Imagine this scenario: You have a friend who recently moved and wants to borrow your car on a Saturday afternoon to make a one-off run to IKEA. They want to buy a few things for their new home, and you want to help. But you’re concerned about whether your car will be covered if there’s a fender-bender in the crowded parking lot.
As long as your friend is a licensed driver — and you’ve consented to the loan of your vehicle — your insurance travels with your car. Your friend will be covered in the event of an accident, unless they’re doing something unsafe or illegal, like driving under the influence.
Likewise, you can rest easy lending your vehicle to visiting relatives who want to take in an afternoon of sightseeing. As long as you consent to the loan, a licenced driver is behind the wheel, and they follow the law, your coverage will be in effect.
Now suppose you have a friend — or partner or roommate — who uses the car you drive to work to run errands on weekends. In this case, you’ll want to list them as a secondary driver. Insurance companies won’t view this person in the same way as someone who borrows your car for a one-off use. They see greater risk, and you’ll need secondary driver coverage.
In fact, it’s generally good practice to list any licensed driver in your household on your policy. (Ontario and Alberta require it). At minimum, talk to your agent or broker about your potential needs for secondary driver coverage. Tell them who else may drive your car and how often.
And remember, honesty is the best policy. Don’t try to avoid higher premiums by saying your teenage son or daughter won’t be driving your new SUV and then lend it to them to go to occasional school sports events. Your insurance company will likely take a dim view of a claim if your teen has an accident.