A standard auto insurance policy will cover the named insureds, listed drivers and anyone you give permission to drive your vehicle. So, it will most likely provide coverage for anyone driving it with your permission. A policy follows the vehicle and provides primary coverage for it while the driver’s own insurance may provide secondary coverage as well.
Here are some classifications of drivers included under a vehicle insurance policy explicitly or implicitly and level of coverage extended to them;
Named insureds or policyholders are the people who own the policy so they can make changes to it and responsible for paying the premium. 100% of the coverage applies to them. Not only can they drive the vehicle without any limitation but also the automobile insurance coverage extends to them when they hire a car or drive someone else’s automobile with the permission of the owner.
Listed drivers are included in the policy by name and they are rated when the premiums are calculated. They are definitely insured while they are driving the car but their coverage is limited to this car only. The policy doesn’t follow them to other vehicles the way it follows the policyholders. Normally, everyone living in the same household as the policyholder is rated and included in the policy by name.
As a general rule, nearly all car insurance companies would want to know who else is living under the same address as the policyholder and rate them. This is due to the fact that they are likely to use the car and carriers want to take this likelihood into effect while they calculate their premiums. It is safe to assume that anyone who is living with you and has a driver’s license is insured, unless you have specifically excluded them or failed to disclose them, which may cause a problem in case of a claim.
Occasional drivers are the people who may use a vehicle on the off chance with the permission of the owner. A friend or an acquaintance may just need to run a quick errand and ask for the car keys. A standard policy provides coverage for such drivers who aren’t named on the policy declaration page. However, the level of protection may vary depending on the company and state you live in.
Depending on state rules, some companies may offer lower limits of liability insurance coverage for occasional drivers and deductibles may be higher if there is full coverage. That is why it is important to check before you allow anyone else to operate the auto.
Description of occasional drivers changes depending on the company. While some companies may describe them as people who may use your vehicle once a month, others may describe them as people who use the insured vehicle less than 25% of the time. It is best to check with the agent if you have any doubt as to who is an occasional driver and who should be listed on the policy.
Furthermore, there are named drivers only policies, which only allow people who are explicitly named on the policy to operate the insured automobile. These types of policies are designed to be cheaper and that is why people who don’t plan to let their vehicle be used by anyone else may prefer them, providing their state laws allow them. You would probably know if this is the case because this condition is clearly written on the declaration page and exclusions and limitation section of the policy.
Excluded drivers aren’t allowed to use the vehicle as the name suggests. The policyholder and insurer have already agreed not to allow certain people to use the car and this fact has been endorsed on the policy. So, excluded people should never operate the auto under any circumstances. This practice is usually utilized to reduce premiums and it isn’t fair to get the discount and not follow through with its conditions. This can cause real problems when there is an accident involving an excluded driver.
It would be theft if the vehicle is taken without the consent of the owner and policy provides no liability coverage for thieves or people operating the car without consent or beyond the consent. But the vehicle would be covered for theft if it has Comprehensive coverage.