Does adding drivers to my auto insurance policy expose them to additional liability?
Questions regarding adding drivers to your auto insurance policy
Recently, I had a client whose adult, nonresident sons use her vehicle to drive on the weekends. They like her car because it is a classic Mustang. Our advice was that they be listed drivers on her car insurance policy. They have regular access to the vehicle, and they drive the vehicles.
She came back with this question. By adding them as drivers, could they be brought into a lawsuit if she had an accident?
Adding someone as a driver is not the same as adding them as an insured
A driver has no additional coverage on the policy. Adding the drivers makes the insurance company aware of who is accessing and driving the vehicle on a regular basis.
Many insurance companies are now limiting the liability coverage and physical damage coverage on vehicles when they are involved in a loss and the driver was not disclosed. Although, there is still permissive use, most of the definitions of permissive use are being restricted if the driver is an undisclosed household member, or someone that has regular access to the vehicle.
Therefore, if the mother adds her sons to her policy as a driver and the mother has an accident. The sons would not be sued, because they were not at fault, and they did not own the vehicle.
If the sons are driving the vehicle and they have an accident, the mother could be sued as well as the son.
The mother as the owner of the vehicle and the son as the driver of the vehicle.
Whose car insurance would cover?
In that case the mother’s policy would be primary. And then the son could apply to his personal auto policy as excess to protect him as the driver.
Whenever you allow someone to drive your car, you are adding liability to you as the owner of that vehicle if they have an accident.
But adding someone as a driver to your policy does not automatically give them rights as an insured unless they meet the definition of an insured on the policy. Therefore, just because I am a driver on a policy does not mean that I would be more susceptible to liability if there was a claim that I was not driving.
Remember, companies are cracking down on undisclosed drivers and they are limiting coverage under the owner’s policy if someone is driving, was in the household or had regular access to the vehicle and they are not disclosed. In most policies if you have a vehicle that you are driving that you have regular access to or is owned by a member of your household then your auto policy, as the driver, of that vehicle will not provide you the excess liability coverage.
Contact your insurance agent if you have a vehicle that you regularly have access to, such as:
- Your elderly mother’s car that you use her car to take her to the doctor’s office.
- A company provided, work truck.
- A girl/boy friends’ vehicle that you drive every Friday night when you go out
This nondisclosed driver issue is bankrupting the insurance industry and the number one cause of claims. Policies have been amended to restrict the coverage.
Contract Huff Insurance today to discuss your situation and if should be adding drivers to your policy.
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