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Should I add my girlfriend to my car insurance?

Here's what you need to know...
  • You always have the option of adding your significant other to your car insurance
  • If your partner lives with you, or if she does not have her own insurance, you will need to add her to your policy
  • In many situations, your insurance will cover another individual who drives your car
If your girlfriend is moving into your home, or she has regular access to your vehicle, it is critical that you review the terms and conditions of your car insurance to ensure that you have protection.

In some circumstances, you may be required to add the new driver to your plan, but that is not always the case.

If adding the operator to your policy is a requirement, you should know that there are advantages and disadvantages to adding a partner to your car insurance policy.

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If you are the only listed driver on your declaration page, it does not necessarily mean that you are the only person covered to drive the vehicle listed on the policy.

You, your girlfriend, and other friends may all have coverage, but your carrier has the right to deny claims when someone who should have been listed has a loss.

Before you jump the gun and add your girlfriend onto your existing plan, read the guidelines so that you know when you should add her.

How does your coverage extend to other drivers?

Many people believe that your car insurance either follows you, or it follows your vehicle.

To say it is strictly one or the other is wrong because it depends entirely upon the situation.

How your car insurance will take effect when you are lending your car to someone or when you are borrowing a friend’s car can be extremely confusing.

The question is often seen as a brain teaser to those who do not have a deep understanding of how insurance works, but once you actually know how coverage extends to other parties, you will be much more confident in your choice to add or not to add someone to your existing plan.

Defining a Permissive User

car keys

When you allow other drivers that are not listed on your policy to drive your vehicle, the driver will be covered as long as they fit the company’s definition of permissive user.

It is a standard in the industry to allow permissive use to some degree under a personal auto insurance policy.

Other drivers are extended coverage under the permissive use definition in the following situations:

  • A friend who does not live in the household borrows the vehicle
  • A neighbor borrows the car temporarily while their vehicle is out of commission
  • An acquaintance drives the vehicle in an emergency situation
  • Someone is test driving the car in hopes of buying it
  • A family member from out of town drives the vehicle for a week
  • A co-worker drives the car to pick up lunch

Which coverage will extend when permissive users are driving?

If your girlfriend does not live in your home and has her own car insurance, there is typically no reason to add her to your insurance. Most carriers will cover her if an accident does happen, but what type of coverage will be provided?

How coverage extends will depend on what type of coverage exists on your girlfriend’s policy.

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Damage to Your Vehicle

Perhaps the easiest part of this to understand is how damage to your car is paid for.

Physical damage coverage will always follow your vehicle; this includes when your girlfriend is driving.

If she is not paying attention and crashes into a parked car or she is partially at fault for a multi-car pileup, your insurer is going to help you pay for your repairs by investigating a collision payout.

As long as you have collision coverage and you can cover your deductible, the repairs will be made to your car under your plan.

Since the loss was the fault of another driver, your insurer will probably ask you a long list of questions.

They will want to know the following:

  • How often she drives your car
  • Where she is insured and what her policy number is
  • What her coverage limits are
  • If she lives in your home

If she does not have coverage or she lives in the home, the insurer will require you to add her as a driver or to exclude her from the plan to keep your policy active.

She does not qualify for coverage as a permissive user any longer and the company wants to protect themselves from covering a driver they are not collecting premiums on.

Damages to Others

A man stands in front of his damaged car.Policies around claims for third-party damages can be a bit more confusing.

The existence of another insurance policy becomes important to your insurer. Liability insurance follows the driver in most cases.

Your insured girlfriend who has her own insurance policy will have liability coverage if she damages property or injures a third party in your car.

One of the reasons your policy will still pay for liability claims when the loss was caused by an unlisted driver is because you can be liable as the vehicle’s owner.

If the limits of liability are high enough, your girlfriend’s policy will pay for all of the damages on its own. If they are not, her policy will pay first and then your policy will kick in to pay the difference.

Who is not allowed to be a permissive user?

It might sound like classifying your girlfriend as a permissive user is best to avoid rate hikes, but underwriters are very savvy.

If your girlfriend lives with you or she does not have her own policy, she needs to be added to your insurance.

Adding your girlfriend to your insurance can raise your rates for a number of reasons, but if she is a safe driver, it could be a money-saving move.

Here are some issues that can raise your rates:

  • Your girlfriend has recent tickets
  • Your girlfriend has an accident within the last three years
  • She has been at fault for bodily injury
  • She has less than nine years of driving experience
  • She does not qualify for young driver discounts

If you would like to compare the price to add your partner to your policy versus buying a new policy, enter your zip code to receive car insurance rates from multiple companies.

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