Here Are 11 Reasons Why It Sucks to Share a Car

Your seat's always just right. Your favourite station's always set. Ahh, having your own car has some really cool perks. However, if you share a car with family (siblings, cousins), your days are more like complaints over, "Why can't they leave my seat alone?" and "What is that awful smell?"

Here are several reasons why it sucks to share a vehicle (despite the money you're saving).

1. The stereo always blasts a horrible radio station you can't stand.

If the radio volume is an issue and you're tired of music blasting in your ears when you turn the ignition on, here's a tip: Ask your family to always turn the volume down when they turn the vehicle off. And, when you're ready for your next road trip, bring along your favourite playlists to personalize the experience.

2. Your seat's always flat or pushed up on the steering wheel and your mirrors are never right.

Who can drive with the seat completely flat? Apparently, your family members can. When you share a vehicle, expect that you'll have to adjust the mirrors and seat every time you drive. While it's unavoidable if there's a height difference, leaving a few minutes early for work or school will give you time for the necessary adjustments.

3. You're noticing dings and dents that weren't there before.

Not every driver is responsible. If you're seeing evidence of scratches and dents on your vehicle, it might be time for a "family meeting". Discuss parking safe distances from other vehicles and driver safety tips. And, make routine inspections before you get behind the wheel. That can help narrow down the culprit(s) causing the mishaps.

4. Your family members think "Routine Maintenance" only applies to computers.

If you're tired of having to check the air pressure in the tires and check the oil, it's time for a schedule. Outline the routine maintenance you need help with. Rotate the schedule every month and keep a backup can of oil, wiper fluid and Fix-a-Flat in the trunk (you never know).

5. Your family thinks you're funny when you "discuss" responsible car ownership.

When sharing a vehicle, remember, responsible driving is important. Stay alert, limit the horseplay, and pay attention to all road rules. And, of course, don't hit anything when mom's in the car.

6. You can't get rid of those weird smells.

Yup, weird odours are something else you'll have to put up with. Take away bags under the seat, half-eaten apples left in the door pockets - you name it, it stinks up a car.

To keep weird smells to a minimum, consider a "No food" in the car policy. Or, stock up on air fresheners. However, don't store aerosol cans in your car as they can explode in hot weather.

7. Your family members have been in a share of fender-benders or they're reckless drivers.

Under the same insurance policy? Accidents can raise your premiums and so can filing damage claims. An auto insurance policy must be in the name of the registered owner of the vehicle and an at-fault accident paid out under that policy will impact the premium of the vehicle's owner.

Consider paying out-of-pocket for small incidents and damages that you can afford to cover to avoid an increase in insurance premiums. Also keep in mind if damage costs are higher than the value of the vehicle, it might be time for a newer car.

8. Your interior is sticky and food crumbs are everywhere.

When untidy family members or a spouse leave crumbs and assorted litter in your car it can be a real pain. Because ants, raccoons and the occasional curious bear might be drawn to the food smell, keep a mini-vacuum and a container of Wet Ones in your car. And, dispose of used fast food bags after your McDonald's or Tim Horton's run.

You never want to see any strange critters loitering around your vehicle begging for Tim Bits!

9. You're finding "strange" items left behind.

The occasional coffee cup on the hood. A wallet. People have left all kinds of belongings behind when sharing a car. One man left a tray of perogies on his hood to "see what would happen" prior to a snowstorm. He forgot to tell his roommate and when it rained the next day, melted perogies came dancing down the windshield. Dipping sauce, anyone?

Other items left behind include:

  • Drum cymbals (hope they didn't crash into anything)
  • Children's snowsuits (aww, how thoughtful)
  • A blank death certificate (wait, what?)
  • Dress shoes before a wedding (talk about cold feet)

10. You don't want to be stuck having to wash the car all the time.

Depending on the weather, there's all kinds of mud, grime and road salt that can spoil your precious ride. Rotate the schedule for who has to take the car to a car wash. That way you're not always footing the bill for the car cleanup.

11. The risk of a DUI can raise your insurance.

Another concern when sharing a car and being on the same insurance policy is the driving records of all of the drivers. A conviction for a DUI or if one of the drivers has a number of speeding tickets will significantly impact what you pay for car insurance. All drivers of the vehicle, and their driving records, are taken into consideration when calculating the premium.

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Sharing an Auto Insurance Policy with Family Members

When you set up your insurance policy, you might have questions about adding family members and if you'll save money with a shared policy. To add family members to your policy, contact your auto insurance provider. Every person added to the policy will have the same benefits as you.

Examples

A married person might add their spouse onto an existing policy. Or, parents might add their child to their existing policy once their son or daughter starts driving.

When to Add and Remove Drivers

Most auto insurance companies require that you list all regular drivers of the vehicle.

When to add family members, spouses and teens to your policy

  • You should add a teen driver to your auto insurance policy as soon as they get their licence. Adding them to your existing policy can cause your premiums to increase. To help offset the higher costs, shop online for cheaper insurance and talk to your teen about safe driving practices.
  • You might want to add a spouse and their vehicle onto your auto insurance policy. This will get you a multi-vehicle discount which should lower the insurance costs on both vehicles.

When to remove family members, spouses and teens from your policy

  • You might want to remove your spouse, a teen driver or a family member from your auto insurance policy if they have a lot of accidents, citations and/or DUIs. DUIs can make them a higher risk to insurance companies. Because their driving performance can raise your premiums, let them price out their own policy and compare rates online to find the cheapest auto insurance. An insurer can drop them if they don't alert them to a DUI and continue to drive. Additionally, if they are in an accident while impaired, the insurer might not pay the claim. If you want to remove the driver from your policy, you may have to sign an agreement with the insurance company excluding that driver from your policy. This could mean that if you allow the excluded driver to drive your vehicle, there would be no coverage.

Shop for the Best Auto Insurance

Sharing a car with family members has its share of advantages and disadvantages. While you might save on insurance, it can be a headache when everyone's driving the same vehicle. Add family members or a spouse to your policy to save on insurance premiums. Add teen drivers to help them get their first auto insurance policy. However, expect your rates to go up. If a family member, teen driver or spouse on your policy has accidents, citations and/or DUIs, let them start their own policy so your rates won't increase. To shop for insurance, visit Kanetix.ca.

With Kanetix.ca, you can compare the best car insurance rates from Canada's leading insurers (and you might save a few hundred dollars!).

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