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Adding a named driver: secondary car insurance

Adding another driver to your car insurance policy is easy to do and could help to bring down the cost of your car insurance premiums. Read on to find out all you need to know about adding a named driver or any driver to your car insurance.
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What is secondary car insurance?

Secondary car insurance is a policy you may take out while driving other cars. It can also be used to describe the insurance you may need if you drive someone's car and you are a named driver.

Who is secondary car insurance for?

Secondary car insurance can benefit anyone who would like another person to have access to their vehicle.

But it’s particularly useful for students and young drivers who are often faced with prohibitively high car insurance costs because they are statistically more likely to make a claim.

For the same reasons, it can also be beneficial for those with prior motoring convictions.

What’s the difference between “any driver” and “named driver” car insurance?

Any driver car insurance allows anyone to drive your car whenever they like, with your permission. 

This type of cover can be useful if family members or friends regularly need to use your car, but it’s typically more expensive than named driver car insurance. 

Any driver car insurance is usually best suited for business purposes, for example driving schools or fleet vehicles, as it removes the hassle of sorting out insurance for every new member of staff or learner driver. 

Named driver insurance is when you are named as a driver on someone else's policy so you are able to drive their car occasionally and will be insured in the event of an accident or if the vehicle is damaged. 

Note that a named driver is different to the main driver as the main driver is the person who will be doing most of the driving.

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Is secondary car insurance cheaper?

The cost of secondary car insurance depends on lots of different factors.

If it's named driver insurance, the cost for a young or new driver who has added a named driver to their car insurance policy can be lowered – providing the person you’re adding has a good driving record, with few claims and convictions.

However, if it's any driver car insurance this is typically more costly because the insurer has no way of knowing who is driving the vehicle at any given time. 

How much does adding a named driver to my car insurance cost?

It’s usually cheaper to add a named driver to your policy when you are renewing your car insurance. If you’re adding a named driver during the term of your existing policy, this change is known as a mid-term adjustment (MTA) and there may be an admin fee to pay, often between £15 and £30. 

Keep in mind that insurers must notify the Motor Insurance Database of any changes so that if the police check you are insured you won’t be stopped thanks to out-of-date information. Insurers have to do this to strict timescales so it’s important to request an MTA immediately if you want to add a named driver.

Any changes to your premium cost will then depend on factors such as:

  • The driver’s age

  • Their marital and employment status

  • Their relationship to the policyholder

  • Whether they drive any other vehicles – a discount may be given if the additional driver uses another car

  • What type of licence they have and how long they have had it

  • Information about disabilities and other conditions that have been reported to the DVLA

  • Any claims or convictions.

What other benefits are there to adding a named driver?

As well as potentially saving you money on your car insurance premiums, there are a number of other benefits to adding a named driver, such as: 

  • You’ll be able to share the driving on long journeys

  • You’ll only have one car at home that everyone can use – this means you will save money on insurance, tax and maintenance costs 

  • It can be useful in the event of an emergency – ie someone else would be able to drive your car

  • It can be beneficial if your son/daughter is at university and wants to use your car when they are home during the holidays.

How do I add a named driver to my car insurance?

For existing car insurance policies you can either phone up your insurer to ask them to add a named driver to your policy or, if you have an online account, you may be able to make the change online.

For car insurance renewals, you will be asked at the quotation stage whether there are any additional drivers you want to include on your policy and you can simply add your named drivers there.

When adding a named driver you will be asked for details such as: 

  • The driver’s full name

  • Their date of birth

  • Their main occupation

  • Their driving licence number or licence type

  • Any motoring convictions they have had in the past five years

  • Any accidents or claims they have made in the past five years.

Note that an insurer could refuse to cover an additional driver if, for example, they believe they are too inexperienced. 

If your named driver has their own car insurance policy they will also need to let their insurer know that they are now a named driver on another car.

What cover does a named driver have?

One of the benefits of named driver car insurance is that the named driver will have the same level of cover as the main driver. In other words, if you have fully comprehensive cover, so will the named driver. 

This means that if the named driver causes an accident, your vehicle – as well as anyone else involved in the accident – would be protected. Any injuries suffered would also be covered. 

Alternatively, the other two levels of cover you and your named driver may have are:

  • Third party - this is the minimum level of cover required by law and pays for damage or injuries caused to another driver, their vehicle or their property

  • Third party, fire and theft - this provides the same cover as third party, but also covers the costs of repairing or replacing your own car if it’s damaged in a fire or stolen.

What extras can I get with named driver insurance?

You and any named drivers on your insurance policy will have the same level of cover, including any of the following optional extras: 

  • Breakdown cover - insures you for the cost of calling out roadside assistance and recovery to a garage if your car breaks down 

  • Courtesy car - provides you with a replacement vehicle while yours is being repaired

  • Legal protection - if you’re involved in an accident that is not your fault, this covers the legal costs and expenses related to the claim

  • Personal accident cover - pays out if you or any named drivers are seriously injured or killed in an accident

  • Key cover - pays out in the event your keys are lost or stolen

  • Driving abroad - provides cover for taking your car abroad – note that you’ll have the same cover abroad as you have in the UK

  • Wrong fuel cover - pays for the cost of repairs if you or a named driver accidentally fills up the car with the wrong fuel.

How often can a named driver use my car?

The main driver on the policy must do the majority of the driving, with the named driver only using the car from time to time. 

If, for example, a parent adds their son or daughter to their car insurance as a named driver but, in fact, their son or daughter does most of the driving, they would be committing an illegal practice known as fronting. 

If you’re caught fronting, your policy is likely to be cancelled by your insurer and if you make a claim it could well be rejected. You can also face a fine of up to £5,000 along with six penalty points.

Are there any restrictions for any driver car insurance?

Some insurers will only offer any driver car insurance policies to motorists over the age of 25, while others will not have such age restrictions. 

That said, you will typically find that any driver car insurance for those under the age of 25 is more expensive as statistically this age group is more at risk of an accident. 

Does being a named driver affect my own insurance?

Your own insurance should not be affected if you are a named driver on a different policy.

If there is an accident while you are driving a car as a named driver, the claim is usually made on the policy of the person who is the main driver.

However, the main driver could see their insurance premiums rise as the risk of their car being in another accident will increase.

Does adding a named driver affect my no-claims bonus?

If you add a named driver to your car insurance policy, your no claims bonus will continue to build up as normal. 

However, if a named driver has an accident in your car and they are at fault, your no claims bonus is likely to be affected because, regardless of who was driving, you will have to claim on your insurance and your insurance provider may have to pay out. 

If you’ve protected your bonus, it might not be affected but it’s worth checking with your insurer to be sure. But be aware that this could still see your premiums rise, even if your discount is protected, because the discount will come from a higher initial premium. 

Most insurers won’t allow a named driver to build up their own no-claims bonus, however. 

The handful of providers that will allow it usually only do so on the condition that you stay with the same insurer each year. This can prove a false economy in the long run if cheaper car insurance policies are available elsewhere. 

How to avoid fronting in named driver insurance

Fronting is illegal and the best way to avoid it is by always ensuring that the person who drives the vehicle most frequently is listed as the main driver on the policy. If it’s a genuine 50/50 split, it’s best to talk to your insurance provider. 

Are there any alternatives to secondary car insurance? 

One alternative to named driver or any driver car insurance is to buy a temporary car insurance policy. This type of cover will typically last between one and 30 days, although in some cases it can be extended up to 90 days.

Temporary cover can be a good option if a friend or family member needs to borrow your car for a short period of time. It can also work out more cost-effective than adding a named driver to your policy if you have children at university who only use your car when they are home for the holidays. 

If someone needs to drive your car in an emergency and they don’t have time to arrange temporary cover, they may be insured to drive your car if they have driving other cars (DOC) cover. This used to be a fairly standard addition to comprehensive policies, but fewer insurers now offer it. 

Note that DOC cover should not be used on a regular basis and insurers typically exclude it from your cover if you are under 25 or have certain jobs.

It also generally only provides the minimum legal cover - third party - so repairs to your own vehicle in the event of an accident might not be covered.

Get a car insurance quote

See a range of car insurance quotes in just a few minutes when you compare with Uswitch


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