Why on earth do car insurance companies need to know who the regular driver is? They make such a song and dance about it, even going so far as to reject a claim if they find that you’ve provided the wrong driver details. Seems a bit petty, right?

Actually, it makes a lot of sense… When you understand the hows and whys. Alas, there’s a lot of confusion and disappointment linked to this term because it’s so widely misunderstood. For instance, if your car’s been involved in an accident and you weren’t driving at the time of the incident, you might think that your claim will be rejected. This isn’t always the case and it just depends on who’s been named as the regular driver, who’s been named as the nominated driver, and what rules your insurer has concerning these incidents.

Let’s clear up all the darned confusion and shed light on this infamous regular driver business.

Defining the term

In the realms of insurance, the term ‘regular driver’ simply refers to the person who drives the car most often. (Not the furthest, but the most often.)

This is a key difference to take note of, because your son or daughter might borrow your car once a week to drive 200kms and you only tally around 75kms over the remaining 6 days… Because you drive the car more often, you need to be noted as the regular driver. Your child can be listed as a ‘nominated driver’.

Nominated drivers vs. regular drivers

Another phrase that’s often confused with the ‘regular driver’ is the ‘nominated driver.’ The ‘nominated driver’ is someone you’ve permitted to drive your car. This person is listed on your insurance policy.

The difference between the ‘regular driver’ and the ‘nominated driver’ is that the regular driver drives your car most of the time and the nominated driver only drives your car sometimes.

Anyone else should be nominated if you know that they’re going to use your car occasionally.

Ok, but why do insurers need to know this?

When your insurer calculates your monthly premium, they use a range of details about you and the car to build a unique risk profile and work out the risk that they need to insure. Naturally, they build this risk profile based on the person who’s going to drive the car most often. Not someone who might use it once in a blue moon.

Here’s an example

Let’s look at a mother and her son who live together. Statistically speaking, young male drivers are more likely to have an accident than older female drivers. If the mother’s the regular driver, she’ll pose a lesser risk and therefore pay cheaper premiums. But let’s imagine that she’s the individual driving 200kms once a week (turns out it she’s part of a poker team who travel to play other poker teams within a 200km radius) and her son is the 1 who uses her car for the rest of the week. Even though it’s her car, her son’s actually the regular driver and so she wouldn’t be paying the correct premium to cover his risk as the most frequent driver.

That’s why her claim could be rejected, especially if the car is involved in an accident where her son was driving.

So, you see, that’s why it’s so very important to inform your insurer who the regular driver of your car is, right from the start. And if anyone else drives the car from time to time (like the mother in the example above) then they need to be listed as the ‘nominated driver’. This ensures that you’re correctly covered and that you can avoid disappointments when you claim.