What is named driver car insurance?

·4-min read

Named driver car insurance is the protection someone gets when you add them to your policy as an additional driver.

In some cases, adding another driver to your policy can bring down your car insurance costs – but you need to be careful about how you do it.

Here’s what you need to know about named driver car insurance.

Why add a named driver?

When you buy a car insurance policy, you’ll be asked whether you want anyone else to be added onto it as a named driver. You can add anyone with a valid UK driving licence to your policy, although a partner or grown-up child tend to be the most likely candidates.

Being registered as a ‘named driver’ simply means it’s now legal for that person to drive your car should they need occasional access to it.

It could be that the driver has their own car with their own comprehensive insurance policy – but their policy does not include a ‘driving other cars’ clause.

This can be the case if they are a young driver, of under 25 for example. If they wanted to drive your car for any reason, they would either need to take out temporary cover or be added as a named driver to your policy.

Adding a named driver can also be used as a means of lowering your car insurance premiums. The price you pay for cover is based on assumptions about the level of risk you pose as a driver, and the likelihood you’ll file a claim that your insurer will have to pay out on.

The theory is that by adding a driving to your policy, it reduces the amount of time that the vehicle is available to you. And the less time you spend behind the wheel, the less risk you will be involved in an accident. That reduced risk can translate into lower premiums.

That said however, if the named driver in question is inexperienced, has points on their licence or a history of making claims, it could have the opposite effect and push up your premiums.

In any case, a named driver will only be covered under a third-party insurance. This is the minimum level of cover a driver must have to be on the road and pays for damage to other people and their vehicle only – leaving themselves and your car exposed.

What is fronting?

In an attempt to reduce premiums, some people falsely claim that a more experienced driver is the main driver of the vehicle they own, and add themselves as a named driver. But this scheme, known as ‘fronting’, is a type of fraud and illegal.

Anyone caught fronting can receive six points on their licence and a fine of up to £7,000. And once you have a record of fronting, some insurers will refuse to offer cover, while others will charge premiums so high they are simply unaffordable or not worth paying.

Other ways of reducing premiums

However, there are other steps you can take to reduce the cost of your car insurance.

The car you drive, for instance, affects the price you pay for cover. Cars classed in lower car insurance groups such as the Volkswagen Up, Nissan Micra and Dacia Sandero, are cheaper to insure than those with higher values and performance.

If you’re already a car owner you might consider a telematics policy, which is designed to help drivers who are deemed as higher risk, to bring costs down.

It involves fitting a smartphone-sized ‘black box’ to your vehicle that records, measures and wirelessly transmits information about your driving to your insurer, which uses real data about the risk you pose as a driver to tailor your premiums.

Or some policies work through a trackable app on your smartphone.

Provided you drive carefully, keep within speed limits and don’t accelerate or brake too sharply, your premiums could be repriced downwards.

However, if the black box shows that you’re driving irresponsibly, covering too many miles or getting behind the wheel during peak times, you could see your premiums rise.

Your first port of call should always be a price comparison service that will show you the lowest price car policy for the cover you need.

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