Got a freshly minted driver in the family? Adding a new name to your car insurance would mean higher premiums. But if you skimp on it, you face hefty excess when accidents happen. So, to add or not?
Owning a car in Singapore would mean being able to get anywhere on the island in less than 35 mins, but it also means high maintenance costs, hefty parking fees and not forgetting, monthly car insurance premiums.
If you’ve clocked in years of experience on the road, have very minimal claims and a high No Claim Discount (NCD), chances are you’ve probably managed to reduce the premiums you’re paying for since you first started out.
But if you’ve got a kid who has just gotten their driving license, everything changes. Not only do you have to chope the car days before to avoid any schedule clash, but you’re also worried about paying for damages from your own pocket in case of an accident if your child is the one behind the wheel.
So it begs the question: is adding a new named driver into your car insurance worth it? Read on to find out.
What is a named driver and is it illegal to not include them?
A named driver is essentially a person who is permitted by the owner or the main driver of the car to drive the vehicle. Including a named driver under your car insurance will entitle them to the scope of coverage that you have under your plan, which depends on the type of insurance plan you purchase.
Whether you, the main driver, was in the car or not when an accident takes place, the named driver will be able to make claims under the car insurance.
And while most may think that it is illegal to not include named drivers under your car insurance, it really isn’t. For example, if you are a parent who owns the family car and your son who has recently got his driving license is infrequently driving, it might not be mandatory to add his name.
Because of his inexperience, you can expect to pay higher insurance premiums as he is deemed as a ‘high-risk driver’ in the insurer’s eyes, and is more likely to get into an accident compared to an experienced driver. Though adding him would mean higher premium prices, it is highly recommended that you include him anyway because unnamed drivers in an accident will result in a higher excess.
What’s the difference between a named and unnamed driver?
As mentioned earlier, a named driver is anyone whose name is included in the car insurance and will be entitled to the same coverage as the main driver under the insurance plan.
An unnamed driver is anyone who drives your car, whose name is not included under the car insurance.
The main difference between the two becomes apparent when an accident occurs. Named drivers will be able to make claims under the insurance plan, while unnamed drivers are usually not able to, though some insurers allow claims for unnamed drivers with an additional access. It is best to check with your insurer or the policy plan for the details. On top of that, unnamed drivers may also have to pay a higher excess imposed by the insurance company.
What types of car insurance are there and what do they cover?
Car insurance is mandatory for all motor vehicles in Singapore as it keeps your motor vehicle insured in case of a traffic accident. You can, though, choose the type of car insurance that differs in its coverage to best suit your needs.
- Third Party Only (TPO) car insurance: covers only damage to other people or their property and is the most basic and cheapest type of plan. This means that any repairs or replacements needed for your vehicle will have to be forked out by you.
- Third Party, Fire & Theft (TFPT) car insurance: covers loss as per TPO plans plus theft and fire damage to your car - nothing else. This is the mid-tier plan that many may opt for if they have older cars.
- Comprehensive car insurance: covers mostly everything including repairs, replacement of spare parts and damage to third parties. This all-encompassing plan is highly recommended, as it gives you the highest tier of coverage.
How much more expensive will my premiums be?
Since we’re talking about new, inexperienced named drivers, you can expect your premiums to increase. However, it depends on a few factors:
Age and gender
Age comes into play when it comes to car insurance premiums as it would mean having less experience on the road. Younger drivers of 24 or 27 years old (depending on the insurer) and below are charged much higher premiums than their older counterparts as they tend to be new and less experienced, and therefore are more prone to accidents.
Gender also makes a difference. And if you think female drivers have to pay more, you’re wrong. Male drivers are more reckless in the insurer’s eyes and are more likely to get into a road accident, and hence would have to pay higher premiums. However, this is not practised by all insurers.
Driving experience matters too. You could be a 40-year old driver who’s just gotten your license a year ago, and that would also bring your premiums up due to the lack of experience on the roads.
A new driver may have to pay hefty premiums at the start, typically those who have less than two years of driving experience. But don’t worry, premiums will gradually decrease after you clock more hours on the road.
On top of this, a lower NCD and a bad driving record will also increase your monthly premiums, though it is not applicable in this case since the new driver is assumed to not have any prior experience driving their own vehicle.
Surprise, surprise. Not many may know that your occupation would also play a part in determining your car insurance premiums.
Certain occupations that are always on the road have to pay more, as more time driving would mean a higher chance of getting into an accident. Job holders like salesmen or house-call technicians who are always travelling to and fro will have to pay more, while desk-bound job-holders like an accountant or a marketing executive will pay less.
In the insurer’s eyes, married individuals are less prone to accidents as they are deemed to be more careful on the roads, knowing that they have a family to come home to. As such, married individuals are entitled to lower premiums compared to others who are single. However, this is not practised by all insurers.
Is it worth it?
If the new driver drives a lot, it may be best to get the new driver insured as a named driver as well, in case of any mishaps. But if he is only driving once in a few weeks, then the higher premiums per month may not be worth it.
On top of that, it also depends on how cash strapped you are. It is best to check with your insurance company the excess that you’ll have to pay in the event the unnamed driver meets with a traffic accident. If you think you can afford the one-time excess (assuming it doesn’t happen often) comfortably, opting for higher premiums to accommodate the new named driver may not be justified.
You can also check with the insurance company exactly how much more you’ll have to pay for premiums; if the new driver ticks all the boxes in the section above, you can expect to fork out a lot more money for the premiums per month.
However, it’s best to keep in mind that whenever a named driver gets into an accident there is a chance your NCD might be affected.
How do I add a new driver and who can I add?
In Singapore, you can add anyone under named drivers for your car insurance plan. This includes family members, friends, guardians, and even employers and employees who are sharing the car with you.
However, if the said named driver has a low NCD and history of claims, there is a chance that the insurance company will deny said driver to be included as a named driver, and the car insurance application might be rejected.
To add a new named driver, you can check your car insurance online and include the named driver under your plan (usually up to four). You can also call your insurance agent or insurance company to help you out, and clarify any queries that you may have.
You’ll have to fill in the named driver’s particulars which usually include their occupation, years of driving experience, marital status, number of past claims made, NCD and other applicable discounts like the Certificate of Merit in Singapore - a document issued by the Traffic Police (to attest that you have been driving safely for a period of time, which could entitle you to a discount by car insurance companies).
Certain car insurance plans and companies like MSIG or FWD automatically cover any drivers that drive your car without having to name them. So you should check the terms and conditions when you’re choosing to get a new car insurance plan or renewing it.
New named driver: To add or not to add?
With all the information that you have, you can now decide for yourself if adding a new named driver is worth the higher premiums or not. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons:
|Pros of adding a new driver||Cons of adding a new driver|
|Entitled to the same scope of coverage for claims||More expensive premiums|
|Peace of mind when they are using your car||NCD might be compromised if claims are made|
|Don’t have to fork out high excess in case of a traffic accident|
Whether you decide to include the new driver as a named driver or not, being covered by car insurance is not a free ticket to reckless driving on the roads. Be sure to drive carefully and stay safe!
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