Car insurance can be expensive, and certain things like having an accident in the past, having a prior motoring conviction, or even just being young, can drive the costs up.
By adding yourself as a named driver to the insurance policy of someone more experienced, or by adding them to yours, you can reduce costs significantly.
What is named driver insurance?
Named driver insurance, sometimes known as additional driver insurance, is the additional cover that can be extended to other drivers on your car insurance policy. You, as the main driver, and any named drivers will all be legally allowed to drive your car.
Adding a named driver to policy can reduce your premiums, as well as making it cheaper for the named drivers to be insured, especially if they’re a young driver. Some insurers will allow you to add up to three named drivers to your policy.
How does named driver insurance work?
If you are the primary user or owner of your vehicle, i.e. the main driver, and you want to let someone else drive it from time to time, then you will need to add them to your insurance policy as a named driver in order to stay within the boundaries of the law.
The main driver should always be the person who does most of the driving. Adding somebody else as the main driver even though they don’t drive the car often, is known as fronting, and can invalidate your policy.
If you would like to add a named driver to your existing car insurance policy, get in touch with your provider. They will ask some details about the new driver and their driving history, and there may sometimes be a small charge to add a named driver. However, it can often result in cheaper premiums.
What level of cover will the named driver get?
Once a person is added to an insurance policy as a named driver, they will experience the same level of cover as the main driver, as specified in the policy documentation. As with all car insurance policies, the three levels of cover to choose from are:
- Third party: the minimum level of cover required by law. Covers any damage caused to another driver, their car or their property.
- Third party, fire and theft: same level of protection as third party but also covers the theft of your own vehicle or if it’s damaged by fire.
- Fully comprehensive: covers the cost of damage to third parties as well as to your own vehicle and is often the cheapest level of cover.
Even some of the cheapest car insurance policies will offer the holder third party cover when driving someone else’s car, but it is important to remember that this will only be third party cover and you will not be covered against damage to the vehicle you are driving. If you want to be fully covered driving another person’s car, you’ll need to become a named driver on their policy.
Will adding a named driver make my insurance cheaper?
Insurance premiums are calculated based on the risk of you, the driver, being involved in any kind of claim-worthy incident. As young drivers are statistically more likely to be involved in a road accident and make a claim on their car insurance than older drivers, they often have to pay much higher premiums.
But adding an experienced driver as a named driver can result in lower premiums for the younger driver. This is because adding a named driver means you are reducing the amount of time you spend behind the wheel, and you are therefore reducing the amount of time during which an accident could occur.
As a general rule then, adding a named driver will reduce the cost of your premiums if you’re young. If you’re an older and more experienced driver, however, adding an inexperienced driver such as your child as a named driver will likely increase your premiums.
Who will benefit from named driver insurance?
As mentioned before, students and young people are faced with often prohibitively high car insurance premiums due to the fact that they’re statistically more likely to make a claim. Therefore, many young drivers opt to be insured on their parents’ car as a named driver to benefit from cheaper car insurance. However, this will likely result in higher premiums for the main driver (their parents).
If you’re a young driver and you want to be the main driver of your car but still find cheap car insurance, then you should consider a telematics or black box insurance policy.
What happens to my no claims bonus?
You should also be aware that as a named driver, you are unlikely to be able to build up a no claims discount over time – something that can prove invaluable on the hunt for low cost insurance.
Occasionally your insurer will allow you to build up a no claims discount but it will come with conditions like forcing you to stay with the insurer in order to capitalise on it – which can prove to be a false economy in the long run if cheaper premiums are available elsewhere.
The final thing to be aware of when it comes to named driver insurance is to avoid what is known as ‘fronting’.
This is when you are on the insurance policy for the vehicle in question as a named driver when in fact you are the main driver.
If you have some kind of accident, try to claim, and are found out to be fronting, not only will your claim be made invalid but you will find any car insurance you take out in the future far more expensive as a result. You could also receive six points on your licence which, for younger drivers, equals an instant ban.
So as long as you avoid fronting and take note of the potential effects on your no claims discount (or lack thereof), then named driver insurance could be just what you need to get yourself on the road at a low cost.
What extras can I get?
As named drivers receive the same level of cover as the main driver, they will also be covered by any specific extras that are added to the policy. Some extras that you may choose to add to your policy depending on your circumstances include:
- Breakdown cover: covers the cost of emergency repairs should your vehicle break down on the road.
- Courtesy car: provides you with a temporary replacement car should your own vehicle need repairs.
- Legal protection: covers the costs of any legal expenses should you make a claim, or a claim is made against you.
- Key cover: covers the cost of replacing lost or stolen car keys.
- Driving abroad: offers the same coverage overseas as you get in the UK for a set period of time.
How else can I get cheaper car insurance?
While adding an experienced named driver can reduce car insurance premiums for young drivers, there are as always, many other things you should consider in order to get cheaper car insurance:
- Drive the right car: certain models and makes of car can be much more expensive to insure than other vehicles. Every type of car is sorted into one of 50 car insurance groups, based on size, speed and power among other factors. The lower insurance group, the lower your premiums will be.
- Keep your car safe: proving to your insurer that your car is safe and less likely to be stolen can result in lower premiums. You can install an industry-approved alarm or immobiliser, or park it overnight in a secured garage, for cheaper car insurance.
- Increase your excess: if you choose to pay a higher voluntary excess – the agreed amount you pay towards any claim – then you will be offered cheaper premiums. However, always keep your voluntary excess limit affordable should you need to make a claim.
- Get fully comprehensive cover: even though they offer greater protection than third-party car insurance policies, fully comprehensive cover is often cheaper. This is because high-risk drivers are statistically more likely to be on third-party policies.
- Get a black box policy: also known as telematics insurance, black box car insurance works by installing a device in your car that records your driving habits. The safer you prove to be on the roads, the lower your premiums will be.
- Compare car insurance: as always, comparing car insurance is one of the quickest and easiest ways to save money on your car insurance. You can compare car insurance policies with named drivers now with Money Expert.