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If I want to add a driver or vehicle to my insurance, do I need to start a new policy?

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The Roundup
  • You can add a driver or vehicle without starting a new policy from scratch
  • Adding drivers and vehicles will impact your car insurance rates
  • You don’t need to add drivers outside your household who use your vehicle occasionally to your policy

I need to add a driver or vehicle to my insurance. How does that work? Is it a new policy, or can I add it to the existing California car insurance policy? It’s a common insurance question and can cause a lot of confusion.

Whether you are wondering about adding someone to car insurance temporarily, are thinking of adding a second car to your household, or have a new driver getting licensed, insurance additions generally don’t require a new policy. We’ll cover all of that and more below.

If you need to add a driver or vehicle to your car insurance policy, it’s a great time to shop around and compare quotes. Enter your ZIP code above for free car insurance quotes from top companies.

How do you add a driver or vehicle to your car insurance policy?

Adding a driver or a new car to your insurance policy is usually as simple as calling your insurance company. With many companies, you can also add drivers and vehicles online or in a mobile app.

Adding a new vehicle to your car insurance is straightforward. If you buy a car, you need to get it added to your insurance. While some companies may give each vehicle its own policy number, adding a car to an existing policy isn’t like starting a policy from scratch.

You won’t have to apply, they already have all of your information, and the change to your policy will go into effect immediately.

If you’re replacing a car, most insurance companies will simply switch it out. This will change the cost of your insurance, and if it’s a newer car, you will likely see an increase.

Either way, you’ll need to contact the insurance company with the VIN and provide basic information about the car to get it added.

So what about adding a driver? There are a few more details to when and how you should add a driver to your policy. Read on to find out more about who can drive your car without being listed on the policy and who needs to be listed.

Does my car insurance cover other drivers?

The first question to ask when you’re thinking of adding a driver to your policy is that of whether or not you really need to. Why? It’s because of the answer to another common car insurance question: does insurance follow the car or the driver?

Car insurance follows the car and not the driver. That means that any licensed driver who drives your car with your permission is covered.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you never need to add a driver to your policy. Car insurance is a contract, and your part of that contract is disclosing to the insurance company all of the details regarding the drivers in your household and how the cars are used.

So, while you don’t need to tell your insurance company every time a friend borrows your car, you do need to tell them about every driver who lives with you. That includes when your significant other moves in with you or when a driver is newly licensed in your home.

If the driver lives with you, you need to either add them to your insurance or provide your insurance company with evidence that they are insured elsewhere.

Finally, if someone else regularly drives your car, such as a nanny or babysitter, for example, you should consider adding that driver to your policy. Call your insurance company to find out how they prefer to handle someone who doesn’t live with you but does drive your car regularly.

Does adding a driver increase your insurance rates?

Adding a driver to your policy will likely have an impact on your rates, but it won’t necessarily be an increase. That depends on the driver.

For example, adding a 40-year-old driver with a clean record to your insurance isn’t likely to cause a rate hike. In fact, your rates might even go down. Adding a 16-year-old newly licensed driver, on the other hand, will definitely increase your California car insurance rates.

Insurance companies base rates on the risk a driver presents. Young, inexperienced drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident. As a result, it costs a lot more to add one to your insurance.

Unfortunately, you don’t have much choice. As we mentioned above, your insurance company requires that you tell them about all drivers who live with you.

Failing to disclose a licensed driver in your household can result in a claim being denied or your policy being non-renewed (canceled at the renewal time). It’s best to be honest with your insurance company and find other ways to save money on insurance.

How do I save money when adding a driver or vehicle to my insurance?

There are a number of ways to deal with the cost increase that comes with a new car or a young driver. First, ask about discounts.

Even for new drivers, there are a lot of discount options, including driver’s ed and good student discounts. Look at bundling discounts that combine your home and car insurance, and ask about options like paperless billing discounts. All of these add up to create lower rates.

You can also look at your coverage to reduce rates. While experts never recommend carrying lower liability limits because of the high financial risk, there’s other coverage you can tweak.

If the car is older and wouldn’t cost much to repair or replace (and you can afford it), you could carry liability only and drop comprehensive and collision. You can also increase your deductibles to get lower rates.

And of course, looking for a lower rate with another car insurance company is always a good way to save.

How to Add a Driver or Vehicle to Your Insurance: The Bottom Line

Adding a driver or a car to your policy doesn’t mean you’re starting a whole new policy. Most such changes can be made quickly over the phone or online.

Remember that you don’t need to add a driver who doesn’t live to you onto your insurance if they borrow your car only occasionally. Drivers who live in your household, however, need to be reported to your insurance company.

It’s a good time to shop around and compare rates because that new car or that teen driver might be much cheaper with a different company. Rates vary quite a bit, and you never know how much less you could be paying until you get the quotes.

To compare rates before you add a driver or vehicle to your current insurance policy, enter your ZIP code below now.

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