Question: I need to borrow my brother’s car for a week. He says he needs money to add me to his insurance policy. Does he? I thought I’d be covered under his policy. Is he trying to scam me?
Answer: We don't know your brother. You do. Is it more likely that he's scamming, confused, or bought a cheap policy that limits who can drive?
In general if you borrow a car from a person you don’t live with you are usually covered as a permissive user. This means their auto insurance coverages will extend to you without being placed on the policy as a driver.
There are, however, some insurance policies where only the named insured and other named drivers are covered by the car insurance policy, so it could be possible that your brother knows this and is correct that he would need to add you to the policy as a driver to have his auto insurance coverages extended to you. (See "Who can drive your car?")
If he needs to add you to the policy, it is possible your brother might see a rate increase. Adding a driver doesn’t always cost more to the policyholder, but your driving record would be taken into account. If the auto insurer feels you will add risk, then normally it would cost to add you as a driver.
If he is just uncertain, he needs to ask his agent to review the policy details and tell him if you will be extended coverages without being listed on the policy or if you need to be placed on the policy as an additional driver or occasional driver.
Guidelines vary from insurer to insurer. If you are going to use his vehicle this one time for one week, you might be covered under the terms of his current policy, but if you were going to continue to drive the car on a regular basis for the foreseeable future, you might need to be listed as at least an occasional driver to be properly covered.
Will you believe him if he tells you he's confirmed the extra cost?
If you don’t have a vehicle of your own or routinely available to you, then a non-owner’s auto insurance policy may helpful to you. This type of policy can limit the amount of risk someone takes when lending you his or her car.
A non-owner policy offers secondary liability coverages that would be extended to a borrowed car if the car owner’s limits are exceeded. Collision and comprehensive coverages aren’t available with a non-owner policy, but medical payments, uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverages typically can be included.