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Auto Insurance Q&A – When Should I Add a Second Driver to My Car Insurance?

In our most recent Q&A post we talked about how to add a second driver to your car insurance plan. We touched briefly on when this should be done – namely, when someone else regularly uses your car – but we thought we should get into this in a little more detail, as this is an important consideration for auto insurance coverage and the rates you pay.

The Basic Definition of a Secondary Driver

A secondary driver is someone who uses the car on a fairly regular basis, but is not the main or primary driver, or the person who uses the car the most. This could also be referred to as an occasional driver. If someone uses your car on a regular basis, you need to add them to your plan.

This in and of itself is pretty self explanatory, but let’s get into more of the details around this and some common questions that come up around this topic.

Your household, your car insurance and secondary drivers in Ontario

In Ontario, the individual drivers that comprise your household are, generally speaking, automatically added to your car insurance plan as occasional drivers. This makes sense, as often people in the same household do use each other’s cars occasionally. And this kind of occasional, every so often use requires that the driver be included on the policy.

If you’re in a situation where this is not the case, you could exclude this driver that lives with you with a driver endorsement form 28A. It is very important to note however that by doing so, if this driver were to use your car at some point in the future, they would not be insured. So don’t forget if you go ahead with this!

As secondary drivers do affect insurance premiums (you can learn more about that in this post), you may want to consider this if this driver would negatively influence your rates, say if they are high risk, as all drivers on a plan are taken into consideration by insurers when setting rates (but of course, it’s the primary driver that is weighted the most heavily). So if you know with absolutely certainty that the young driver you have at home will NEVER use your car, this could be a way to get cheaper rates.

Discuss this decision with your broker or provider to ensure that you are making the right choice for your situation. You never want to put anyone in a situation where they would not be covered when behind the wheel.

Ownership and when two people own one car

Generally speaking, ownership does not tie into primary and secondary drivers. So the principle driver does not have to own their vehicle, and a vehicle’s owner does not need to be listed as an occasional driver if they never drive the car.

And as we’ve talked about here, 2 people can both be listed as owners of a car. So it’s up to you to let your insurance provider know who is the primary driver and who should be listed as a secondary or occasional driver (whether it’s the other owner or not).  

How about someone that borrows my car?

Let’s say you have a family member come to visit from out of town and they want to borrow your car. Or your friend’s car breaks down and they’d like to borrow yours to get to an important appointment.

It is very common to have questions about this type of vehicle usage. The use is occasional, but it is not regular. This person would be an incidental driver, and they do not need to be added to your policy. However, if you’re unsure or if you think that the usage may be bordering on regular, ask your insurer. Better to take the time to inform yourself, than run the risk of someone using your car uninsured.

Tell the truth

If the secondary driver you should be adding to your plan based on the above will greatly impact your car insurance rates in a negative way (say if they are a young driver or a high risk driver), don’t consider simply not adding them to get cheaper insurance.

It can be tempting when you’re looking for the best insurance rates possible to skimp on details, but it’s absolutely critical to be honest and transparent with your broker or insurance provider. If you’re untruthful and something happens, say a car accident, and the information you provided about your insurance coverage comes into question, the repercussions could potentially be very serious, such as a denial of coverage for the incident in question, or a high risk flag on your profile that could haunt you long term.

Rather than trying to skirt the truth to save money, work with a broker that is knowledgable about how insurance works in Ontario and about opportunities to get better rates and is willing to take the time needed to understand your needs.

And don’t wait to do so

If things have changed in your situation since your last renewal, say your teen now has a full G2 driver’s licence and borrows your car from time to time, don’t wait until your renewal to let your insurance provider know. It is your responsibility to let your insurer know about any changes and ensure that your loved ones are properly protected when out on the road.

Need to add a secondary driver now that you have read the above? Click here to learn more about how to do that.

At Insurance Buddy we’re all about helping you find cheap insurance, on the straight and narrow. Reach out to someone from our team to find out how we can help. Or click here to get a no obligation online quote for car insurance now.

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This post is intended to provide general information for educational purposes only and is not meant to cover all terms, conditions and exclusions that are found in different insurance policies. If there is any inconsistency between this information and the definitions in your policy, it is your policy that governs. The use of the information in this post is at your discretion.


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