What is a car insurance policyholder?

The policyholder is the person who owns the insurance, chooses the coverage, and pays the bill. You can arrange to have two policyholders and multiple drivers.

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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 Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 25, 2021

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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 of the vehicle that are covered by a policy, but they do not have the same rights or responsibilities as the policyholder.

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Who are policyholders?

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It is quite common these days for more than one licensed driver of a vehicle to be covered by the same auto insurance policy. This is especially true for families that have multiple drivers living in the same house who don’t have separate policies. Additional people can be listed as drivers on a policy, such as the policyholders’ teenaged children, making them an insured person while driving the vehicle.

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Who is responsible for making payments to the insurance company?

The most important people for a vehicle insurance policy are the policyholders because they are the insurance customers and essentially in charge of the policy and responsible for the payments.

If there are other drivers of the vehicle on the same policy, these drivers are considered listed drivers and not policyholders. 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 and not responsible for any premium payments, nor will any claim be paid to them. The party will be listed as a driver of the vehicle in the policy details and insurance documents and will be able to provide proof of insurance as a driver.

Who controls the insurance coverage on a vehicle?

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 are not an authorized person who can determine the status of any other driver on the policy, file claim forms, check claim status updates, access billing details, change the terms of the policy with a customer service agent, or ask questions or make a request for services from the policyholder service center.

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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What are the responsibilities of an auto insurance policyholder?

The most important responsibility that policyholders have is to make sure that the monthly or semi-annual payments are 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 products, such as the following:

  • Underinsured motorist coverage
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Collision coverage

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What is the difference between listing a driver and owning a policy?

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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 certain auto insurance policies 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.

What do I need to know about 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 in the policy details.

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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