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HomeCar Insurance ResourcesTypes of drivers for car insurance

Car insurance companies often categorize drivers into different types to assess the level of risk associated with insuring them. This categorization influences the premium rates. Here are some common types of drivers recognized by insurers in Canada:

  1. Primary Driver: This is the person who drives the insured vehicle the most. The primary driver’s driving record, age, gender, location, and other factors significantly impact the insurance premium.
  2. Secondary or Occasional Driver: These are additional drivers who use the vehicle but less often than the primary driver. They are also taken into account when determining insurance premiums.
  3. Young or New Driver: These are drivers who are either under the age of 25 or who have recently obtained their driver’s license. These drivers are generally considered high risk due to their lack of experience, and therefore may pay higher premiums.
  4. Senior Driver: Drivers over a certain age, often 65, may be considered senior drivers. Depending on the insurer’s policies, these drivers may pay higher premiums due to the perceived increased risk of accidents.
  5. High-Risk Driver: These are drivers who have had multiple accidents, traffic violations, DUI convictions, or other marks on their driving record. High-risk drivers will typically pay higher premiums, and some insurers may refuse to insure these drivers.
  6. Low-Risk Driver: Also known as a preferred driver, this is someone with a clean driving record, no violations or accidents, and who meets other criteria that indicate they are less likely to file a claim. Low-risk drivers generally enjoy lower premiums.
  7. Commercial Driver: These drivers use their vehicle for business purposes, such as delivery drivers or real estate agents. Commercial drivers generally require a separate commercial auto insurance policy, which can differ in cost compared to personal auto insurance.
  8. Non-Owner Driver: These drivers don’t own a car but they drive occasionally, maybe borrowing a friend’s car or renting one. Non-owner car insurance is a policy for these individuals. It usually offers liability coverage, but may not include collision or comprehensive coverage.
  9. Student Driver: These are younger drivers who are still in school. Many insurance companies offer discounts for students who maintain good grades, under the assumption that responsible students are likely to be responsible drivers.
  10. Defensive Driver: Many insurance companies offer discounts to drivers who have completed a defensive driving course. This is because these drivers have been formally trained in risk recognition and safe driving techniques, which could potentially reduce the likelihood of accidents.
  11. Military or Veterans: Some car insurance companies offer special policies or discounts for active-duty military personnel, reservists, and veterans. The conditions and eligibility criteria for these policies can vary significantly from one insurer to another.
  12. Multi-Car Drivers: These are individuals or households that insure more than one vehicle on the same policy. Insurers often offer discounts to these policyholders under the assumption that each car will be driven less than if it was the only car on the policy.
  13. Rideshare Drivers: These are drivers who work for ridesharing companies like Uber or Lyft. These drivers often need additional coverage (rideshare insurance) to fully cover them, as their personal policy won’t cover accidents that occur when they’re logged into the ridesharing app and the full commercial coverage from the ridesharing company typically only applies while they have a passenger in the vehicle.
  14. Learner or Permit Driver: These are new drivers who have obtained a learner’s permit but not yet a full driver’s license. They are generally required to have a licensed driver in the car with them. Their lack of experience on the road often leads to higher premiums, though they are typically insured as an additional driver on a more experienced driver’s policy.
  15. Retired Drivers: These individuals typically no longer commute on a daily basis, and often qualify for lower premiums due to reduced mileage on their vehicles.
  16. Excluded Driver: This refers to someone specifically named in an auto insurance policy as someone who is not covered by the policy. Excluding a driver can sometimes lower rates if the excluded individual is considered high-risk, but it also means the policy won’t pay for damages if the excluded driver drives the car and causes an accident.
  17. Classic Car Owners: Drivers who own vintage or collector’s vehicles often need special classic car insurance policies, which take into account the unique valuation and care that these vehicles require.
  18. Named Driver: This is someone who is specifically named on an insurance policy and thus is covered by it. This may be important in households with multiple drivers and multiple vehicles.
  19. Foreign Driver: This refers to individuals who are driving in a country where they are not residents. These drivers may need a special kind of insurance policy, often called international car insurance, depending on how long they plan to drive in that country.
  20. Good Driver or Safe Driver: Many insurance companies offer discounts to drivers who maintain a clean driving record for a certain period of time. These discounts can be quite significant, as these drivers are considered less likely to file a claim.
  21. Occasional Business Use Driver: These drivers use their personal vehicles for occasional business tasks, like driving to meet clients. They may need additional coverage beyond what their personal auto policy offers when the vehicle is being used for business purposes.
  22. Bundle Policyholders: These are individuals who have multiple insurance policies (like home, auto, and life) with the same company. These policyholders often receive a discount for having multiple policies, which can offset the costs of their auto insurance.
  23. Driver with Disability: These drivers have specific modifications made to their vehicles to accommodate their disabilities. Insurance for these drivers not only considers typical factors, but also the cost of the modifications.
  24. Emergency Drivers: These drivers, such as ambulance drivers, police officers, or firefighters, often require additional coverage due to the nature of their driving.
  25. DUI Convicted Drivers: Drivers with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) conviction are usually considered high risk by insurance companies, and they face higher insurance premiums. Some insurance companies specialize in high-risk auto insurance for such individuals.
  26. Occasional Business Use Driver: These drivers use their personal vehicles for occasional business tasks, like driving to meet clients. They may need additional coverage beyond what their personal auto policy offers when the vehicle is being used for business purposes.
  27. Farm Vehicle Drivers: Individuals who use their vehicles on a farm may be eligible for specific farm vehicle discounts.
  28. Motorhome Drivers: Motorhomes, or recreational vehicles (RVs), require specific types of insurance due to their combined motor vehicle and home functions.
  29. Pay-Per-Mile Drivers: Some insurers offer pay-per-mile insurance, where the premium is based on the actual mileage driven, which could be beneficial for those who don’t drive very often.

About the Author: Valerie D. Hahn

Valerie is an insurance editor, journalist, and business professional at RateLab. She has more than 15 years of experience in personal financial products. She strives to educate readers and ensure that they are properly protected.

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