Lauren Brown’s aging parents moved in with her family last year. Now her multigenerational household includes two members of an elder age group as well as two teenagers who are covered under one auto insurance Braintree MA policy. They live in a charming, two-story suburban home in Braintree, Massachusetts, a city in the Greater Boston area known for its natural attractions and parks, trendy restaurants, and museums.
Multiple drivers living in one household are typically covered under a single car insurance policy, although there are situations in which drivers have a poor record (e.g., DUI and/or frequent accidents or moving violations) which can exclude them from coverage.
Brown called her insurance company to inform them about the new household members who would be driving the family vehicles (two midsize sedans and one SUV). While this did result in higher premiums, she did the right thing as failing to list all drivers might have resulted in a canceled policy and difficulty in obtaining new coverage should the policy be canceled due to non-disclosure.
Insurers rely on thorough information for all the drivers in the household, specifically the driving record, which sheds light on risk factors. Each driver will have different rates, although insurers generally base their premiums on the driver who is deemed the most expensive to insure.
A few years ago, Brown’s father was charged with DUI, so her insurance company refused to include him in the policy. (Note: Aside from DUI, excluded drivers may also have multiple accidents and/or tickets. Teenage drivers may earn this status even after less serious incidents due to higher risk.)
Brown’s insurer also warned her that allowing an excluded driver to operate a vehicle could carry a serious consequence: in the event of a car accident where an excluded driver is found to be at fault, her insurance policy would not cover the damages, but she would still be held liable for bodily injuries and/or property damages.
Policyholders are also liable for damages when they allow an intoxicated, impaired, or unlicensed driver to use their vehicles.
While adding new drivers to your car insurance policy often spells higher premiums, there are certain measures you can take to lower the cost. For instance, if you have adult children who attend college out of town, you can have coverage for them only when they are at home.
You may also drop the collision and comprehensive coverage if you drive an older, low-value car. While doing so may slash your premiums by almost half, take note that it may expose you to additional financial risk in the event of a car accident; one way to compensate for this is to go above the amount of your state’s minimum liability coverage requirement.
Purchasing multiple policies (e.g., car and home insurance) from a single company can also help with discounts or lower premiums, or at least more power in negotiating rates.
Finally, it pays to compare car insurance rates from different insurers to make sure that you get the best deal for your dollar.