People always wonder, "Who is insured under my car insurance?" under a standard auto insurance policy.
There are usually
only one or two names listed in the "Named Insured" section of an
car insurance policy, but that does not mean that they are the only people
who are actually covered under the auto insurance policy. As a general rule, auto insurance coverage
typically follows the vehicle around, not the driver or drivers. If your car is involved in a minor or a serious accident, the car typically receives the full coverage provided by the auto
insurance policy, no matter who is driving the car.
Auto insurance policies normally
provide the insurance coverage for your car if it is driven by any of the following people:
- You, the "named insured"
- Your spouse, as long as he or
she lives in your household
- Other family members who are related
to you by blood, marriage, or adoption
- A foster child who lives in your
- A child who is away at college
but still considers the address listed on your policy as his or her permanent
- Anyone to whom you lend your car
Your auto insurance company may require
that a few conditions be met in order for other drivers to be insured and covered under
your insurance policy. For instance, anyone who drives your car usually must be a licensed
driver. Also, most car insurance companies require that anyone driving your
car be doing so with your granted permission. This doesn't mean that you have to give
explicit permission each time anyone takes your car for a ride, but the person
driving must have a reasonable belief that he or she is entitled to do so. Because
these conditions can be different from companies, it is vital to check your policy carefully and
make sure you understand any limitations that might apply before you allow others
to drive your car.
Keep in mind, however, that most
auto insurance companies require you to name and list the principal and secondary drivers
of any of vehicles insured. If, for example, you have a teenage driver under your
house, he or she should be listed on your car insurance policy even though your car insurance
rates may increase quite a bit. Technically, a teen who is not listed on your
policy would still be covered if he or she had an accident. But your insurer
might still charge you retroactively for insurance coverage on your teen from the date that
your teen became a licensed driver.