Who Can Drive My Car Under My Insurance in Ontario?
Ontario’s auto insurance rules cover both the driver and the vehicle in the event of an accident. Incidental medical and vehicle repair expenses are then applied by the policy in order to cover such costs. But what if someone I know uses my car and gets into an accident? What does that mean for me and my insurance policy? Can I be denied insurance? Let us look into Ontario’s Secondary and Occasional driver rules to give you peace of mind when lending out your vehicle to someone else.
The Primary Driver
The person who uses a vehicle the most is considered the primary driver on the insurance policy. The insurer can then base their premiums on who the primary driver is, taking into account their age, driving experience, previous tickets/claims or frequency of using the car. However, it is the responsibility of the primary driver to include secondary drivers and occasional drivers in their policy.
Insurance companies assess risks with regards to having your vehicle on the road. If you live with licensed drivers they should be included in the policy because they probably will drive your car at some time. This paints a clearer picture for the insurance company of who can possibly get behind the wheel of your car. Remember, insurance companies can deny a claim if there are undeclared drivers residing in your household and using your vehicle(s).
The Secondary Driver
Anyone who is over 25 years old, residing in the same household as the primary driver, and uses your vehicle regularly but does not use it more than yourself is considered a secondary driver. For example, your spouse who uses the vehicle to run errands and do grocery shopping is defined as a secondary driver on your insurance policy. A teen who has a G2 class driver’s license and uses the car regularly is also a secondary driver. You should always include any licensed family members on your claim.
In Ontario, Insurers define an occasional driver as someone under 25 years of age who resides in the same household and drives the car a few times a week, when it's not being used by the primary driver. In fact, the term “occasional driver” generally refers to a specific class of driver that generates a separate premium from the primary driver. Most often, occasional drivers are the children of the primary drivers. But they could also be a cousin, nephew, or anyone under 25 year that resides in the household and has access to the insured vehicle(s).
Insurance companies will also acknowledge that at times you will lend your car to someone other than your secondary and occasional drivers. For example, a friend may need to use your car for a single shopping trip while theirs is being repaired. Ontario auto policies will automatically provide coverage when you loan your car to someone who does not reside in your household provided they are legally able to drive in Ontario and they are driving with your permission. However, should they have an accident while driving your car, the loss will be charged to your insurance record as though you were the driver.Remember, loan your car, loan your insurance.If you require more information on adding a secondary and occasional driver to your car insurance policy, please contact us and we will be glad to answer any of your questions.