Are my family covered under my car insurance?

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Car insurance is a funny thing, we all know we need it but the exact ins and outs of what your policy includes often just goes in one ear and out the other as soon as you’ve agreed or renewed it. But sometimes you need an answer in a hurry and can’t remember the drawer/folder/box that you stashed your policy in to find the details, so let us help you fill in the gaps.

Frequently thought questions

Sometimes the answers to simple things are elusive, but that doesn’t mean we don’t ask them in our heads – so here’s the answer to one ‘frequently thought question’ about car insurance: ‘are other members of my family covered to drive my car?’

Who’s insured to drive my car?

The answer is – it depends on your policy. If you’re the sole named driver on your car insurance, then the only person allowed to drive your vehicle; is you. However, you can add named drivers to your policy – these are additional drivers who may use your car occasionally. If you add a named driver, then they will have the same level of cover as you do but they could have a different excess if they’re a young or inexperienced driver.

When you add a named driver, your insurance provider will ask you all the usual questions – such as their age, occupation and whether they’ve been involved in any accidents in the past. Needless to say, it’s really important to be honest because if you’re not, then you could invalidate your entire policy – and that’s not good.

You can also temporarily add someone to your insurance policy. This will provide cover for a named driver for a short, agreed period of time. For example if your student son or daughter comes back home for the holidays and wants to borrow the family car (good luck). They’ll have the same level of cover but could have a higher excess – best to check with your insurance provider.

Bottom line – if someone’s name isn’t down on the Certificate of Insurance; they won’t be able to drive your car.

What is fronting?

Fronting is illegal but it’s an easy trap to fall into. When you add an experienced named driver to a policy it can lower the overall cost of the premium so it’s not unusual for a parent to be the main driver on their child’s policy. This is fine if the more experienced main driver does actually use the car more than anyone else.

However, if the reality is that the younger driver is the one doing most of the driving, and the more experienced person has simply done it in order to lower the cost of the premium, then it’s known as ‘fronting’. Fronting is illegal, and could lead to criminal convictions for those involved. If you are found guilty you could invalidate your policy and it may make it harder and more expensive to get insurance in the future.

Can I drive other cars if I have comprehensive insurance?

Again, this really depends on what your Certificate of Insurance states. If you have comprehensive cover then some insurance providers will let you drive someone else’s car (with their permission, obviously) but with reduced cover – usually just third party which is the legal minimum. Check your Certificate Insurance – this will state whether you have cover to drive other cars, but only the policy holder would have any additional cover, not any of the named drivers.

But it really is at your policy provider’s discretion so before you leap into your best mate’s car – double check. Because, if something happens and you get caught, and you aren’t insured, you’ll have to cough up for any repairs or damages yourself. What’s more, if you’re caught by the police, you could face a £300 fine and six penalty points. If you’re taken to court, you could get an unlimited fine and be disqualified from driving.

How can I save money on my car insurance?

We all like to save money, especially on boring things like car insurance, so here are some top tips to keep your cash in your wallet:

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