Should you add named drivers to your motor insurance?
Nowadays, it is very common that a vehicle is driven regularly not by a single driver, but by multiple ones – whether they be family members, employees, business partners, or other. In these situations, you might consider adding such additional drivers onto your insurance policy as named drivers. While this may seem like a no-brainer, sometimes it does more harm than good. In other words, there are some criteria you should consider before adding a named driver.
In this week’s Kwiksure Singapore blog article, we will discuss the pros and cons of adding named drivers.
What’s a named driver?
A named driver is someone other than the listed primary driver on an insurance policy who also drives a vehicle and shares the same level of coverage with the policyholder. Insurers used to incur higher premiums for adding other drivers. However, now most of them allow policyholders to add 3 to 5 named drivers for free, under the condition that they are not young and/or inexperienced (i.e. over 26 years old with more than 2 years of driving experience), or dangerous drivers.
Pros of adding a named driver
If you add a named driver to your car insurance policy, that driver is entitled to the same scope of coverage stated in the insurance terms as you are. It is usually recommended to only add drivers with a safe record to your insurance policy.
For example, if your wife (a named driver) is driving your car and hits a lampost accidentally, she can submit claims for third-party property damage on your motor insurance plan, regardless of whether or not you’re in the car when the accident takes place.
You can save on the excess/deductible you’ll need to pay when claiming for unnamed drivers. We’re going to delve into this feature later on.
Cons of adding a named driver
However, adding irresponsible, immature drivers as named drivers can cause you great trouble.
First, If you add dangerous, inexperienced drivers as named drivers on your insurance policy, it will greatly increase the risk of your vehicle getting into a traffic accident. Consequently, if you lodge a claim to the insurer for an accident, your No Claims Discount (NCD) will likely be lost upon policy renewal.
Second, when you try to list drivers as named drivers, insurers will review their driving records and adjust premiums accordingly, or even force a higher excess upon you.
Below are some examples of drivers you might not want to include. Avoid adding a named driver who:
- Has accrued a high number of speeding tickets;
- Has a record of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Is under the age of 25 or have less than two years of driving experience;
- Has a medical condition that impairs driving (e.g., weak eyesight, mental illness);
- Has issued too many claims on your policy.
What’s an unnamed driver?
An unnamed driver is a driver who isn’t included in your insurance policy.
Pros of having an unnamed driver
Keeping dangerous drivers as unnamed can save you from potential premium hikes. Besides, theoretically speaking, they should drive your car less frequently as they are not named. It reduces your car’s chance of being involved in an accident.
Cons of having an unnamed driver
If an unnamed driver drives your car (with or without your permission) and gets into an accident, regardless of which party is at fault, you will only have two options.
Since your insurance policy does not include the unnamed driver, you can choose to pay for the damage and/or medical bills of victims out of pocket.
Alternatively, you can choose to submit your claims to the insurer, but you’ll have to pay for the unnamed driver’s excess/deductible first. Of course, doing so may also reduce your NCD in the next policy term.
Moreover, some insurance policies (usually those for high-performance cars) include a “restricted driver” clause, which prohibits unnamed drivers from using the car. So if an unnamed driver is involved in an accident, the policyholder will not be eligible for any compensation.
Let’s say Mr. Lam has purchased comprehensive motor insurance for his BMW. One night, his son Peter took the car out and accidentally damaged a postbox.
Unfortunately, Mr. Lam did not add Peter as a named driver, and he was only 23 years old with 1 year of driving experience when the accident occurred. The maintenance costs for the car and the postbox totaled SGD$7,000, and Mr. Lam’s insurance excesses are as follow:
|Excesses||Amount (In SGD)|
|Young (under 25)||$1,000|
|Inexp. (under 2 years of holding a full license)||$1,000|
|Third party property damage (TPPD)||$1,000|
The table above shows that Mr. Lam has to pay for a total excess of SGD $6,750 himself before getting any reimbursement. Although he could still obtain SGD $250 compensation from the insurer, in the end, he decided to settle the payment out of pocket and did not file any claims. This is because he didn’t want the insurer to reduce his 60% NCD to 30% next year.
Still unsure? Seek professional advice!
As you can see, while it’s a common practice to include other safe drivers as named drivers, whether you personally want to add one or not should still vary on a case by case basis. Drivers should weigh carefully between the pros and cons of named drivers before making the decision. The same rule also applies to whether to submit a claim after an accident involving a named or unnamed driver.
Kwiksure Singapore boasts extensive experience in matching customers with the insurance plans they need. Our experts will lead you through the process, from selection, purchase, and administration all the way to claims and renewals. Contact us today with any questions you would like answered, as well as to get a free quote and plan comparison!