What is a policyholder for car insurance?

A policyholder for car insurance is the owner of the policy. This is generally the person responsible for paying the bill and adding or removing coverages and drivers. Other drivers on the policy are called listed drivers. Learn the differences between these terms.

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UPDATED: May 29, 2022

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Joel OhmanUPDATED: May 29, 2022Fact Checked

Here's what you need to know...

  • Policyholders can make changes to the policy, unlike a listed driver 
  • There can be multiple policyholders on one car insurance policy 
  • Policyholders can be added and dropped as needed to a policy

A policyholder is the owner of the car insurance policy. Policyholders are the only ones who can make changes to the car insurance coverage and are responsible for payments. There can be more than one policyholder name on a car insurance policy, and you can add multiple drivers to it as listed drivers.

Read on to learn more about policyholders, their responsibilities, abilities, and more.

What is a car insurance policyholder? 

Policyholders own the insurance policy. If you’re unsure about your policyholder status, account information should clearly state the policyholders and listed drivers.

You can also double-check by calling your car insurance company and speaking to a representative. If you aren’t a policyholder, the original policyholder must add you as one.

Policyholders don’t have to be the insured on a car insurance plan. For example, a parent can purchase separate car insurance for their teenager and be on the account as the policyholder. Still, the car insurance coverage doesn’t need to cover the parent if they have their own car insurance. Below, we’ll go over what the policyholder can do and their responsibilities. 

Policyholder Responsibilities and Abilities 

If you are the policyholder, you have a few responsibilities. Policyholders are on the hook for monthly payments, even if there are listed drivers on the policy.

Of course, if the policyholder allows a coverage lapse, all drivers on the policy will be without car insurance. Even though policyholders are responsible for maintaining coverage payments, they also have full control over a policy. The policyholder can do all of the following: 

  • Add and drop coverages 
  • Add and drop drivers onto the policy 
  • Add and drop cars onto the policy 
  • Add another policyholder 
  • Cancel policies 

Only policyholders can make the above changes to car insurance policies. Listed drivers can’t make changes. What is a listed driver? The next section covers the difference between a policyholder and a listed driver. 

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What’s the difference between policyholders vs. listed drivers? 

A listed driver is someone the policyholder adds to the policy but doesn’t have any control over the policy. For example, parents who purchase a policy may add their children to the policy when they turn 16 years old. Their teenage drivers would be on the insurance policy as listed drivers, not policyholders.

There is usually a limit on how many listed drivers and vehicles can be added to one car insurance policy. Ask the car insurance company how many insured drivers you can have on one policy if you have a large family.

If you purchase car insurance for company employees, you’ll need to buy fleet or commercial insurance to cover multiple drivers. Shopping around and comparing the best car insurance companies can help you find a good rate.

Can you have more than one policyholder on a single policy? 

Can there be more than one policyholder? Most insurance companies allow more than one policyholder on a car insurance policy. Allowing more than one policyholder lets partners or spouses purchase a policy and change it.

If you’re the original policyholder, you can call your car insurance company to add another policyholder. You may even be able to do it on your online car insurance account. Anyone you add as a policyholder is authorized to change the car insurance policy, from cancellation to adding coverages. 

Changing an Auto Insurance Policyholder 

What if the policyholder needs to change? There are a few reasons a policyholder might need to be changed. One instance is when you wish to transfer ownership to someone else, such as a spouse or partner. Another time the policyholder might need to be changed is if the policyholder passes away

In the first instance, it’s generally easy to change the policyholder. In the second instance, it might take a little more time whether you choose to close the policy or change it to your name.

If you’re related to the policyholder who passed away, it will generally be easier to transfer the policy to your name or close the account. The car insurance company will likely ask for proof of death, such as a death certificate. If you aren’t related to the policyholder, it may be harder to close the account or get yourself as the policyholder.

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The Final Word on Car Insurance Policyholders 

Policyholders are responsible for the car insurance payments, and they also have full control over a policy. Unlike listed drivers, they can make changes to a policy, such as adding cars or coverages.

There can be more than one listed policyholder on a car insurance policy, allowing a couple to make changes. If need be, you can add or drop policyholders as necessary. 

If you want to become a policyholder and buy a car insurance policy, shopping around for car insurance quotes will help you find the best rates in your area.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

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