Knowing the technical terms used in an insurance contract can be daunting if you’re not an agent. For example, what is the difference between a policyholder and a registered driver? This question is important when it comes to understanding how your auto insurance contract works.
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Policyholders can affect how much auto insurance costs, who can make changes to the policy, and when those changes occur. bankrate has broken down exactly what a policyholder is so you can better understand your role when it comes to your insurance contract.
what is a policyholder?
A policyholder (or policyholder) is the person who owns the insurance policy. In most cases, the policyholder is the only person who can change the policy. the policyholder is also the person responsible for ensuring that premium payments are up to date. Along with the policyholder, your contract may also include additional drivers. An additional driver is anyone other than the policyholder who is covered to drive.
Usually, the owner of an auto insurance policy is the owner of the vehicle, but not always. for example, some companies require that the primary driver be the policy holder, regardless of whether he owns the car. he can also be a policyholder if he doesn’t own a vehicle.
what is the difference between a policy holder and a registered driver?
Insureds purchase and administer the insurance policy, including adjusting coverage as needed. Most auto insurance policies allow for multiple insureds so spouses and partners can keep the policy together.
but other drivers may be protected even if they don’t meet the definition of insured. these are called enumerated drivers. a teenager who recently received her license is probably a registered driver and not a policyholder, for example. If that teen were to call the insurance provider and try to change her car insurance coverage, she probably couldn’t do it. that right is generally reserved for the policyholder.
how to determine what types of coverage you need as a policyholder
As a policyholder, you are responsible for making sure your policy offers the protections you need. As you search for the best auto insurance policy, there are specific types of coverage you can include, including:
Let’s take a closer look at these options:
Most states require this type of auto insurance. You most likely need bodily injury and property damage liability coverage to legally drive in your state.
Bodily injury liability helps with medical expenses if you hurt someone in an accident. Similarly, property damage liability helps with the property of others damaged in an at-fault accident. That means you can help pay for repairs on another driver’s car, or even fix your neighbor’s garage after you accidentally crash into it, for example.
some states require pip, which is considered no-fault coverage. Regardless of whether you are at fault in an accident, it may cover medical expenses for injuries sustained by you or the passengers in your vehicle. pip can also help with lost wages if you or one of your injured passengers is unable to work for a period of time after the accident.
If you are the sole owner of your vehicle, comprehensive coverage is optional. however, you may want to consider adding it if you don’t currently list it on your policy. After all, your car isn’t just at risk when you’re driving. if a large tree branch falls on it overnight or someone steals it, your comprehensive coverage will help with the resulting expenses up to the value of your vehicle less your deductible.
You may have noticed that liability coverage only pays claims to the other parties involved if you are at fault in an accident. If you want coverage for your vehicle, you’ll need to add collision. Collision coverage pays to repair or replace your car if you are in an accident. As with comprehensive coverage, collision is optional if you’re not financing or leasing, and a deductible usually applies.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of available auto insurance coverages. For additional protection on and off the road, you may want to add other types of coverage, such as roadside assistance, uninsured motorist, or gap insurance.
can you change the owner of a policy after buying a policy?
technically no: you can’t change who owns the policy after you buy a policy. however, there are times when you may need your policy to reflect a different person as the policy owner. In this case, your insurance company will cancel your current policy and rewrite it in the name of the new policy holder. Some examples of when this might happen include:
- sell your vehicle: When you no longer need to insure a car because you’ve sold it, you can contact your insurance company for steps to cancel your policy. the purchaser of your vehicle will then be responsible for purchasing the insurance on your behalf. some states require you to cancel your registration before canceling the policy. Otherwise, you run the risk of incurring fines for the expiration of the insurance.
- Death of Policyholder: If the policyholder dies, their insurance must be canceled and rewritten for the new owner of the vehicle. Please note that some insurance companies will require a death certificate or executor of the estate documentation to make changes to the policy.