The implications of being a named driver - Everything you need to know

A young driver looking in the rear-view mirror

You may need to add a named driver to your car insurance policy if your son or daughter is learning to drive, or perhaps you want to lend your car to another family member now and again to help them out.

Whatever the reason for driving another person’s vehicle, there are some implications of being listed as a named driver on an insurance policy that you need to be aware of to ensure you aren’t invalidating it and breaking the law. 

In this guide, we answer your commonly asked questions regarding the impact of being a named driver (both good and bad), how to avoid invalidating your policy as well as where to find the best cover. 

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What is a named driver? 

Also known as an additional driver, a named driver is an individual who has been added to someone else’s car insurance policy so that they can legally drive their vehicle with the same level of cover as the main driver. 

A named driver is not legally permitted to drive the vehicle more than the main driver, however. If the named driver drives the vehicle more than the main policyholder, this is against the law and will void the policy altogether.

How does named driver insurance work? 

On a standard car insurance policy, the main driver must drive the vehicle the most, and any listed named drivers are to use it for occasional use only. 

When getting a new car insurance quote, you will be able to add up to three named drivers to your policy with most insurers and comparison sites, and you will need to provide some basic details about each named driver, such as:

  • Title, first and last name 
  • Date of birth 
  • How long they’ve lived in the UK (continuously) 
  • Relationship status 
  • Occupation 
  • Relationship to you (i.e spouse, parent, son or daughter, brother or sister, common law spouse, civil partner, none) 
  • Driving history (convictions, claims, etc.) 

If you want to add a named driver to your existing policy, you’ll need to contact your insurance provider to arrange this. 

In many cases, motorists (usually younger drivers) will add an experienced driver to their car insurance policy to reduce their premiums, such as a parent, but it is important that named drivers do not use the vehicle more than the main driver. 

Fronting and breaking the law 

If you are a named driver and you drive the vehicle more than the main driver, you are committing a crime known as fronting, which is one of the biggest implications of being a named driver.  

According to Uswitch, fronting could land you with a significant fine of up to £5,000 and up to 6 penalty points on your licence if you are caught. For drivers who have had their licence for less than two years, it would result in an immediate driving ban. 

Learn more: Car insurance fronting: Are you breaking the law?

Driving without insurance - the consequences

If you need to borrow someone’s car and you know that you are not listed as a named driver on the main driver’s policy and you don’t have short-term car insurance for that vehicle then do not attempt to drive it as you’ll be driving around illegally (even if the car is insured by the main driver).

Police use ANPR technology which easily detects uninsured cars on UK roads, and if you’re caught you could get:

  • An on-the-spot fine of £300
  • An unlimited fine if your case ends up going to court
  • Up to 6 penalty points on your licence (this will make future car insurance premiums sky-rocket)
  • A driving ban (depending on your situation)
  • Your car seized or even destroyed

For the reasons listed above, it’s never worth driving a car if you’re unsure whether you have the correct insurance or not - always check first and make sure you’re properly covered before getting in the driver’s seat.

Read more: The consequences of driving without insurance

Named driver FAQs 

Is a named driver fully comp? 

Once you have purchased your policy with your named driver(s) listed, any additional named driver on the policy will be covered with the same level of insurance as the main driver. So, if the main driver bought a fully comprehensive policy, the named drivers will also be covered with fully comp insurance.

Does the named driver need to live at the same address as the main driver?

No, you can purchase car insurance as a named driver even if you live at a different address to the main driver.

Does a named driver need their own insurance?

Whether you are a named driver or not, you will need insurance for every vehicle that you drive. So, if you are a named driver on your parents’ vehicle, but you also have your own car with which you are the main driver, then of course, you will need a separate insurance policy to cover you for your own vehicle before driving.

Can a named driver drive another car?

Yes - provided that you have a separate insurance policy to cover you for that car. Named driver insurance will only cover you to use a car now and again, it does not cover you for other vehicles.

If you need to drive someone else’s car for a weekend, 1 week or even up to 28 days, you will need to get temporary car insurance.

Can I drive another car without being a named driver?

If your policy has DOC (drive other cars) cover then yes, you can drive another car if you are not a named driver on the main driver’s policy - but only in the event of an emergency, not occasionally like with named driver cover.

If you’re unsure if your current policy covers you to drive other cars then do not risk driving another car until you find out for sure from your provider. If you do not check this, you risk driving a car uninsured, which can result in a fine of £300 or more and up to 6 penalty points on your licence, meaning that future premiums will be more expensive.

If you find out that you don’t have DOC cover, make sure you get a short-term policy or the owner of the vehicle you want to drive adds you as a named driver to their car insurance policy.

Does being a named driver affect my own insurance?

No. Being listed as a named driver on someone else’s policy does not affect your own car insurance if you are involved in a road traffic accident.

If you were to have a car accident while driving another person’s car as a named driver, you would need to claim on the main driver’s insurance policy. As a result, the main driver’s no claims bonus (NCB) would be impacted and they would have to pay more expensive premiums in the future until they build it back up again, but yours would be fine.

Similarly, if the main driver has an accident and needs to make a claim on their policy, it will not affect your insurance or your NCB, also known as a no claims discount (NCD).

While being a named driver doesn’t affect your own policy, it does usually prevent you from being able to build up a NCD, but if the named driver has a policy on their own vehicle and they are therefore listed as the main driver, they can build up their own NCD.

Some insurers may let you build up a NCD as a named driver, as long as you get your own policy later for it to be transferred over.

If you ever decide to switch providers, perhaps to save money on your next policy or because you are dissatisfied with the service of your existing insurer, you can keep your NCD and transfer it onto your next policy, but you’ll need to contact your previous insurer to get proof of your no claims to be able to apply it to your next policy.

Does adding a named driver reduce insurance?

For the additional driver, named driver insurance works out much cheaper than getting an annual policy if you only want to use the vehicle occasionally. Generally, it can cost between £15 and £30 to add someone else to a car insurance policy, but the cost can completely depend on the circumstances of the named driver who is being added.

For example, if an older, more experienced driver is adding their child to their policy, they should expect to pay more as younger drivers are statistically more likely to have an accident and make a claim.

On the contrary, if a young driver adds an older, more experienced driver to their policy, such as a parent, they can expect a reduction in the cost of cover.

Named driver insurance can often work out cheaper because they will not be driving it as often as the main driver, so there is a lower chance of them being involved in an accident and making a claim on their policy.

In addition to adding a named driver to your policy, there are also other ways in which you can reduce the cost of cover.

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How to save on car insurance

In addition to adding a named driver to your policy, you can also try the following tips to cut down the cost of your car cover:

  • Don’t auto-renew with your current insurer until you’ve used comparison sites to compare quotes and look for a better deal. Drivers often pay more for being a loyal customer, whereas new customers are rewarded with the best deals and prices. However, some insurers will price match your renewal quote if you find a cheaper one elsewhere, so be sure to compare quotes and speak to your existing insurer about 3 to 4 weeks before your car insurance renewal date.
  • Increase your voluntary excess - This is the amount that you will pay towards a claim, on top of compulsory excess. If you’re going to increase it to reduce the cost, make sure it’s an amount that you’ll be able to afford if you ever need to make a claim.
  • Consider black box insurance - This type of cover uses a telematics device to track your driving skills and habits, where sensible driving is rewarded with cheaper premiums.
  • Pay annually for cover - Paying monthly will result in you paying more overall due to interest and if you miss a payment, this could result in a drop in your credit score.
  • Make sure you have the right level of cover - Some drivers have more insurance than they actually need, meaning they are paying too much for insurance.
  • Limit your mileage - The more you drive, the riskier you will seem to insurers, so cutting down on mileage could help you save. Just make sure you provide your insurer with an accurate number, otherwise your policy will be invalid if you lie or if you drive more than the mileage stated on your policy.
  • If you’re new to driving and are looking for a new car, be sure to get a car that comes with low insurance premiums if you’re looking to save money; see what the 10 cheapest cars to insure are for young drivers here.

Learn more about saving on car insurance in our guide: 10 Tips and Tricks for Cutting the Cost on Your Car Insurance

Named driver insurance implications summary - Compare quotes now

In summary, one of the biggest negative implications of being a named driver is the crime known as fronting, which some people commit without even realising.

Another impact is that named driver insurance limits your ability to build up a no claims bonus, unless you have your own separate insurance policy on your own vehicle.

As long as you are aware of the rules and the potential implications, named driver insurance can be beneficial for many drivers and it can help cut the cost of cover for most - especially if you just need to borrow someone else’s car occasionally.

To see how much you could save by adding a named driver to your policy, tap the button below to compare quotes now. For further advice and information, read our related guides.

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