What Is Additional Named Driver Insurance?

antoine fruchard Antoine Fruchard  updated on September 20, 2020

Finding the right car insurance for yourself is tricky enough. 

Does it really make sense to complicate things further by adding additional drivers to your policy?

What if we told you that adding an additional or named driver to your car insurance doesn’t have to be so complicated and can in fact, help you bring down your premiums.

We’ve put together an all-you-need-to-know guide to additional driver car insurance with tips to help you make a more informed decision when looking for a suitable car insurance policy. Stay tuned!

What is additional driver insurance?

Additional driver (or named driver) insurance as the name suggests, is basically insurance for all additional drivers who will be driving your car. 

Traditionally, when you take out car insurance, it applies only to you as the main driver of your vehicle. If someone else is found to be driving your car without being named in the policy beforehand, they will not be eligible for any claims in the event of an accident, loss or damage and you may risk voiding your insurance.

This is why you can legally list second, third (or more) drivers on your car insurance policy and therefore allow them to drive your vehicle without committing any fraud.

Let’s illustrate this with an example.

The Robinsons, a small family of four own, a single car. Although the car is mostly used by Mr Robinson to drive to work on weekdays, it is also used by Mrs. Robinson to shop for groceries and by their eldest son, James to attend music lessons on weekends. In this case, Mr Robinson, the original owner of the vehicle, can name the other drivers (in this case his wife and son) as additional drivers in his policy. This way, a single car insurance policy is enough to cover all the drivers of the family vehicle, even if the original owner is not present in the vehicle. 

What I am covered for as named driver?

Usually, named drivers will benefit from the same level of cover taken out by the original policy holder. 

In the example above, if Mr. Robinson adds his wife and son as named drivers on his comprehensive policy, they would also have the same level of cover.

While children driving their parent’s car is a common reason for adding named drivers to insurance, there could be other possible reasons such as a friends or family borrowing your car from time to time. In any case, it could be a good solution to bring down the overall cost of car insurance.

Generally, most insurers allow you to add up to for additional drivers to your policy. 

Who can be added as a named driver?

Ordinarily, anyone who is authorised to drive on UK roads can be added as a named driver. 

This includes:

  • young drivers with a full UK driving licence who have recently passed their driving test
  • learner drivers on a provisional licence who are practicing for their driving test
  • in some cases, convicted drivers as well.

However, it is very important to know the effect this will have on your premiums. 

Adding someone who has no previous driving experience can drastically increase the price of your policy. The same goes for adding drivers with an unclean driving history, points on their licence or previous convictions. Similarly, if you want to add a family member who is learning to drive in your vehicle as a named driver, prepare to pay the price for it. We detail all this in the below section.

Check out our article, ‘What Are The Best Learner Driver Car Insurances’ for tips to reduce the cost of adding a learner driver to your car insurance policy.

Does adding additional drivers reduce the cost of insurance?

Think of second driver insurance as a double-edged sword.

  • Adding an experienced driver – On the one hand, adding experienced additional drivers with a claim-free insurance history could reduce the cost of insurance. When there is more than one driver on the policy, it means that the risk is spread over two drivers, consequently reducing the likelihood of an accident and the need to claim. This lowers the risk resulting in a cheaper insurance policy.
  • Adding a young driver – On the other hand, adding a new driver who has recently passed his test, or a driver with a history of accidents could push your insurance premiums up significantly. Drivers under the age of 25 are considered by insurers as the riskiest group, so you might want to rethink adding your children as named drivers in your policy if they’re not going to be using the car much. 

Alternatively, instead of adding someone to car insurance who is under 25, you could consider taking out a temporary driver car insurance for this person. Indeed, many temporary insurance options for learner drivers which could help mitigate the overall cost of your car insurance as well as allowing them to drive your vehicle at any time as long as it is within the coverage period.

For example, some insurers such as Veygo by Admiral provide a flexible, ‘car sharing insurance’ option which makes adding a driver to car insurance for a week or even a weekend possible. Because it is separate from your original policy, you won’t lose your No Claims Discount if the driver has an accident in your car.

How much does it cost to add a new driver to car insurance?

If you want to add driver to insurance, there are many factors that play a role in determining the cost.

Here are some things to consider if you’re concerned about second driver insurance cost: 

  • The age of the additional driver – The younger the driver the more expensive the insurance cost.
  • Their relationship to the policyholder – Adding immediate family such as children or a spouse as additional drivers on your policy could be cheaper than adding friends or distant relatives. 
  • If they own or drive another vehicle – Some insurers may give a discount if the additional driver uses another car in addition to the one on which he will be named.
  • Their licence type – Adding a provisional driving licence holder is likely to be more expensive than adding an experienced driver with a full licence.
  • Their health – Adding drivers with medical conditions or disabilities are likely to push up your premiums.
  • Their driving history – Adding a driver with a history of accidents or points on their licence would increase the cost of insurance.

Besides, to make any modifications to your policy you often need to pay an amendment fee. Insurers usually charge an administration fee for making any changes to your policy such as updating your address, your job, or even for adding named drivers. While some companies may not charge at all for making modifications or additions to your policy, others charge between £20-£30 for making simple changes to your policy.

For example, AA charges between £12-£25 as a policy adjustment fee and £30 for policy cancellation. It also charges customers a policy renewal fee of £28. RAC charges £25 for policy adjustment, £50 for cancellation but does not charge a policy renewal fee. At the same time, newer companies such as Age UK and NFU Mutual do not charge any fees at all for policy modification, cancellation or renewal. 

Learn more about modification fees and administrative charges here

If you plan to add several drivers to your policy it might be cheaper to add them all at once to avoid paying successive admin fees each time you add a new driver. Also, if they will be regularly using the car, it would be cheaper to consider keeping them on your policy permanently rather than taking out temporary cover for them.

How to add named drivers to your car insurance?

There are essentially two ways to do this:

  • If you already have car insurance, make a phone call to your insurer and enquire about their additional driver insurance options. In most cases you will be charged an admin fee for making the necessary changes. 
  • If you are looking for a new policy, use an online comparison tool that allows you to include details of any additional drivers in your search. If you plan to contact insurers directly for quotes, let them know at the very beginning that you want to include additional drivers in your policy. This could save you from paying admin fees or modification charges.

Why you should be careful to avoid fronting?

Fronting is the term used for lying to the insurer about who the main driver of the vehicle really is. Usually, adding someone older and more experienced to your car insurance policy can lower your premiums. But, if you intentionally use this to dishonestly name someone as the main driver of the vehicle, you could not only invalidate your policy but also face legal issues. 

With the astronomical cost of insurance for young and new drivers, it is not uncommon to find them resorting to naming a parent or relative as the principal driver.

While there’s no doubt that it’s a tempting solution to overcome the burden of high insurance costs, the consequences of fronting are simply not worth it. Not only would you risk invalidating your policy, making it difficult for insurers to trust you in the future, you could also find yourself in the midst of a legal procedure.

Honesty definitely goes a long way so if you want to add another driver to your policy, make sure that you are clear about who the main driver really is.

In the case that a named driver on your policy eventually becomes the main driver of the vehicle, make sure you let your insurer know. As it is not common for insurers to switch the main driver midway during the policy period, you might be required to cancel your policy and the named driver would have to take out their own insurance on the car. They can then add you as a named driver to their policy if required.

Does a named driver affect my No Claims Bonus?

A no-claims discount is a cherished asset, slowly built up over the years thanks to your safety and diligence. The last thing you’d want is losing it for no fault of yours.

Also known as No-Claims Bonus (NCB), it is the insurers way of rewarding customers with discounted premiums for not having filed a claim in the past. The greater the number of years driven without claiming, the greater the no-claims discount. For example, someone who has driven for a decade without having to file a claim would have collected 10 years worth of No Claims Bonus and can use this when renewing or searching for a new policy.

Different insurers have different rules concerning no-claims discounts. 

However, in most cases:

  • If an additional driver has an accident in your car, you could end up losing your no-claims bonus. 
  • A named driver cannot earn their own no-claims bonus on your policy, nor can they help build up your no-claims bonus. They would have to take out their own policy to be able to do this, even if they have been driving on your policy for decades.

There are however, ways to protect your no-claims bonus by opting for temporary or short-term additional driver insurance. 

Can I add an additional driver short-term?

Yes you can! 

Some insurance companies such as Insure 4 a Day and a few others provide temporary or short-term car insurance for additional drivers from 1 to 28 days. 

Different insurance providers set different age restrictions, but in general, the second driver must be above 19 years of age, having held a full UK driving licence for at least one year. Some insurers also set a maximum age limit of 75 for additional short-term drivers.

This is very useful if you want to go on a family holiday and share the driving responsibility with someone without worrying about losing your no-claims bonus if they get into an accident. 

Temporary insurance always works out more expensive than standard insurance in terms of cost per day but the greatest advantage is the fact that it protects the no-claims bonus of the main driver. This also makes it a good option for people who don’t own a vehicle but want to use a friend’s or family member’s vehicle from time to time without compromising their no-claims bonus. Check out this article to know more about temporary car insurance.

Can an additional driver drive other cars?

Yes, as long as they have also been named as additional drivers on the policy of the car they wish to drive.

It is a common misconception that once you’ve been named as an additional driver on someone’s fully comprehensive car insurance, you can drive any car and still be covered. 

The fact is that even though there are some comprehensive policies that allow for this, it is only an emergency option and not meant for regular driving purposes. 

The only legitimate solution to be covered while driving other cars is to be added as a named driver on the car owner’s policy or to take out your own short term policy that allows you to drive other people’s vehicles. 

Get to know more on driving other cars policies here. 

Can I be named driver on two policies? 

Yes, you can!

If you have already been named as an additional driver on someone’s policy, there is nothing stopping you from being named on someone else’s policy as well. This is in fact, a legitimate way for additional drivers to drive other people’s cars.

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