Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Apr 20, 2020

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Things to remember...

  • The policyholder of a car insurance policy is the one who must pay the bill and manage the auto insurance policy in order to have coverage
  • A policyholder is sometimes also called the named driver for an auto insurance policy
  • The identity of the person who is the actual owner of an insurance policy will be included as part of the basic information regarding the policy
  • There can be two owners of an insurance policy
  • The policyholder must agree to any changes concerning the car insurance policy and is different from a driver who is simply listed as covered by the policy

The policyholder is the person who owns a car insurance policy. The named driver is always liable for paying the bills for the car insurance coverage and must verify any changes to the policy before they can go into effect.

Some policies may have more than one owner, which is often the situation for a married couple. There can be other listed drivers that are covered by a policy, but they do not have the same rights or responsibilities as the policyholder.

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Not Every Driver is a Policyholder


It is quite common these days for more than one licensed driver to be covered by the same auto insurance policy. This is especially true for families that have multiple drivers living in the same house.

The most important person for an auto insurance policy is the policyholder because they are essentially in charge of the policy.

If there are other drivers on the same policy, these drivers are considered listed drivers. This means that their driving records and credit scores are considered in terms of the price of the policy, but they are not the actual holders of the policy.

A listed driver can get coverage through the same policy, but they cannot actually make any changes to it.

While a person who is just listed as a driver on a car insurance policy has the right to drive some or all of the cars covered by that policy, they do not have the right to determine the status of any other driver on the policy.

A new teen driver is a good example of a driver who should just be listed on another car insurance policy because it would be far too expensive to insure that driver separately.

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Responsibilities of an Auto Insurance Policyholder

The most important responsibility that the policyholder has is to make sure that the monthly or semi-annual bill is paid for the policy. If the policyholder fails to do this or does not do it in a timely fashion, then all coverage under the policy could be canceled.

In exchange for the price that the policyholder pays, the auto insurance company agrees to cover certain losses, such as damage to a car listed on the policy. There may be certain exclusions for coverage, which could be found in your car insurance policy documents.

As the policyholder, you can also make decisions about the types of coverage that you should have on your policy. You can request to increase your coverage amount above the current policy limits that you have.

You can also add other coverages, such as the following:

  • Underinsured motorist coverage
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Collision coverage

The Difference Between Listing a Driver and Owning a Policy


You will have to carefully consider whether a driver should be added to a car insurance policy that you own.

If you are the policyholder, then adding a driver to your policy could mean that your bill for car insurance goes up. If a listed driver has a poor driving record, this could mean that you are in for an even bigger increase in your bill.

You can always choose to drop a listed driver from your policy at any point. You may want to consider doing this if the listed driver moves out of your house or is no longer driving one of the cars that are listed on your auto insurance policy.

You should also be aware of any regulations in your state on how many drivers can be listed on a certain auto insurance policy and whether those drivers need to have their own separate policy.

Your auto insurance company will almost certainly have its own set of regulations on this, too.

When you request quotes for auto insurance rates, be sure to ask the companies that you are considering what effect adding another driver will have on the rate that you pay.

Oftentimes, you will be asked by the insurance company to list all of the other drivers that live in your house so that they can determine your relative risk as a driver. This is a good time to ask about listing another driver.

Being a Car Insurance Policyholder

Being a car insurance policyholder means that you are the owner of an auto insurance policy and may also be referred to as the named driver on the policy.

If you are married, then it is likely that both you and your spouse are considered the named drivers on a policy.

You may also have listed drivers on your auto insurance policy, which basically means that those drivers have permission to drive the cars listed on your policy.

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