What is a policyholder?

Your insurance provider will ask you to distinguish between different policyholders. This is one of the many things you should consider when buying auto insurance. Some people will be called policyholders (or policy holders), while others will go by the name of listed drivers.

Policyholders need to be aware of their responsibilities, as they are responsible for paying the premium. It is possible that you are wondering who a policyholder actually is. These questions will impact everything, from how much you pay for auto insurance to the ability to adjust your policy.

What does it mean to be a policyholder

A policyholder is the person who holds the policy in insurance. You are the policyholder. This means that you can adjust the policy. It is also the responsibility of policyholders to ensure that their premiums are paid.

There are many ways to become a policyholder of car insurance. The homeowner is the policyholder for homeowners insurance. It’s the renter who is covered by renters insurance. Auto insurance is different. You can have a policy and not own a car.

What is a policyholder in car insurance? You are the policyholder if you purchased the auto insurance policy. This does not mean that you are the only one who is covered. Your policy can be extended to include all vehicle owners, and in most cases blood relatives, who live with you. List drivers are people who are not policyholders but are covered by your policy.

What is the difference between a policyholder versus a listed driver?

The policyholders purchase and manage the insurance policy. They can also adjust coverage as necessary. Many auto insurance policies permit multiple policyholders, so spouses and partners can have the policy together.

Other drivers are also eligible for protection, even if they don’t meet the policyholder criteria. These drivers are known as listed drivers. For example, a teenager who just received their license is likely to be a listed driver but not a policyholder. The insurance company would not allow the teen to cancel their auto insurance policy. This right is usually reserved for the policyholder.

How to decide what coverage you need as a policyholder

You are responsible for ensuring that your policy provides the protections you require as a policyholder. You may wish to consider the following coverage options when you are looking for the best auto insurance policy:

Type of coverageIt Protects
LiabilityThis coverage covers you and any listed driver who causes injury or damage to others behind the wheel.
Personal Injury Insurance (PIP).This policy covers medical expenses if you or your passengers are injured in an accident.
ComprehensiveThis coverage covers non-driving events such as theft, vandalism, or falling objects.
CollisionThis coverage pays to replace or repair your vehicle after an accident.

Let’s take a closer look at these options.

Insurance coverage

This type of insurance is required by most states. To legally drive in your state, you will likely need to have both bodily injury coverage and property damage liability coverage.

If you injures someone else, bodily injury liability will pay for their medical bills. Property damage liability covers any property that is damaged by an at-fault accident. It can pay for repairs to another driver’s vehicle, or repair the garage of your neighbor after you have accidentally backed into it.


PIP is required in some states. This coverage is also known as no-fault insurance. It can pay for medical expenses related to injuries you or your passengers sustain in an accident. PIP can also cover lost wages for you or your passengers who are incapacitated due to the accident.

Comprehensive coverage

Although this is optional, you will probably want it. Your car is at risk even if you’re not driving it. Your comprehensive coverage will cover the costs resulting from a tree branch falling on your car or theft, up to your policy limits.

Collision coverage

You may have noticed that your liability coverage does not cover you if you cause an injury to another person. You might also consider collision coverage, which is an optional coverage that can be used to repair or replace your car. Your policy limits will still apply, so it is a good idea to get enough collision coverage to cover your vehicle in the event of total loss.

Additional coverage

This list is not exhaustive. You might consider adding additional types of coverage to provide extra protection, such as roadside assistance or gap insurance.

What happens if the policyholder has to change?

You are responsible for managing your coverage and paying the premiums. In the following situations, it might be a good idea to leave the policyholder alone:

  • Insurance short-term transfer: You may transfer your vehicle’s policy to the new owner when you sell your car. This will allow them to legally drive it. This allows them to continue driving the car while they wait for a policy to be established. They will likely set up their own insurance policies soon.Call your insurance company if you’re about to sell your car. They can advise you on whether they would recommend a temporary transfer, and if so, what they do.
  • Transfer ownership: At some point, you might want to transfer ownership. Perhaps you were responsible for the premiums and now your partner is interested in taking over. Your insurance provider can help you transfer your policy. If you wish to keep your insurance, make sure that you remain listed as a driver on your policy.
  • Death of policyholder: You will need to transfer the policy to another member of your household or to yourself if your policyholder dies. Your insurance provider should be able transfer the policy to your account fairly quickly.


Each driver who is a protected driver under an auto insurance policy is listed on the policy. However, not all policyholders are listed. The policyholder who manages the policy is the most basic definition. Policyholders have the ability to adjust coverage and pay their premiums on time. Other drivers listed in the policy are covered by the coverages. However, they are not responsible to manage or control the policy.