Many people decide to share vehicles with their spouses and other family members within their household, whether it’s for simple trips to the store or commuting between work and school. But it is important to consider whether those you are allowing to operate your vehicle are actually covered or if you are running the risk of paying for an accident out of pocket.
Permissible drivers are those you allow to operate your insured vehicle. In general, anyone you allow to operate your vehicle should be covered under your auto insurance policy—including spouses. The more people sharing your vehicle, however, the more you may pay for auto insurance. Insurance agents should know who is allowed to drive your vehicle to make sure that those people are covered if they sit behind the wheel.
This is not the same as having drivers listed on your policy, however.
Listing drivers on your policy can guarantee that they have coverage, but it can also mean affecting your car insurance rates. When you add someone to your auto insurance policy, their driving record and credit score are also taken into account and can raise your car insurance rates. This is because you and your spouse will now share the level of risk while operating under a single auto insurance policy. It is important to understand what may affect your auto insurance rates so that you are not surprised by a sudden increase after adding your spouse to your policy. On the other hand, adding a spouse with a better driving record or higher credit score can actually help save you money on car insurance.
Excluded drivers are the one exception when it comes to permissible drivers. Insurance providers may offer you an auto insurance policy on the condition that you do not let certain people operate the vehicle. These are called excluded drivers and will not be covered under your auto insurance policy if you give them permission to drive the vehicle.
Excluded drivers are typically those who are considered too high a risk to insure, such as if they have a poor driving record or significantly low credit score. If your spouse is an excluded driver, they will not be covered under your auto insurance policy even if you give permission to drive the vehicle. For example, if your spouse is listed as an excluded driver and causes an accident while operating your vehicle with permission, none of the damages or injuries may be covered.