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I’m 19 years old and buying my first car this spring. I will be the registered owner (of title, lien, etc.) and I will also be insuring it with me as the main driver.
When searching for quotes, I found that it is actually over $1000 cheaper if I add my mother to my policy as an additional driver. The problem is, she won’t actually be driving the car… I’m not sure if her license is even valid anymore.
Could I get in trouble with doing this? Is there any way they can find out my mom isn’t actually driving?
This one is complicated. What you’re doing could either be completely legal – or totally fraudulent.
First, we don’t know if you actually live with your mom, and this changes everything.
If you do live with your mom, then you are actually required to list your mom on your car insurance policy. You are required to list every driver in the household on your car insurance – even if they have no plans to drive your car. If there’s an emergency situation (say, if you’re unable to drive your car due to an injury), then your mom may need to drive your vehicle. That’s why you need to list every driver in your household. If adding your mom to your car insurance lowers your car insurance by $1,000, then congratulations! You’ve just saved an enormous amount on car insurance.
If you do not live with your mom, then you could be committing insurance fraud – especially if your mom has no plans to ever drive your vehicle (or cannot legally drive).
The difference between primary and secondary drivers is very important
Being listed as a primary driver and a secondary driver on car insurance is an important distinction. Car insurance companies care very much when a primary driver is actually listed as a secondary driver.
Let’s say you want to save a lot of money on car insurance. You list your elderly mom as the primary driver on your car insurance policy even though you’re the main driver. This is a serious problem that could lead to enormous implications: if you get into an accident and your car insurance discovers you are the primary driver of the vehicle, even though your mom is listed as the primary driver, then your car insurance company will refuse to pay the claim. To determine who the primary driver is, your insurance company may even check your driving history to see if you’ve been using the car more than, say, 3 or 4 nights a week.
In your situation, where you’re listing your mom as a secondary driver because you live at home, you should not face a similar issue with your claim. You’re listed as the primary driver of the vehicle because you are the primary driver. Your mom is listed as the secondary driver because she’s at the same address and could feasibly drive the car in an emergency situation. In this situation, you and your mom should have no trouble getting a claim paid, assuming you get into an accident and you’re listed as the primary driver.
Of course, things change if your mom is listed as the secondary driver and does not live at the same address as you.
Is it normal for car insurance policies to drop by $1,000 when adding a different secondary driver?
In many cases, car insurance premiums will rise significantly when adding a secondary driver. Let’s say you live at the same address as your brother, for example, and your brother has three DUIs on his driving record. In this situation, our car insurance premiums might triple in price by adding your brother as a secondary driver.
In other cases, car insurance premiums may drop when adding a secondary driver. However, a drop of $1,000 or more – like the drop you experienced here – is definitely rare for most drivers.
However, you’re not like most drivers! As a 19-year-old, you’re probably paying some of the highest car insurance rates in the country (some 19-year-old drivers pay $4,000 or more for car insurance every year). Given that, a drop of $1,000 after adding a safe secondary driver is certainly possible – although it’s still rare.
What about the expired license?
What about the expired license? This may not matter as much as you think. Car insurance companies may require you to list every adult driver in the household even if they do not have an active license.
What should you do next?
What you should do next totally depends on your living situation:
If you live with your mom, then yes, she should be added to your insurance policy as a named driver or secondary driver. In fact, you may be required to add her as a named driver.
If you do not live with your mom, and you are planning to add her as a named driver purely to save money on car insurance, then no, you cannot add your mom as a secondary driver and you could be committing insurance fraud.
If you are living with your mother, then yes, by all means you should add her to your insurance policy. The reason you SHOULD add her is because you want to be able to both have access to your vehicle at all times (in case of an emergency). If you don’t, then she can NEVER legally use your car.
So, YES, add your mother to your list of drivers. She is entitled to be on your policy. It’s not the insurance company’s job to decide who does and does not drive your car.
(Note – If you don’t live with her, on the other hand, you are playing with fire. That is considered fraud. If you are in an accident, they can deny your claim.)
For more information about how you can save money by combining insurance policies, check this post – Combining Insurance Policies
Isn’t that lead to Multi Car Insurance ?
It totally depends on your policy and the terms and conditions. It would be better if you can disucss it with them.
The only issue with the new driver being added to insurance as a named driver is that they will not accumalate no claims discount.