Who should I list on my auto policy?
Jan 30, 2020 06:00AM
● By Pamela Johnson
This is a frequent question that we receive for auto insurance. The MA auto policy requires all licensed household members or occasional operators to be listed on your policy. Let’s break this down into “all licensed household members” and “occasional operators.”
All licensed household members are exactly what it sounds like. If you are a parent in a household, this could mean your children when they get their license for the first time. It could be your elderly parents who live in an in-law apartment above the garage. It can even be for your old college roommate, Eddy, who has been sleeping on your couch for the past 2 years. Anyone who has an active driver’s license and is living at your household needs to be listed on your auto policy.
The “occasional operator” is a little more ambiguous. The MA auto policy does not define what an occasional operator is based on the number of times someone uses your vehicle. Our office describes an occasional operator as someone who uses your vehicle 4-5 times per month on a consistent basis. For example, if I use my elderly neighbor’s vehicle to drive them to their doctor’s appointment every Monday and their game night every Thursday, I should probably be listed on their policy. However, if my boss asks me to take her car to pick up a pizza for the office as a one-time favor, then I do not need to be listed on her policy.
The rule really comes down to regular access to the vehicle and regular use of the vehicle. If you are a household member, the theory is that the car and keys will be readily available to any member of the household on a consistent basis. If you use the vehicle on a regular basis, you should be included no matter what.
There is also an option for “deferring” or “excluding” a driver from your policy. To qualify for a deferral status, a person must be rated as a primary driver on another MA auto policy. To defer a driver means that their driver’s record and risk will not be a primary factor when pricing your policy. Be careful though; most companies will have a minor rate increase for simply including an additional person. Excluding a driver requires signed documents and invites an element of risk.
In summary, if a person is a household member or uses the vehicle on a regular basis, then that person should be listed on your policy. It is always better to be safe rather than sorry when it comes to listing drivers on your policy.
This advertorial was written by Paul Ostrander of Ostrander Insurance (www.ostranderinsurance.com), 94 David Road, Bellingham. Tel: 508-966-1116; email: Paul@OstranderInsurance.com