What Is an Excluded Driver?

Excluded Drivers Explained in Less than 5 Minutes

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An excluded driver is someone that you intentionally ask your auto insurance provider not to cover. Generally, this is someone you have had listed on your policy that has become a problem driver. Once they are excluded from your policy, that person cannot drive your car and be covered by your insurance company.

Learn more about excluded drivers and what alternatives you may have to excluding them from your car insurance policy.

Definition and Examples of Excluded Drivers

If you have someone on your insurance policy that has become a problem driver, your insurance premiums can continue to rise the more driving trouble they get into. Your insurance company may send you a notice saying that you have a few options—pay an increased premium or exclude the driver from your policy.

If you choose to exclude the driver, you're removing them from the policy's coverage as a driver. This means that that person cannot legally drive any covered vehicles under your policy and be covered by insurance.

Excluded household members are still covered as passengers.

If an excluded driver operates one of your vehicles and causes an accident, there will not be any insurance coverage. That person is considered an uninsured driver and will be held liable for all damages and injuries.

How Does Driver Exclusion Work?

If you elect to exclude one of your household members from your auto policy, the provider will update it and name the excluded driver and the conditions they would not cover.

The policy owner and provider sign and agree that the named household member is no longer covered when driving one of your insured vehicles. However, they are still covered by the policy if they are a passenger in one of your insured cars.

Some states don't allow driver exclusions, citing it as an incentive to drive uninsured.

Once a household member is named as an excluded driver, they should not drive any vehicles covered by the policy. If they do, it is the same as driving without insurance. If an accident occurs, both the vehicle owner and the excluded driver could be held personally liable for damages.

The length of exclusion depends on the reason it became an issue in the first place. If a driver was excluded to appease the insurance company, that driver might be able to become covered again by building up a good driving record and maintaining a valid license.

Typically, to reinstate an excluded driver as an insured driver, you need to speak with your insurance agent. Verification of a valid license and driving record will need to be provided. Once a driver's license and driving record are in order, restoring their status with the insurance policy should be a quick and painless process.

Here's an example of excluding a household member. If your child was 17 years old and had their driver's license, they could drive your car if you had them listed on your insurance policy. If they were to get a few speeding tickets, your insurance premiums might go up, depending on the severity of the offenses.

Exclusions don't necessarily have to be immediate family members. Anyone that lives in your household can be excluded, such as a roommate or the distant cousin that needed a place to stay for a few months.

After two speeding tickets, your child causes a wreck. No one was injured in the crash, but your insurance provider decides that they're a risky driver and sends you a letter notifying you of your options to pay higher premiums or exclude them from the policy.

Six months after you exclude them from your vehicle driver coverage, you think they have learned their lesson. You contact your agent and discuss the terms of getting your child reinstated as a driver on your policy.

Can a Car Insurance Company Force Me to Exclude a Driver?

Insurance companies can't "force" you, but they can make you feel like you are being forced into an exclusion by either charging you an unrealistically high premium rate or threatening to cancel your policy if you do not agree to the exclusion. The company's reasoning is simple: Bad drivers are risky to insure, meaning that they are much more likely to cost an insurer more than you pay in premiums in claim payouts. That, in turn, makes you, as the policyholder, a riskier proposition for them to cover. So it's simply better for them just to cancel your policy than to take on the extra riskier driver.

Most often, the person that may be excluded is a close relative, maybe a spouse or child—someone who you want to and may need to allow to drive your vehicle. As a result, if your insurer is insisting on excluding this driver from your policy, you are going to have to come up with another solution.

The first thing to try is shopping around. Just because your current insurer is demanding an exclusion doesn't mean all the other ones will. In fact, there's a decent chance you will find at least a few auto insurance companies willing to insure you without the exclusion.

You could also shop around and see if it makes sense for the individual driver to get their own insurance policy tailored to high-risk drivers. If the math makes sense, you could purchase your own insurance policy and list the high-risk driver as an excluded driver, and then you could also have a separate high-risk policy for that driver. You're probably going to end up paying a fairly high premium, but if staying with your current insurer means excluding someone that you don't want to exclude, it may be one alternative.

Alternatives to Named Driver Exclusions

Keep in mind that not all insurance companies allow for excluded drivers, mostly preferred carriers. Under some policies, if one driver in the household is ineligible, then the entire household is ineligible. Other policies and carriers may not be so stringent but they also might not allow exclusions. They might require the driver to be dropped from coverage and purchase insurance themselves.

Once driver exclusions are implemented, they are rolled into renewals and changes unless the policyholder and company agree to add the driver back to your policy.

You can always leave the driver on your policy if the provider allows you to. Your premiums will increase, but how the policy is paid for is up to you. If your speedster son wants to drive, maybe he could find a job to help pay for his portion of the increased insurance premiums or get his own policy.

You may be able to send your problem driver to a driver improvement or education course to appease the insurance company. You might not have a choice in the matter—a judge might decide the driver needs additional training if the issue is put before them, or the insurance company may require it for continued coverage.

Before you decide to exclude a driver in your household from your policy, it helps to do the math. After doing your research, reach out to an insurance agent who can walk you through how much money you will save by excluding or removing a driver. You may also look into how expensive it would be to add a policy for them separately.

Key Takeaways

  • Driver exclusion is naming a driver on your insurance policy that won't receive coverage if they drive one of your vehicles.
  • Your insurance provider cannot exclude a driver from your policy without your consent.
  • Some states and companies do not allow excluding a driver.
  • You might be allowed to keep a problem driver on a policy with increased premiums.