What Is An Excluded Driver?
An excluded driver is someone in your household that you intentionally exclude from your auto insurance policy. Once they’re removed from your policy, excluded drivers can not legally drive your vehicle and would not receive coverage from your insurer under any circumstances. If an excluded driver gets behind the wheel of your car and causes an accident, they could face hefty fines, a suspended license, and even jail time. Further it is unlikely that the insurer will pay for damages caused by that driver.
Since high-risk drivers could cause insurance rates to be higher, most auto insurance policyholders choose to exclude flawed or risky drivers from their car insurance coverage to avoid paying steep premiums. To exclude a problematic driver in your household from your insurance coverage, you must file a driver exclusion form with your insurer.
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How Does Sharing Vehicles and Insurance Work?
Auto insurance typically covers all household licensed drivers unless explicitly excluded. If they have an accident in your car, your policy usually pays, regardless of their own insurance, as coverage follows the car, not the driver. However, you might exclude high-risk household drivers since insurers assess premiums based on these members. Having household members with traffic violations can raise your rates.
Household members on your policy might include:
- Spouses or significant others
- Licensed children
- Other cohabiting family members
While your policy likely covers those outside your household driving with your consent, it’s not always clear-cut. Since policies vary, lending your car can have different implications. Consult your insurance agent before lending out your vehicle.
How Do Driver Exclusions Work?
Excluding high-risk drivers from your car insurance policy can often prove beneficial. Here’s how driver exclusion works and why you may want to consider it.
Who Is Considered A Problem Driver?
Problem drivers are prone to reckless driving behavior and may have traffic violations on their records. And because they’re more likely to get into accidents and file insurance claims than average drivers, auto insurers typically charge them higher premiums to offset the risk. Here are some traffic violations problem drivers may commit:
- Driving under the influence
- Running red lights
- Improper turns or maneuvers
- Texting while driving
- Driving on a revoked, suspended, or restricted license
Sadly, the consequences of such reckless driving extend far beyond higher insurance costs for policyholders. In 2020, drunk driving and speeding were the two leading causes of fatal car accidents in the United States, resulting in 11,654 and 11,258 fatalities, respectively.
Why Exclude A Driver?
Problem drivers, teenagers, and people over 70 are often considered high-risk drivers since they’re more likely to cost insurers in claim payouts. Because these types of drivers are riskier to insure, your insurance company may charge you a high premium rate or even threaten to cancel your policy if you refuse to exclude high-risk drivers from your policy.
For example, if you live with roommates who are reckless drivers, consider excluding them from your policy since their poor driving habits could hike your auto insurance rates. By listing them as excluded drivers, you can put the insurance company at ease and avoid overpaying premiums.
How Do You Know It’s Time To Exclude a Driver?
Here are a few scenarios where you should take action and exclude a driver from your policy instead of putting it off until a later date.
- The insurer sends you a letter with a notice of rate changes.
- The insurer threatens to cancel your auto insurance coverage if you fail to exclude a driver from your policy.
- A household member will no longer drive your vehicle.
What Happens if an Excluded Individual Drives Your Car?
Here’s what could happen if you allow an excluded driver to operate your car:
- Policy Cancellation: Your insurer could refuse to renew your policy since allowing an excluded driver to operate your vehicle can be considered a breach of contract.
- No Insurance Coverage: If the excluded driver causes an accident, you or the excluded driver will be responsible for paying the full cost of the damage, including legal fees and medical bills.
- Legal consequences: The excluded driver could face hefty fines, license suspension, and even jail time for driving without insurance.
Where Are Driver Exclusions Legal?
Some states prohibit driver exclusions since they believe it increases the likelihood of uninsured drivers and could put others on the road at risk. Here are nine states that currently ban exclusion for named drivers:
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
Note that even if your state permits driver exclusions, your insurance company may not since rules for excluding drivers could vary by insurer.
How Much Does It Cost To Keep a Problem Driver?
Average Monthly Premium
Average Driver, Own Vehicle
Average Driver, Shared Vehicle
$930 – $1,800
Problem Driver, Own Vehicle
$183 – $272
Problem Driver, Shared Vehicle
$1,329 – $2,574
Keeping a problem driver on your policy can raise your monthly auto insurance rates by up to 82% in some cases. If you’re on a tight budget and can not afford to pay higher premiums, excluding high-risk drivers from your auto insurance policy could provide the financial relief you need.
How To Exclude a Driver
Here’s how to exclude a licensed driver from your policy to lower the risk and potential costs of including them in your coverage.
1. Contact Your Insurance Provider
You must typically contact your insurance provider directly by phone, online, or through their mobile app to initiate a driver exclusion. Since the exact process may vary depending on the auto insurance company, be sure to contact your insurer’s customer service department for more details.
2. Provide a Reason
After you ask to exclude a driver from your policy, your insurer may inquire about the reason behind your request to determine if it’s valid. Here are common instances where an auto insurance company may grant a driver exclusion.
- The driver has a poor driving record, such as individuals with multiple moving violations and DUIs.
- The driver is young and inexperienced.
- The driver is old or has diminished motor skills.
3. Fill Out a Driver Exclusion Form
If your insurance company approves the exclusion, they will ask you to fill out a driver exclusion form to confirm that you do not want a particular driver covered under your policy. Prepare to provide the following information:
- Your name and signature
- The names of the drivers you want to exclude
- The birthdays of the drivers you want to exclude
4. Update Your Policy
After excluding a driver, you will receive an updated version of your auto insurance policy. Carefully review the updated policy to ensure you’ve excluded the correct drivers and provided accurate information. If you spot any errors, contact your insurer to correct them immediately.
What Happens Once a Driver Is Excluded?
Once you exclude a driver from your auto insurance policy, you promise your insurer that the excluded driver will not operate your insured vehicle under any circumstances. If the excluded driver gets behind the wheel of your car, they’re considered uninsured. In other words, the insurance company would not cover the cost of injuries or damages if they were to get into an accident while driving your vehicle.
Can You Bring An Excluded Driver Back?
Yes, you can bring an excluded driver back onto your policy. However, your insurance company may ask you to provide documentation showcasing that the excluded driver is no longer considered high-risk. Similar to requesting a driver exclusion, the process of removing an excluded driver from your policy may vary, so be sure to contact your insurer for more details.
Pros and Cons of Excluding Drivers
Before submitting the driver exclusion form, consider these pros and cons to decide whether to exclude a driver from your auto insurance policy.
- It could lower your insurance premiums.
- The driver exclusion process is relatively straightforward.
- The exclusion will remain active even after policy renewals.
- The excluded driver is not allowed to use your vehicle.
- If the excluded driver is involved in an accident with your vehicle, you and the excluded driver may be liable for damages.
- Not all states allow driver exclusions.
Alternatives To Excluding Drivers
Consider these alternatives if you do not think excluding a driver from your policy is the right move.
Away From Home Discounts
An away-from-home discount is a viable alternative to a driver exclusion for college students who do not drive the family car often. For example, if your 21-year-old son only drives the insured vehicle when he returns home during the summer, instead of excluding him from your policy to lower your premium, take advantage of the away-from-home discount to save as much as 25% on the premium cost.
This way, you can keep your college child on your auto insurance policy without paying full price. Contact your insurer to see if this discount is available to you.
Assign The Driver To a Specific Vehicle
If you have multiple vehicles insured under your policy, you may be able to assign a driver to a specific vehicle they will use. Doing so limits their coverage to that vehicle only. This method could be a viable alternative to driver exclusions since it ensures that the assigned driver has coverage while driving the designated vehicle without affecting the coverage of other drivers or vehicles on the policy.
Raise Your Deductible
Your deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket toward an accident before your insurance company covers the rest. Raising your deductible could result in lower premiums since you’re taking on more risks. So, if you could afford to pay a higher deductible in the event of an accident, increasing your deductible amount could be a viable alternative to excluding drivers from your policy.
An add-on is additional coverage you can purchase for a specific need. Common auto insurance add-ons include roadside assistance, engine protection, and collision coverage. However, extra protection can often drive up your auto insurance cost. If you do not want to remove a high-risk driver from your policy but can not afford higher premiums, consider removing some of the add-ons you have.
Shop Around For a New Policy
Not all car insurance companies are alike. Some may raise your rates substantially if you refuse to exclude a driver from your policy, while some may not. By shopping around for a new policy, you may be able to find an insurer willing to offer you a more affordable rate without requiring you to fill out a driver exclusion form.
Putting It All Together
Excluding high-risk drivers, including those with a history of DUIs or speeding tickets, from your auto insurance policy could lower the cost of your premium and free up your budget. But remember, driver exclusion rules vary by state and insurance company. Before making any changes to your policy, check with your car insurance representative or agent to see if driver exclusion is an option for you.