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Additional driver insurance

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Last updated: 20/04/2022 | Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

If you want to add a person to an existing car insurance policy, you will have to get Additional Driver Cover. The policyholder, or main driver, and the additional driver (also known as a named driver) are both listed as legally allowed to drive the car.

But why choose additional driver cover instead of getting your own policy? The phrase comes up a lot if you’re looking for cheaper car insurance, so let’s take a look at the nitty-gritty of what it’s really all about.

In This Guide:

Why should I get additional driver insurance?

Depending on who is being added to a policy, additional driver cover can be a massive money saver.

It’s is a popular option with high-risk or inexperienced drivers who may struggle financially to take out their own policy – people in these categories include young adults, the very elderly, those who have recently passed their driving test and those who have a history of claims or penalty points.

It’s not just useful for high-risk drivers though; additional driver cover is also a smooth, easy and more flexible process for couples and families who share their car, or those who don’t drive so frequently.

Can an additional driver make my car insurance cheaper?

Absolutely! If a high-risk driver adds a low-risk driver to their policy, to an insurance company it suggests that the high-risk driver is actually not behind the wheel all the time: the risk is shared. That, in turn, means a decreased likelihood of them needing to pay out on a claim, as the high-risk driver is spending less time on the road by sharing use of the vehicle with the experienced user.

You can be added as an additional driver to a policy at any time, whether that’s when taking out a new contract or in the middle of your payment plan. If it’s the latter, just be aware it’s likely you’ll be charged an administration fee.

In general, additional driver cover is widely appreciated to be a great way to save money on your car insurance so always bear this in mind when you compare deals.

Can additional driver cover increase my premium?

Yes, it can. Working in reverse to the above, if you’re an experienced driver adding a high-risk driver to your policy, you’ll see an increase in your premium. In most cases, however, the policyholder is looking for additional driver cover in order to decrease the premiums for the high-risk named driver should they take out their own policy, so shouldn’t feel the pinch themselves (unless generosity is in the air!).

Can I be a second driver on anyone’s policy?

Don’t just assume that you can be added as an additional driver to anyone’s policy with no questions asked. Insurance companies will still vet you for risk just as if you were taking out your own policy. They’ll want to know your relationship to the policy holder, age, years of driving experience, driving history, medical conditions and a whole heap of other information.

If the additional driver is extremely high-risk, the insurance company could refuse cover altogether.

The good news is that, in almost all cases, the additional driver will have the same level of cover as the policy holder but when you do compare car insurance deals it’s always best to double-check.

What to be aware of as an additional driver

The deterrent for many people in being an additional driver on a policy is that, unlike main drivers, usually, you can’t build up a no claims bonus. We say usually as some providers make an exception to this rule so it’s definitely worth looking into when seeking additional driver cover, as you may land on the golden ticket of insurance policies.

On the other hand, if you’re the policyholder but the additional driver has an accident whilst driving your vehicle, then because most additional drivers can’t build up their no claims bonus it’s actually your own bonus that’s at risk.

For an experienced driver, adding a high-risk driver will increase their annual premium, but remember this won’t affect your own quote at a later time if you decide to remove that person from your policy: insurance providers know that your premium increased because of the additional driver. 

As an alternative, you can always look into a temporary car insurance policy. For example, if you’re a student who only needs to drive a vehicle during the holidays, then it may not be cost-effective to be added as an additional driver; instead take out a separate, temporary insurance policy that won’t affect the main driver’s premium. 

What's the difference between the main driver and additional driver?

It’s really important you don’t confuse these two terms.

Many people may be persuaded to name an additional driver as the main driver on a policy in order to reduce their premium. However, if what’s on the policy isn’t representative of how the car is used then it could constitute fraud.

Naming a high-risk driver on a policy when they’re actually the main driver is known as fronting, and it’s illegal. If you’re worried about this, for example if both the main and additional drivers use the car for similar amounts of time, and you want to stay on the right side of the law, find out how often a named driver can drive their car.

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