Occasional Driver Insurance

Your child just got their driver's license and they're begging to borrow your car. What do you do next? Whether it's your child, a friend, a family member or someone you live with looking to regularly use your car, they'll need to be insured before putting your car into drive. This is where occasional driver insurance kicks in. Occasional driver insurance is an addition to your current policy and allows those listed to have coverage while driving your vehicle. If you're unsure about whether or not you need to add someone to your car insurance policy, who can even be added, or how it'll affect you and your current policy, we've done the leg work to help you decide what makes sense for your situation.

What's the difference between a primary driver and an occasional driver?

The primary driver on a policy is typically the person who will be driving the car the most. This is usually the person who owns the car, although it doesn’t have to be. If there’s someone else who will also be driving the car occasionally (as the name states), but not as often as the primary driver, they should be listed as the occasional driver on the policy.

Who can be added as an occasional driver?

Anyone with a valid driver's license who will be driving your car frequently can and should be added as an occasional driver to your policy. On the flip side, if you have a valid license, don’t own a car but drive someone else's car regularly, you should be added as an occasional driver to the owner's policy.

Depending on the province you live in, all licensed members in your household will also need to be listed as occasional drivers on your policy, unless they have a vehicle with an active insurance policy of their own. But let's say you have a new driver in your household with only a driver's permit. They won't need to be added to your policy as an occasional driver just yet. Once they get their driver's license, then you'll need to consider their insurance options.

When do I need to add occasional drivers to my policy?

Here's a general rule you can follow: If you have someone who plans on driving your car regularly (besides yourself), they'll need to be added as an occasional driver to your policy before driving off in your vehicle. Keep in mind that adding someone as an occasional driver doesn’t necessarily mean they have to reside in the same household that you do (province dependent). A big factor to consider is the frequency that the person will be driving your car. If, for example, you let a trusted friend or neighbour (with a valid driver's license) borrow your car for a day, it won't be necessary to add them as an occasional driver on your policy. By allowing them to borrow your car, you're also extending your insurance to them as well for that time. Should anything happen to your vehicle while they're driving it, your insurance will cover it, not theirs.

How would primary/occasional driver assignment work if:

(1) I'm the primary driver but don't use the car regularly?

Every vehicle listed on a policy requires a primary driver, regardless of the usage of the vehicle and regardless of who owns it. That means if you're the only driver of the vehicle, you will still need to be listed as the primary driver even if you don't use the car that often. If there is another licensed driver that now uses your car more frequently than you do, your policy will need to reflect that change. The licensed individual will become the primary driver and you will switch from primary to occasional.

(2) There are multiple people licensed in my household but not all of us actually use the car?

Although this varies by province, the person that drives the car the most will be classified as the primary driver (usually the owner of the car) and the remaining people will need to be added as occasional drivers, regardless of whether they drive the car or not.

The only exception to this is if the person listed as primary (or the registered owner of the vehicle) signs an exclusion form. This will typically exclude all coverage when the person listed drives the vehicle on the policy. The exclusion form will need to be signed by both the excluded driver and the primary driver and will need to be requested separately per each person that you plan to exclude from the policy.

(3) There are multiple people licensed and multiple cars insured in my household?

Your insurer will need to evaluate who will be listed as primary drivers and who will be occasional drivers. If you have two cars insured and four people licensed at home, two of those individuals will be primary drivers and the remaining two will be listed as occasional.

If, on the other hand, you have four cars insured and four people licensed, your insurer will typically determine that each licensed driver be the primary driver of at least one vehicle, even if that vehicle is not the one they're primarily driving. Each driver will also be listed as the occasional driver on the remaining three vehicles in which they are not primary.

Keep in mind that every situation is different and there are some exceptions that may need to be factored into your policy. Talk to an insurance advisor for more details on what your insurance policy will look like for you.

Will adding occasional drivers to my policy affect the cost of my insurance?

Well, have you ever asked to add guacamole on the side of your meal? It almost always comes at an extra cost, right? Just like how you would expect an extra charge for adding guac, adding on an occasional driver to your policy will inevitably result in an extra charge, too. When adding additional members to your policy, you're essentially asking your insurer for extended coverage to protect the additional people who will be accessing your vehicle. And because not all drivers are the same, your insurer will need to evaluate the risk level of each occasional driver. Your insurer will consider many factors like the number of years the driver was licensed and even their driving history/record, just to name a few. Then the new price of your policy will reflect the coverage needed to properly insure everyone on your policy, including your occasional driver(s).

How can I save money when adding an occasional driver?

When adding occasional drivers to your policy, you may be eligible for different types of discounts depending on the type of driver you're adding. Here's a couple scenarios with associated discounts you can consider:

  • If you're adding a child who's a new driver that successfully completed a driving course.
  • If you're adding a child who will be living away from home for school, they may qualify for a student discount.
  • If you're adding your elderly parents who've maintained good driving records, they may be eligible for our claims free reward.
  • If you're adding a driver who has their own car and insurance policy and they're insured with the same insurer as you, you could qualify for a multi-vehicle discount.

At TD Insurance, we offer over 30 ways to save. If you're curious to see what other discounts may apply to your policy now that you've added an occasional driver, talk with a licensed advisor. Alternatively, you can also get a quote. In as little as three minutes, you can get an idea of what your new policy will look like, discounts included.

How do I add someone to my policy as an occasional driver?

If you have someone who needs to be added to your policy as an occasional driver, it's important that you contact your insurer as soon as you can. The quicker you notify your insurer, the quicker they can set up the driver on your policy and be covered before getting behind the wheel of your car.

If you're a TD Insurance customer, we've made the process even easier — you might even say it's as easy as adding guac. You can add occasional drivers to your policy through TD MyInsurance or the TD Insurance app. Just log in, select "My Policies", click "Add a driver" and fill out all the necessary information for your occasional driver. If you need any help, we've got advisors ready to support you.

Can I get occasional driver insurance without being added to someone's policy?

Yes and no — let us explain. What we mean is that you can get insurance without being added to someone's policy, but it wouldn't technically be classified as "occasional driver insurance." If you're looking to get insured without being part of someone's policy, you can consider non-owner car insurance. If you borrow your neighbour's car on a more frequent basis, or you regularly rent cars, non-owner car insurance may be more suitable for you. This option is a great alternative that allows you to insure yourself, rather than the vehicle you're driving. That way you'll always be covered no matter what vehicle you find yourself in.

Remember, it is illegal to drive without insurance here in Canada, so make sure you and those you may lend your car to, have the proper coverage before driving from point A to B.