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Car insurance when in an assisted-living facility


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Question: My father recently sold his home and moved into an assisted-living facility. He has kept a vehicle so that his friend can drive it on occasion to take my father shopping or to the doctor. Should he put as his primary residence the assisted-living home or his friend’s address?  If the friend were in an accident, would he be covered under my dad’s insurance?

Answer: Your father needs to tell his car insurance company that he moved to an assisted-living facility so that the insurer can record this as its policyholder’s new primary address.   

The garaging location for your father’s vehicle will depend upon where the car is kept at night -- at the assisted living facility or at his friend’s house. This address will factor into the calculations of your father’s car insurance rates because the geographical location is considered a risk factor by most insurers.    

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Your father also needs to notify his auto insurance provider that his friend will be driving his vehicle.  Insurance companies’ guidelines vary, but most will require your father to add the friend onto the policy as either an additional driver or occasional driver.

Many people assume that anyone that drives their vehicle will be covered as a permissive user of it; however, if someone has possession of the vehicle or uses it frequently, then normally the auto insurer will require the person actually be listed as a driver on the policy to be properly covered. Failing to inform your car insurance company of pertinent information about you, your vehicle and other drivers could result in coverages being denied due to misrepresentation. 

When adding a driver to your policy, the insurer will look at that person's driving history. Your father's premiums could rise. But they could fall, too, because of low mileage insurance discounts.

If your father is not going to drive at all anymore, he may ask about excluding himself as a driver and placing the neighbor on the policy as the primary driver.  Not all insurance companies will allow this.  If he wants to do a named driver exclusion and his current insurance company doesn’t allow it, he might want to shop around for an auto insurer that will.

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