle or not. States and insurance carriers may have different requirements. For example, in Massachusetts typically if the other household members have their own insurance they can be listed as “deferred operators.” Not every carrier will allow you to do so, and some carriers may charge additional premium to have a driver listed as deferred.[1]


What happens when someone else gets into an accident in your vehicle?

Auto insurance usually follows the car, rather than the driver. In most cases if someone who isn’t listed on your policy gets into an at-fault accident in your vehicle, your insurance would cover this. If the driver has their own insurance and your insurance doesn’t cover all the damage that’s when their insurance might step in.

With permissive use (you permitted someone to use your vehicle) vs. non-permissive use (you did not give someone permission to use your vehicle) things can get a bit more complicated. It is best to discuss your situation with your insurance advisor.


Driver exclusions

Some insurance companies will let you exclude certain household members if the state allows it. Let’s say you have a household member who has a history of causing car accidents. If you never let them drive your car, you may be able to exclude them from your auto policy. However, you’ll still need to tell your insurance company that person lives with you, but then you can make a specific exclusion for them.

Keep in mind that if you do this, coverage will not be extended to them if they drive your car, even if it’s an emergency.


Will adding household members to my auto policy affect my insurance premiums?

Even if the primary driver of the car has a perfect driving record, adding some of your household members to your policy could cause your insurance premium to increase.  Seniors (70+), for example, have higher crash death rates than drivers ages 35-54. Male drivers tend to have higher crash death rates as well.[2] Teenagers are another high-risk group, with teens from ages 16-19 being nearly 3 times as likely as a driver who is 20 or older being involved in a fatal crash. [3] With this increased risk often comes an increase in your auto policy premium. (Note that these rates may not be forever. As your teen ages and shows responsibility behind the wheel with no accidents, your premiums could start to decrease once again.)

In addition, secondary drivers who have a poor driving record with multiple accidents, a DUI, or other driving red flags will also make them a greater insurance risk. That risk will likely reflect in your premiums. In some cases, you may want to deny them permission to drive your car to reduce your personal risk and exclude them from your policy, so your rates don’t increase. Remember that even if they have their own auto insurance, their policy may not cover them while driving your car.

There are a lot of factors that go into determining your auto insurance premiums and each situation is unique, so chat with a Licensed Advisor to make sure you’re getting the most extensive coverage at a price that’s right for you and your family.


Can insurance companies ask about the people living in my home?

Yes. Insurance companies can ask for all relevant information regarding your risk level, which includes the people living in your household and driving your car. If you fail to disclose household members, they may cancel your auto coverage or deny claims. 


What if my other household members have different car insurance?

You should disclose all your household members to your insurance company, even if they have separate auto policies. You should also tell your insurer if those household members have their own auto policies and which insurance company their policies are with.

Insurance companies like to see that any potential secondary drivers on your policy have their own auto insurance because it shows responsibility and minimizes risk.  


How to add household members to your auto policy

When looking for auto insurance, chat with your Licensed Advisor to make sure all your household members are included. Your InsuraMatch Advisor will compare rates and find discounts to help you pay a great price for your coverage. Chat with a Licensed Insurance Advisor to make sure you, your car, and your friends and family are protected while driving.