People love to argue with me. “It’s because you’re always WRONG,” my little brother would holler at me. Many insurance customers feel the same way. “Why do you care who else lives at my house? I’m the only one who drives my car.” I am asked this question more frequently than any other. Customers are not always antagonistic. They feel that if only one or two people drive a vehicle, the other licensed drivers living in the household should not matter.
Despite protests to the contrary, my insistence on getting the names, dates of birth, and drivers’ license numbers of each licensed driver in a household is correct. This means that if your 27-year-old son lives in your basement and has his own car with his own insurance, we still need his information to properly construct your auto insurance. Why is this?
All standard personal auto policies have similar rules. Any licensed driver with potential regular access to a vehicle must be disclosed in order for the premium to be fairly rated. Recently, we’ve seen several large claims denied by the auto insurance company due to improperly disclosed drivers. In one situation, a 19-year-old son of a policy holder was not listed as a driver. In order to cover the claim, the insurance company insisted 1.5 years of back premium be paid on this extra driver. Anyone who takes the time to read their auto insurance policy will see that the insurance company is not technically responsible for a claim caused by a regular driver if that driver is not listed on the policy.
Here are three categories of drivers. Most drivers fall into one of these three categories:
- Rated drivers—the person(s) who regularly drives a vehicle. This includes someone who doesn’t live in the household, like a neighbor who drives your grandmother in her car to go to the store every week.
- College students living more than 100 miles away—show proof and the insurance company offers a reduced rate based on only driving during school breaks.
- Household members insured elsewhere—show proof of their personal car insurance and receive a greatly reduced rate for that person.
For your own protection, we ask you to always disclose all licensed drivers. We at Merriam Insurance pride ourselves on getting you accurate coverage that protects you correctly, should disaster strike on the roads. Practice honesty with your insurance company and they will treat you well.