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Can I get insured on my parents’ car insurance policy?

Whether you hold a provisional licence or a full driving licence, it’s possible to be added as a named driver to your parents’ car insurance. Before you ask them, there’s a few things that you (and they) need to know, to make sure you do it legally.

Whether you hold a provisional licence or a full driving licence, it’s possible to be added as a named driver to your parents’ car insurance. Before you ask them, there’s a few things that you (and they) need to know, to make sure you do it legally.

Written by
Rebecca Goodman
Insurance expert
Last Updated
6 min read
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How can I become a named driver on my parents’ car insurance?

You can be added as a named driver to your parents' car insurance, as long as you're not the main driver and you only occasionally drive their car. Adding you as a named driver will increase their insurance premium, but it probably won't go up by as much as it would cost you to take out your own car insurance.

What does occasional use mean for car insurance purposes? It means that the main driver on the car insurance policy - in this case your parent - should be the one using the car for the highest percentage of time i.e. over 50%. If you’re using the car to drive regularly, or even every day – to get to work or college, for example – then as a named driver, you could be accused of fronting.

It’s a handy tool if you’re a young driver as you’ll be faced with some of the highest average costs, but it only works if you play by the rules. If you’re a named driver, your parent (or whoever is the main driver) needs to be using the car more than you do.

What is fronting?

You may have heard of fronting before, but if not, you’ll certainly have heard of fraud.

Fronting is a type of insurance fraud. It usually happens when a more experienced driver (one of your parents, for example) insures a car in their name, but a younger driver (you) - uses the car most often.

While it may seem like a good way to get cheaper insurance, fronting is illegal. At the very least, your insurance will be invalidated, and both you and the main driver may end up paying more for car insurance in the future, as cancelled cover can lead to higher premiums.

But there can be far worse consequences. If your car is damaged in an accident and you’re found to be fronting, your insurance provider can refuse to pay out for any damage. And if there’s any third-party damage, your insurance provider could potentially sue you to cover their costs. In the absolute worst case scenario, you could be prosecuted for fraud and end up with a criminal record.

Why is young drivers car insurance so expensive?

Young drivers typically pay more for their insurance because they’re considered a higher risk on the roads, and insurance is all about risk.

According to the road safety charity Brake, more than 1,500 younger drivers are killed or seriously injured on UK roads each year. And one in five drivers crash in the first year after passing their test.

Young drivers lack experience and may be over-confident in their abilities. This can tempt them to take greater risks like speeding or dangerous overtaking. Or they just may not have the confidence or experience needed to react to potentially dangerous situations. The higher the risk, the more chance of making a claim, so insurance providers charge young drivers more to reflect this.

Your parents, on the other hand, will have probably been driving for a lot longer and may have built up a decent no claims discount, so their insurance costs are likely to be much less. Being named as a driver on their policy is one way of lowering your insurance costs. It may increase their premium, but it might be more cost-effective than taking out your own policy if you only need to use their car from time to time.

Before you decide either way, find out how much your insurance will be and how much it will cost to be added to your parent’s car. There are some insurance providers working to lower costs for young drivers, with tools like black box technology, but expect the price to still be higher than a more experienced driver.

Can I build a no claims discount if I’m a named driver?

Not usually, no. Depending on the insurance provider, it's usually only the policy holder or the main driver who can build up a no claims discount on that policy.

That said, there are some insurance providers that may take your experience as a named driver into account, provided you take out your own car insurance policy with them in the future. It's worth checking with the insurance provider to see if this is possible.

And something for your parents to mull over before they ring up their insurance provider to add you to their policy: if you have an accident as a named driver, it will be your parent, the main driver, who loses their no claims discount if they need to make a claim.

Is short term insurance a good option to consider?

Short term or temporary insurance is a good solution if you're back from university for the holidays and want to use your parents' car for a few weeks. But you’ll need to do the sums to work out if it's more cost-effective than being added as a named driver.

How can I reduce the cost of car insurance?

Moving up from borrowing mum or dad’s car to buying your own might come as a bit of a shock when it comes to running costs. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help cut the cost of your premium:

  • Choose your car carefully – the more powerful the engine, the more expensive the insurance is likely to be. It might not be the car you've always dreamed of, but a modest run-around will be more cost effective. Cars in insurance groups 1-10 are typically the cheapest to insure for young drivers.
  • Add security features – fitting your car with an approved security system or immobiliser could get you a cheaper premium.
  • Park it somewhere safe – if you can keep your car in a locked garage you may see your premiums drop, but even if that’s not possible it’s a good idea to keep it somewhere in sight that’s visible and well lit.
  • Provide an accurate mileage –Over-estimating your annual mileage could push up the price of your insurance, but make sure you don’t under-estimate either.
  • Consider telematics or black box insurance – this technology monitors how and when you drive. If you can show you’re a safe and responsible driver, you could be rewarded with a cheaper premium. According to Comparethemarket data, teenage drivers could save more than £1,000 by switching to a telematics policy.
  • Pay up front for the year – paying your premium in one go often works out cheaper than paying monthly, which usually has added interest on the instalments.
  • Compare car insurance quotes – shopping around and comparing quotes is one of the best ways to find a cheaper deal.

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Frequently asked questions

What’s the cheapest way to get insured on a parent’s car?

If you’re home for a short period, then a temporary policy on your parents’ car could be a good option. If you’ll be using the car sporadically throughout the year, asking your parents to add you as a named driver on their policy could be your best bet. Some car insurance providers even offer pay as you go cover, so that you only pay for the miles you do.

A great way to see what the cheapest option for you is to shop around and compare. But remember that the best car insurance isn’t always the cheapest.

Can I get my own insurance for my parents’ car?

If you want to start building up your no claims bonus and you’re going to be using your parent’s car regularly, you could look at taking out a non-owner car insurance policy on your parents’ car. Not all insurance providers offer this though, and you’ll need to be upfront about the fact that you don’t own the car.

If, on the other hand, you only want to be insured on your parents’ car for a short period of time, you could look at temporary insurance instead.

Can I get insured on my parent’s car when I’m learning to drive?

You can get learner car insurance to drive your parent’s car while under their supervision. Learner cover is separate from your parent’s insurance, so they don’t have to worry about any accidents affecting their no claims bonus.

You can also get added to your parent’s car insurance policy as a named driver with a provisional licence, which could work out cheaper. But in this case, any damage you claim for will count against the policyholder’s no claims discount.

What am I covered for as a named driver?

A named driver will typically get the same level of cover as the main driver on the car insurance policy, but there may be some policy extensions or benefits that won’t extend to the named driver.

Policy terms vary, so make sure to read your policy documents carefully to see what you will be covered for as a named driver.

What are the consequences for driving my parent’s car without insurance?

It’s illegal to drive on UK roads without at least third-party insurance. If you’re caught driving your parent’s car without insurance, you could face a £300 penalty fine and 6 penalty points on your licence. If the case goes to court, you could be banned from driving and get an unlimited fine. The police can also seize and in some cases destroy the car that is being driven uninsured.

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