Named driver insurance (sometimes called additional driver insurance) is cover for extra drivers added to your car insurance policy. It means the people you add can legally drive your car – you don’t have to be in it either.
Named drivers usually have the same level of cover as the policyholder. For example, if you have comprehensive cover, and you add a named driver, they’d have it too.
Check the policy wording for limits and exceptions. Sometimes the cover isn’t exactly the same for an additional driver, like not having cover to drive other cars.
There are many reasons to add extra drivers to your car insurance policy. Children driving a parent’s car now and again is a common example, and many drivers share vehicles with family or friends. But the most common reason is usually to drive down the price of car insurance.
If your additional driver has years of experience and claim-free driving, it can work in your favour.
The price of your insurance is based on the risk posed by you and any other drivers you add - so if you tell your insurer a safe and experienced driver is using your car some of the time, they’ll think you’re less likely to make a claim and your policy will be cheaper.
This works both ways though. If you add a new driver to your insurance who has just passed their test, or someone who has a history of accidents and motoring convictions, your insurance premiums will probably go up.
The additional cost depends on the age, experience and accident history of the driver you're adding, as well as lots of other factors. There could be an increase or decrease in your premiums.
It's usually cheaper to add a driver to a new policy than an existing one, because you won’t have to pay an admin fee for making changes to your policy.
It's simple. You’ll need permission from the driver you want to add, but once you’ve got that there are two routes.
1) If you’re renewing your policy
When we compare quotes for you, we’ll ask if there are any additional drivers you want to put on your policy. You can usually add up to four.
2) If you’ve already got car insurance
Contact your insurer and tell them you want to add another driver to your policy. You’ll probably have to pay a fee for making changes to your policy, even if the price of your premium doesn’t change.
Your insurer could refuse to cover an extra driver – if they think they’re too inexperienced or risky for example. The same goes for learner drivers.
Make sure you tell your insurer if your named driver has ever had any accidents or motoring convictions. Otherwise you could invalidate your policy.
If they have their own car insurance, they’ll also need to let their insurer know that they’re a named driver on another car now too.
When you’ve got more than one driver on an insurance policy, be honest about who the main driver of the vehicle is – it’s the person who drives the car the most. If you don’t, you run the risk of ‘fronting’ your insurance, a kind of fraud that’s illegal.
Fronting is where you name someone else, usually someone older and more experienced, as the main driver on a car insurance policy to get cheaper premiums.
It's common for young and new drivers, who sometimes resort to naming older, more experienced motorists - like a parent - as the main driver on their policy.
We conducted research into fronting in 2018, and found that 34% of parents of young drivers have fronted or would at least consider it.
While it can drive down the cost of a premium, the consequences aren’t worth the risk. As well as being illegal, it invalidates your cover.
If you’re going to add another driver to your policy, you need to be sure that you get the main driver right.
If you add a named driver, and over time they become the main driver of the car you’ll need to let your insurer know.
It’s unlikely they’ll be able to switch the main driver over half way through the policy – you’ll usually have to cancel your insurance and the named driver will need to take out their own insurance on the car.
You can still be a named driver, just on their policy instead.
“Many parents are putting themselves at risk of picking up a criminal record for the sake of reducing their child’s car insurance premiums
There may not appear to be any harm in insuring a child’s car in a parent’s name, but ‘fronting’ is illegal”
Motoring expert and founder of GoCompare
If the additional driver has an accident in your car, and you have to claim on your insurance, you’ll usually lose your no-claims bonus.
If you’ve protected it you might not, so it’s worth checking with the insurer what happens if you need to claim.
The disadvantage for the additional driver is that they won't earn their own no-claims bonus on your policy. That mean’s when they do take out their own insurance they'll be starting from scratch, even if they've driven on your policy for years.
If you need flexible or irregular cover, to lend your car to a family member, or to go on a driving holiday with a friend for example, short-term car insurance might be a better option.
This normally lasts between one and 28 days and is usually only available to drivers over a certain age.
Although you'll avoid the admin fees of adding and removing drivers to your existing policy, short-term car insurance usually works out more expensive than standard car insurance if you were to compare the cost per day.
A lot of people think that if someone has fully comprehensive car insurance, they can drive any car they like and be covered third party - but this assumption is usually wrong.
Not all comprehensive policies have this option. And even when they do, it’s rarely for everyday driving and only meant to be used in emergencies.
Adding another driver as a named driver is the only way to be sure they’ve got adequate cover to drive your car regularly.
Up to £250 refunded after claim settled. Car insurance purchases only. Excludes breakdown, windscreen and glass repair/replacement. Full T&Cs apply.
Price savings are based on independent research by Consumer Intelligence, conducted between 1 August to 31 August 2019:
It compared 28 insurers from our panel and found 51% could save up to £240.04 with us on their car insurance
Last checked 27 August 2019
Between 18 and 24 October 2018, One Poll conducted an online survey among 1,000 randomly selected British adults with children aged between 17 and 25 who can drive