Can you be the main driver on their policy?
No. This is known as 'fronting' and is illegal and can constitute insurance fraud.
The main driver must be the person who drives the car most regularly, so if you claim to be the main driver on your child's policy you could be breaking the law.
What are the risks?
If you are caught any claim made could be refused and it could invalidate your insurance policy altogether. If this happens it will make it harder and more expensive to find cover in the future.
Your insurer may choose to add you to the Insurance Fraud Register (IFR) if you are found guilty of fronting. This is an industry wide database of known insurance fraudsters available to over 300 members of the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
Being on the IFR may mean;
You will be rejected for future policies
You have special conditions added to your policy
It will be harder to obtain other financial products like loans or mortgages
You can find out more about the IFR, including what information they hold and how you can get your name removed, on their website.
Although you may think it is unlikely you will get caught, it is not worth risking having your insurance cancelled and being left out of pocket through a rejected claim.
If your child writes off the car and the insurance company discover you have been fronting, they will deny the claim. This means you will receive no compensation for the loss of the vehicle, and if a third party is involved you may have to recover some of these costs too.
Who is the main and named driver?
The main driver is the policyholder and should be the person who uses the car most often.
A named driver is someone you add to your policy that can then drive the car. They have the same level of cover as the main driver, but should not be the main user of the car.
If you are unsure whether you are fronting, for example if you think you share the car equally with your child, contact your insurer.
Add your child to your policy
This is a popular approach as it allows young drivers to start driving without paying huge premiums for their own policies, but they cannot drive your car more than you.
Even if it is your car, it could be interpreted as fronting if your child drives it more often than you as the named driver.
If you add your child to your policy as a named driver it will normally make your premiums more expensive.
Insurers rarely offer a no claims bonus to named drivers, but look for ones that do. Even one year's no claims could mean a 30% saving when they come to get their own policy.
You may need to pay an amendment fee of up to £35 to add a driver to your existing policy, and check the policy carefully as you could lose your bonus if your child makes a claim.
Follow this guide if you want to make an amendment to your car insurance policy.
Pros and cons
Cheaper than a sole policy
Could help them build up a no claims bonus
Increases your premium
Could affect your no claims
You may have to pay an amendment fee
Add yourself to your child's policy
Taking out a policy with your child as the main driver and you as a named driver will usually cost more than the other way around, but it could offer cheaper premiums compared to a policy in your child's name only.
Insurers sometimes offer a cheaper price if an experienced driver also uses the car. This also means they can build a no claims bonus as the main driver that will reduce their premiums significantly when they renew.
Pros and cons
Cheaper than a policy in their name only
Allows them to build up a no claims bonus
They can use the car most often
Protects your no claims
More expensive than them being named on your policy
How to cut the cost of a policy in their name
A sole policy will usually mean expensive premiums, but there are things you can do to keep cost down, including:
Multi car policy. They cover all the cars at your property, and offer a discount compared to separate standalone policies. Some insurers will still cover your child's car if they are at university or have left home. Find out more in our multi-car guide.
Black box insurance. This is a popular option for young drivers that can lower premiums and encourage safe driving. It monitors your driving to earn you a discount if you drive safely. Here is everything you need to know about black box insurance.
Get the right car. The car you drive will make a huge difference to the cost of insurance, so encourage your child to go for a small and safe vehicle in a low car insurance group. You can find out more in our guide to car insurance.
How else can you cut the cost?
For more options including getting extra driving qualifications like Pass Plus, driving fewer miles or increasing the excess read this guide to find an affordable policy for new drivers.