My Tenant's Auto Insurance becomes my problem??
June 18, 2006 1:16 PM   Subscribe

Do I REALLY need to be listed on my tenants auto insurance as an additional driver if I'm never going to drive the car?

We have a basement apartment in our home. Our new tenant has Traveler's Auto Insurance. We have State Farm. Traveler's has threatened to cancel her policy if we don't give them our driver license and insurance info. They say that since the apartment isn't a separate unit from the house (it shares the basement entrance in the rear) we are potential additional drivers on the car.

I'm worried about two things:

1. My data privacy. I know - that's kinda weak, but it's still a concern.
2. That my insurance company will see me listed somewhere as an additional driver on another car and raise MY rates!

Any thoughts or recommendations on what I should do??
posted by matty to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total)
I've never heard of such a thing. As long as you have your own auto insurance, which you say you do, you should be covered even in the unlikely event you do have to drive your tenant's car (which would presumably be only for a minute, to move it out of someone's way or somesuch).

I would ask your tenant to call Traveler's, and offer to provide proof that you have your own insurance. If that's not good enough for them, I'd suggest he/she threaten to take her business elsewhere.
posted by cerebus19 at 1:28 PM on June 18, 2006

I would talk with an independent agent and see if this is indeed normal and within the realms of reason for auto insurance. You're not out of line to question this or be slightly worried about it.
posted by FergieBelle at 1:29 PM on June 18, 2006

Perhaps there's a waiver your tenant can sign, stipulating that you won't be covered. Or tell the insurance company that you've decided to give the basement apartment its own, locked entrance.
posted by wryly at 1:46 PM on June 18, 2006

Is your house zoned to have an apartment? My neighborhood is filled with Victorians that were chopped into apartments then later restored to single family homes, and houses that didn't keep renting are now no longer classified as multi-unit structures. I am by no means suggesting that you are a slumlord; I would just be cautious of leaving a paper trail in this scenario if the apartment isn't legal.

So, yes, your concerns are valid and I would call your tenant's insurance company.
posted by frecklefaerie at 2:10 PM on June 18, 2006

All great suggestions. Thanks!!
posted by matty at 2:30 PM on June 18, 2006

I was in this exact situation last year when I took in a tenant. Their insurance company wouldn't even accept the fact that I'm not liscensed to drive - they insisted on a registration # from my government ID.
posted by chudmonkey at 2:34 PM on June 18, 2006

I would change their address and add a mailbox next to yours. I grew up at 100 Smith St in Minnesota, and the illegal basement apartment was 100 1/2 Smith St, my dad made up the address.

Then you live at a different address and it shouldn't be an issue.
posted by thilmony at 2:56 PM on June 18, 2006

FYI, the reasons for the company to do this are for cases where family members "rent" rooms in a house from one another in attempts to hide who is really driving the car and where they are driving the car. "No, really, I don't live in the bad part of town. I live with my brother. I don't even drive it very much. In fact, it's not even my car, it's his."

If this is really a tenant, not a family member, tell the insurance company to screw off.
posted by frogan at 3:38 PM on June 18, 2006

Keep in mind that this is a situation that varies from state to state. An answer posted here may come from someone familiar with one state but who doesn't know squat about your state.

In my state, there is coverage for anyone who lives in your house and who is related to you. The rules are probably different in your state.
posted by megatherium at 7:59 PM on June 18, 2006

In most states, as long as you have converage, they should accept a copy of your insurance policy to disclude you from your tenants policy. In some states, they are required to list everyone over 16 in the household, regardless of license, insurance, etc.

It also varies by company. Call their insurance company yourself.
posted by SuzySmith at 8:47 PM on June 18, 2006

I have Travellers, I was told about this, and told that my insurance would be canceled if I failed to notify Travellers when someone moved into the basement apartment below our apartment.

Give them your name and phone number and tell them that Travellers will have to send out a privacy agreement if they want any more than that. This is well within acceptable, since nearly every company that uses DL#s is required to give you a form that says how they will use your info.

They have reasons, as stated above, but I can't see how this is your problem... Of course I'll ask my new neighbors after a break-in "get-to-know-you" period... but if they say no, I'll have to forget to tell Travellers. I wouldn't think of demanding my neighbors to give their DL#s to me for my insurance.
posted by hatsix at 9:59 PM on June 18, 2006

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