UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Auto insurance typically follows the vehicle, which means anyone driving your vehicle with your permission will be insured. However, some drivers are concerned about how this works with roommates: does your roommate have to be listed on your auto insurance policy? Do you have to list everybody you live with on your car insurance? Today, we’re answering all your questions about how roommates and car insurance policies work together.
Typically, All Drivers In Your Household Should Be Listed on your Policy
When two people live together, your insurance company assumes that those two people have access to one another’s vehicles. You might not drive your roommate’s car to work every day. In an emergency situation, however, you could pick up your roommate’s keys and use his or her vehicle.
That’s why insurance companies require all drivers in your household to be listed on your policy. If you are living with a roommate, then that roommate should be listed on your car insurance policy.
In insurance terms, a driver can be anyone who has the knowledge and ability to drive. When you list “all drivers in your household” on your policy, you are required to list anyone with the knowledge or ability to drive. That includes people with an expired license, no license, or a suspended license. It also includes those who have a driver’s license in a foreign country – like a recent immigrant.
Meanwhile, the definition for “living in your household” typically means anyone who lives with you full-time or part-time. If you have shared custody of a teenage child, for example, and that child can drive, then that child may need to be listed on your policy.
Consider Excluding Drivers from Your Policy
In some situations, a roommate may be considered a high-risk driver. Maybe the roommate has a history of at-fault accidents. Maybe the roommate has multiple DUIs or DWIs. If this is the case, then your insurance premiums may rise because your roommate is considered a high-risk.
Consider excluding your roommate from your policy to ensure you stay protected. In some states, if you don’t want a driver in your household to be listed on your policy, then you can ask your insurance company to specifically exclude that person from your policy. By excluding the person from your policy, you’re guaranteeing that the person – say, your roommate – will not drive your car.
If the excluded driver does not have his or her own car insurance, and you let them drive your vehicle, then you could be liable for all damages and injuries in an accident. Your insurance company will refuse to cover a claim if an excluded driver was driving your vehicle.
Some insurance companies actually forbid you from excluding an uninsured driver from your policy. If your roommate does not have his or her own car insurance, then they cannot be excluded from your policy. Insurance companies do this to protect customers from major financial risk. If the uninsured roommate needs to drive your car – say, in an emergency – then it could create a huge financial problem.
Some companies also charge a fee for excluding a driver. In some states, you’re not permitted to exclude a driver at all. In other states, even excluded drivers will have basic liability coverage. As you can see, it varies widely between states and insurance companies. Talk to your insurance company to make sure you’re covered.
List all Other Drivers Residing in your Household
If you share your address with relatives, roommates, friends, or strangers, then it may be in your best interest to name these individuals on your car insurance policy. Some insurance companies recommend listing all licensed drivers living at your address. Other insurance companies require you to list all licensed and unlicensed drivers at your address.
There are few exceptions to this rule. Insurance companies don’t take the time to analyze your relationship with your roommates. If you are renting out your basement to foreign exchange students, then you may have to list those students on your policy. If you are living with a stranger in college who you never see, then you may have to list that person on your policy.
When listing someone on your policy, you will typically need to list their driver’s license number and their name.
If you want to exclude that person from your policy, then you may need to provide the other driver’s name and proof of their auto insurance. If your roommate does not have his or her own car insurance, then you may not be able to exclude that roommate.
Ultimately, all drivers in your household should be listed on your policy. If a roommate drives your vehicle and gets into an accident, then you could be liable for any damage they cause if they are not listed on your policy. In some situations – say, if your roommate is a high-risk driver with multiple DUIs – then you may wish to exclude the driver from your insurance policy.
To ensure your car insurance provides coverage in all situations, it’s in your best interest to list all roommates on your car insurance policy – whether they’re friends, strangers, or relatives. Contact your car insurance company to ensure your roommates are listed on your policy.