When Does a Driver Have to Be Listed on an Auto Insurance Policy?

By Lesley Green
Smiling couple driving together.

To list a driver on an auto insurance policy or not to list, that is the question.

Your auto insurance is determined, in part, by the drivers listed on your policy. But who exactly should be listed on your policy? Do you need to add your neighbour who occasionally borrows your SUV when they shop at Costco? Do you need to include your teen driver who only has their learner’s permit?

We’ll tackle five common "should they be listed" scenarios that are often asked by InsuranceHotline.com readers. The rule-of-thumb, however, is if the person drives your car regularly or lives in your household, they should be named as a driver on your auto insurance policy. And, if you’re ever in doubt, give your auto insurance provider a call to be sure.

1. A teen driver who just got their learner’s permit

Like any good rule, there are exceptions and drivers with a learner’s permit is one of them. A new driver with a learner’s permit—the type that requires them to have a fully licensed driver with them at all times when driving—does not need to be listed on your insurance policy…yet. This all changes, however, when they graduate to the licence level that allows them to drive solo. Once your teen driver is able to drive on their own, they will need to be added to your policy.

2. A teen driver who lives with their other parent

If your young driver lives with your ex full-time, and doesn’t typically drive your car, then you generally don’t have to list them as a driver on your policy. However, if you’re in a co-parenting situation, where the young driver lives half the time at one address and half at the other, then you do. In this situation, your insurer (and your ex’s provider) will usually charge half the premium to reflect your child’s living arrangements.

3. An adult child who lives at home

Increasingly, adult children are living with their parents longer. In fact, according to Canada’s 2016 census one-third of young adults aged 20 to 34 live with at least one of their parents. If your young adult lives at home and does not have their own vehicle (but they have a driver’s licence), then they’ll need to be listed on your policy. But what happens if they have their own car and coverage? Do they need to be added to your policy and you on theirs? In short, yes, but it’s unlikely that there will be an extra premium since everyone has their own insurance.

4. A parent who lives with you

In general, anyone living in your household should be listed on your policy, so if one (or both) of your parents lives with you, and they have a driver’s licence, they should be added to it. However, if they have their own car and coverage, it’s unlikely it will affect your premiums (or theirs) as everyone will have their own insurance.

5. A friend or neighbour occasionally borrows your car

You likely already know that if you lend your car to a friend, neighbour or acquaintance you don’t have to ensure they’re added to your policy; however, you may not know that if you lend your car, you’re lending your insurance too. Only lend your car to someone who will drive your car with care and who is permitted to drive (i.e. has a valid driver’s licence).

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