Occasional Driver Insurance

Occasional Driver Insurance

Written by Priyanka Correia
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated June 23, 2021

Canadian motorists must have a valid insurance policy on their vehicles when out driving on the roads. Not only is it the law, but it can protect car owners in the event of a collision, car theft, or liability if they’re responsible for the injury or death of another individual.

But what if you only drive on occasion? What if you allow someone else to drive your car once in a while? Should the car insurance policy in question reflect a driver who only takes the car out sporadically?

Primary Vs Occasional Driver 

A primary driver is the main person who drives the vehicle. More often than not, the primary driver owns the car and uses it every day to commute to and from work, run errands, and for leisure purposes. Every auto insurance policy has a primary driver listed on the policy.

An occasional driver is considered someone who is not the primary driver of the vehicle, but only takes it out on occasion. An occasional driver insurance policy is one that protects someone who uses a vehicle only a handful of times, such as once or twice a week. For instance, you may be listed as the primary driver of your car, but your spouse or child with a driver’s license uses the car sometimes when needed. 

More specifically, if the driver uses the vehicle less than half the time, then they would be considered an occasional driver, also referred to as a secondary driver. Despite the limited use of the car, these drivers should still be listed on the car insurance policy. The same coverage on the policy applies to both primary and occasional drivers.

When Do You Need To Add Someone As An Occasional Driver?

It’s important to differentiate the people who should be listed on a car insurance policy versus those who do not need to be added.

Essentially, anyone who uses your vehicle on a regular basis, albeit not very often, should be added to the policy. This includes your spouse/partner, adult children living with you, teenage drivers with a G or G2 license, and anyone else who lives in your home and has a valid driver’s license. 

That said, not everyone necessarily needs to be listed on the policy. Only those who drive your car regularly need to be added. That means anyone who borrows your car once or twice does not need to be included in the policy under the list of drivers. Keep in mind, however, that when you lend your car to someone, your insurance policy is also being loaned out. 

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How Will Adding An Occasional Affect Your Insurance?

Your car insurance policy premiums will increase when you add other drivers to your policy. The amount that it will increase is based on the type of driver being added. The following factors will impact the increase in cost of your insurance policy when you add a driver:

  • Age
  • Driving experience
  • Claims
  • Tickets and fines

For instance, an occasional driver with years of driving experience and a clean driving record will cost less than a young driver who has just recently been licensed or who has a history of tickets and claims. 

If you’re looking for insurance savings, consider bundling your home and auto insurance. 

What Happens If Someone Without Occasional Driver Insurance Gets Into An Accident?

If you allow someone to use your car who is not listed as an occasional driver on your insurance policy, you should still be covered. However, the driver must have a valid driver’s license and not have been using your vehicle for illegal purposes. 

It’s important to understand that even though you should still be covered, your premiums may still increase

How To Shop For Occasional Driver Insurance

The goal when shopping for occasional driver insurance is to save money and get the right amount of coverage you need. To do that, consider these tips:

Be Certain About The Driver You’re Adding

As mentioned above, your premiums will be much more expensive if you add a driver who has a poor driving record or is someone who is newly licensed. Understand the fact that drivers like these will almost certainly cause your insurance premiums to jump. 

Determine The Amount Of Coverage Required

You should be able to customize your policy according to your needs, so be sure to assess your requirements and find out what’s available to you before adding the extra driver to your policy. 

Comparison Shop

With so many insurance companies out there, it would make sense to get quotes from various insurers to compare prices and find the lowest price without compromising coverage. Luckily, you can easily do this with the help of online aggregators that populate quotes from several insurance providers with the click of a button. 

Consult With An Insurance Advisor

An experienced and honest advisor can help you choose the right coverage to ensure any occasional driver you add is adequately insured.

Can I lend my car to someone who isn’t on my insurance?

Yes, but only if the person does not take the car out often and does not live in your home. If the person takes your car out on a regular basis, they should probably be added to the policy. 

Is it cheaper to be insured as an occasional driver?

That depends. Typically, an occasional driver will increase the insurance costs, but it will be cheaper than having two separate policies. You’ll need to speak with your insurance provider to verify exact costs. 

What happens if an occasional driver gets a traffic ticket?

An occasional driver getting into an accident with your car is different than if they get a ticket while driving your car. While the policy follows the vehicle, tickets follow the driver. So, if someone you lend your car to gets a speeding ticket when driving it, they will have to deal with the consequences, not you. 

Final Thoughts

It’s common for people to allow others to drive their vehicles on occasion. But it’s important to understand when these other drivers should be added to your insurance policy, and when it’s not necessary. At the end of the day, you want to make sure that everyone is adequately protected, and in certain cases, it might make sense to add occasional drivers to your policy.

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Priyanka Correia is a Marketing Coordinator and personal finance expert at Loans Canada. Priyanka completed her Bachelor's degree in Marketing at Concordia University and has published work that has been mentioned in various news media. She is passionate about money management and educating Canadian consumers about how to take control of their financial lives.

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