Adding a named driver vs temporary cover

May 12, 2022

Many car owners add a named driver to their car insurance policies during their lifetimes - typically a long-term partner or a child who lives with them - so their closest family members are legally insured to drive their vehicle at any time they need or choose to.

But is there a better way to insure someone else who’d like to occasionally or temporarily drive your vehicle?

Here we explore whether adding a named driver is better or worse than taking out temporary cover for additional drivers, and the pros and cons of each insurance arrangement.

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Person driving car

What is a named driver?

Named driver insurance rules

Is a named driver fully comp?

How many named drivers can I have on one policy?

What is temporary car insurance cover?

Is temp cover cheap?

Named driver vs temporary cover: pros and cons

What is a named driver?

named driver is someone whose name is added to a car owner’s or vehicle’s registered keeper’s existing car insurance policy as an additional and less frequent driver of a vehicle.

An additional driver named on a policy will be legally covered to drive the policyholder’s car with the same level of protection afforded to the main [policy holding] driver.

Read more: Everything you need to know about being a named driver

Named driver insurance rules

It is illegal to drive another person’s vehicle without insurance cover.

If someone else’s vehicle is already insured and someone else wants to drive it, a standard [single driver] car insurance policy for only one person will not provide cover for someone else to drive a vehicle legally.

To legally insure a vehicle for another person to drive, it will be necessary for:

  • the second driver to have an existing car insurance policy that includes cover for ‘driving other cars’ (DOC). However, their policy will usually only provide third party cover so the additional driver will need to check exactly what cover they have for driving other vehicles with their insurer, or
  • the registered keeper/owner of the car will need to arrange named driver insurance for a second driver by adding the second driver’s name to their existing policy, or
  • the second driver will need to arrange and pay for their own [separate] temporary car insurance cover

Read more: Can I insure a car I don’t own?

Car insurance fraud: fronting

In the eyes of the law, it is assumed that if you add a driver to your car insurance policy, the extra vehicle user will only use the vehicle occasionally and sporadically, meaning they will not use the car anywhere near as often as the main policyholder (who is typically the owner and/or registered keeper of a vehicle).

If you deliberately hoodwink your insurer by adding a second driver to your policy who is really the primary driver (i.e. the most regular user of your vehicle), then you will be committing a type of insurance fraud known as ‘fronting.

According to an article by the Mirror newspaper, as many as one in four young drivers could be - albeit unwittingly in some cases - committing a crime by saying that a more experienced driver (usually a parent) is the main policyholder to reduce the cost of their car insurance premiums.

Should you or an additional driver named on your policy have an accident that leads to an insurance claim, and the insurance company subsequently discovers you lied about who the main driver was, you could void your car insurance policy.

A void policy means that your insurer will refuse to honour a claim and you may have to foot the bill for any accident-related costs yourself.

In addition, you could also end up with a criminal record, a fine, up to six points on your licence or even a driving ban. A criminal record or driving conviction will significantly increase your future car insurance costs and could even mean you need to take out specialist convicted driver’s car insurance in the future.

You might like: Insuring a provisional driver on an existing policy

Is a named driver fully comp?

Yes, if the main driver’s policy is fully comprehensive then this means a second driver whose name is added to their policy will have the benefit of fully comprehensive cover too.

No, if the main driver’s policy is not fully comp and is instead only third party or third party, fire and theft - a second driver will only benefit from the same level of cover as the main policyholder.

Read more: Comprehensive vs Third Party Cover

How many named drivers can I have on one policy?

Typically, you can add between three and five additional drivers to one policy - the amount of second drivers you can add to a policy varies between insurers.

What is temporary car insurance cover?

Temp car insurance cover can provide fully comprehensive car insurance cover, typically from as little as one or two hours up to 6 months.

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Read more: Temporary car insurance explained

Is temp cover cheap?

Temp car cover is certainly a much cheaper alternative to a full 12-month car insurance policy if you only plan to use a vehicle for a matter of hours, days or weeks.

However, temp cover is more expensive than being a second driver on someone else’s policy.

BUT, temp cover could be a cheaper solution for the vehicle owner as should a temporary user of the vehicle have an accident, they will have to make a claim on their own [fully comprehensive] temporary insurance policy. This means the vehicle owner’s own insurance will not be affected in any way and they can hang on to any no claims discount they have built up.

The danger of naming a driver on your own insurance policy is that if a named driver has an accident in another car, then a claim would have to be made on your policy meaning you’d lose any no claims bonus and your insurance premiums would increase.

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You might like: Temporary car insurance for new drivers - A guide

Named driver vs temporary cover: pros and cons

To help you decide on the best type of car insurance cover for you and your particular circumstances, here’s a summary of the pros and cons for each type of cover.

Named driver insurance

Pros

Cons

Cheaper than temporary insurance Main policyholder could lose no claims bonus & have more expensive premiums if a second driver has an accident
If the main policyholder has fully comp cover, the second vehicle user will have fully comp cover too If a second driver uses vehicle more than the main policyholder, this is illegal and could make a policy void
Adding an experienced driver to a policy can make your premiums cheaper If the other driver is a learner, young or inexperienced driver, your premiums will increase
Quick and easy to add a driver to an existing policy rather than having to arrange separate insurance Can be charged an ‘admin fee’ by your insurer for adding a driver and amending your policy during its term

Temporary car insurance

Pros

Cons

Cheaper than an annual car insurance policy More expensive than being a named driver
Provides fully comprehensive cover for a temporary user of a vehicle Not cost effective if you want cover for several months
If the temporary driver has an accident, the main user’s insurance isn’t affected If you have an accident and have to claim on your own temporary policy, you will have to pay more for insurance in the future
If you have an accident, your relationship with the main driver will be less affected when you can claim on your own policy instead of theirs Temp cover typically requires the driver to have held a licence for a minimum of 12 months and some insurers have age restrictions and will not insure anyone under 21

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