Excluded Drivers: Does Everyone in Your Home Need to Be Insured?

If someone in your home doesn’t drive, do they still need to be included on your car insurance policy? Find out the story behind excluded drivers.

A key in a car door.

Working for an insurance company, I get all sorts of questions from my friends. Over time, I’ve amassed enough knowledge to answer most of them on my own, but recently, I received a question that I hadn’t heard before.

My friend, let’s call her Suzi, doesn’t drive. She’s quite petite (child sized, in fact) and can barely see over the wheel, so she leaves the driving to her 6-foot-tall boyfriend instead. Nevertheless, she’s required to be on her boyfriend’s car insurance policy. Suzi had heard the term “excluded driver” before and wanted to know why it couldn’t apply to her.

Stumped, I contacted the experts in our customer service department (such friendly people!). And boy, did they have a lot to say on the subject. Special thanks to Nicole D. and her team of insurance experts!

Excluded driver defined

In some states, if you don’t want a driver in your household to be listed on your policy (for example, a roommate who has her own insurance), you can ask your insurance company to specifically exclude that person from your policy. By doing so, you’re certifying that this person will not drive your car.

If the excluded driver doesn’t have their own insurance (and, in some cases, even if they do), and you let them drive your car, you could be liable for all damages and injuries if they have an accident.

To help protect their customers from this major financial risk, many insurance companies won’t allow you to exclude an uninsured driver from your policy.

Who must be listed on a policy?

The short answer is that all drivers in your household should be listed on your policy. But I’m much too verbose for a short answer, so here are more details.

In insurance terms, a driver can be anyone who has the knowledge and ability to drive, even if they don’t have an active license. This can include someone whose license is expired, suspended, or revoked, as well as someone who’s never had a U.S. license, like a recent immigrant.

When drivers live in the same household, everyone theoretically has access to your vehicles. Even someone who “never drives your car” might get behind the wheel in an emergency — and just imagine what kind of risk someone who never drives could pose!

Additionally, some people may be considered household members even if they don’t live with you full time (children in shared custody, for example). Likewise, there are situations where people who don’t live with you at all may be required to be on your policy, like if Grandpa cosigned your car loan or Mom is listed on your registration.

If you attempt to leave a driver off your policy and your insurance company later finds out, it could leave you open to a premium increase or even cancellation.

Who can be excluded from a policy?

Driver exclusions are not available in every state and they can also vary by insurance company (some charge a fee for excluding a driver).

In some states, you can only exclude a driver if they can provide proof that they’re insured on another policy. In states that do allow driver exclusion, there’s quite a bit of variance. In Oregon, for instance, Esurance can exclude a driver only if adding them will cause significant financial hardship or if their license is suspended for a medical impairment or major violation (like a DUI). And in Kentucky, spouses and dependents can’t be excluded at all.

In states that don’t allow exclusions (or if you don’t want to exclude the driver from all coverage), you may be able to provide proof that the driver has their own insurance instead of adding them to your policy. If that person then has an accident in your car, you may still be covered under the rules of permissive use.

If the person has never had a license, they may be asked to provide their state ID number so the insurance company can confirm that they’re not able to drive. If the person no longer drives due to age or medical impairment, they may need to officially surrender their drivers license to the DMV so they no longer appear in public records as an active driver. Keep in mind that if these unlicensed drivers borrow your car and have an accident, you could be in for a world of financial hurt since your insurance company likely won’t cover the damages.

In most states, an excluded driver would have no coverage at all, but some states do require limited liability coverage for excluded drivers. In those states, adding an excluded driver may slightly affect your premium to help cover the risk.

If you’re curious about the driver exclusion rules in your state, contact your insurance company. Esurance customers can call our customer service experts anytime at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262).

So, to answer Suzi’s question …

Let’s look at the facts:

Though my friend avoids driving like the plague, she does have an active license and is physically able to drive. She also lives in a household with a car and could be forced to drive in an emergency. While her boyfriend may gripe at the slight increase to his insurance premium, he could be saving himself from a major financial blow by adding her as a driver … and isn’t that what insurance is all about?

Related links

Does car insurance follow the car or the driver?
Excluded drivers: our expert answers your questions

61 Responses to “Excluded Drivers: Does Everyone in Your Home Need to Be Insured?”

  1. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    Tam
    July 26, 2014 #

    Hi Jessica my 16 y/o daughter was involved in a minor fender bender which she was found at fault. She had a learner a permit at the time and was not on my policy. For some reason they put her down as an excluded driver. I live in the state of TN and my insurance company denied paying the claim and the lady that was involved in the accident insurance company sent me an outrages bill. Is their anyway I will be liable of paying that large amount out of pocket?

  2. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    Tam
    July 26, 2014 #

    Sorry the above question is for Ellen

  3. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    Eddie Thomas
    August 19, 2014 #

    I live in Las Vegas, my son's license just got suspended for 3 months because of a DUI, can I take him off my insurance?

    • Avatar for Jessica Guerin
      Jennifer Wood
      August 28, 2014 #

      Hi Eddie,
      Many states allow exclusions in certain situations, like if the driver has a suspended or revoked license or if you can prove that they have comparable insurance coverage somewhere else. These laws can vary from state to state.

      Criteria for exclusion can also vary from one insurance company to another, so I'd recommend reaching out to your insurance provider directly to see if you can exclude your son from your policy.

  4. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    Jackie
    September 12, 2014 #

    Hi, my son has his license for ID only as he has Asperger's and my insurance company in New Mexico wants to charge us $160 a month extra for him when he never drives. Do we have to pay this

    • Avatar for Jessica Guerin
      Rachael Heller
      September 24, 2014 #

      Hi Jackie,

      Thanks for your question. Since this post was meant as an overview of excluded drivers, we suggest contacting your insurance company directly if you have a specific question about your policy.

  5. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    LaToya Watson
    September 29, 2014 #

    Insurance companies are just a humongous scam. Period. I do not see the point in being required to add someone on your policy when their license is supspended/revoked. These "rules" are full of crap and a way to rack up on consumer's money so whatever happens doesn't come out of their pocket. It comes out of ours from them making bullcrap excuses like the one above to cheat us out of our hard earned money. I so wish it was another way to keep a car because this is highway robbery.

  6. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    Tom
    October 18, 2014 #

    If my nephew is driving without a license and the car he is driving is on his mother name but the insurance is on my name. Will I be held reliable for an accident?

  7. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    Rob
    October 22, 2014 #

    I have multiple company cars in which my two sons will be covered. If I purchase a car separately, can I purchase coverage for this car to cover only my wife and I since the kids will only be driving the company vehicles?

  8. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    alyssaj87
    October 23, 2014 #

    Hello! I'm currently having this issue myself- if I am currently living with my parents, but they each have their own cars and own insurance why do they need to be added to my policy? The underwriting team for Progressive here in IL says I have no choice and they need to be covered under my policy- I am only living with them temporarily and they do not drive my car… so how is this possible? It vastly increases my monthly payment (which I can't afford now) and doesn't make sense if they have their own private personal insurance…

  9. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    romeo3xb
    December 9, 2014 #

    "While her boyfriend may gripe at the slight increase to his insurance premium, he could be saving himself from a major financial blow by adding her as a driver … and isn't that what insurance is all about?"

    Does not answer the question at all, instead it tries to defend the decision to make more money. Legally, no one in the household can be put on a policy without the expressed permission of the policy holder. Legally you don't have to put anyone else on the policy either. Whether the agent will tell you this or not is completely up to them depending on how much commision they get paid from the increase in rate or "up sale" of the policy.

  10. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    Gene
    May 9, 2015 #

    I have Nationwide. My son has an Drivers license issued in Virginia and claims my address as his home address, But he is in the military and station in Japan and has never drove my car. Will I have to add him to my insurance although he really does not live but have to have an american address? Thanks for your help.

    • Avatar for Jessica Guerin
      Rachael Heller
      June 15, 2015 #

      Hello Gene,

      Most companies make allowances for military personnel. If the policy were with us, we may require proof of deployment, but beyond that it would most likely not be an issue.

      Thanks for reading.

  11. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    Antonio Robles
    June 12, 2015 #

    hello jessica,
    my name is antonio i leased 2 cars with my spouse and for a reason i was added as a excluded driver to the car thats under my own name. i had a accident and the insurance said that since i was a excluded driver they will not cover the damages to my car or the other party. my lease contract with honda was that me and my spouse both had to be drivers for our own cars. i was never aware i was a excluded driver and was never told about i do live with her.

    • Avatar for Jessica Guerin
      Rachael Heller
      June 22, 2015 #

      Hello Antonio,

      There are a few factors that we would need to know before answering this question completely. Please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262). Our insurance experts are standing by 24/7 to help with any questions you might have!

      Thanks for reading.

  12. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    Betty Jeanette Weiiss
    June 23, 2015 #

    person lives in my house rent from me not boyfriend . brother passed . He place his self on my insurance without permission . on his on vehicle .Turn my license plate . held insurance on storage for my vehicle which was broke down. finally cancel insurance .told them turn license plate in. Thought was done , Just bought another vehicle and said I haven't had insurance in 6th months said cancel over year or two ago . Why are they holding response able for his truck not mine .So have him excluded from insurance . pay extra for any driver insurance to drive . his license cancel not my fault if his license re instated is everything ok then ?l

    • Avatar for Jessica Guerin
      Rachael Heller
      July 10, 2015 #

      Hi Betty,

      If you feel your personal information has been compromised, we suggest speaking to the local police. You may also file a dispute with the insurance company to dig into this further. We hope this helps.

      Thanks for reading.

  13. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    Jake Colbert
    July 30, 2015 #

    Slight Increase??? Slight increase my A$$…. I got so fed up at my insurance company and I will admit when I signed up with a different provider I lied about who I lived with. See, I already pay $160 a month to insure my own personal car with just me. I have 3 roommates, as I live in Boston and it's hard enough to afford rent on my own. For some stupid reason Geico made me list ALL my room mates. My 3 roommates all have their driver licenses but do not own cars and they do not ever drive my car EVER EVER… They don't have a key, and the only key is in my possession. My roommates all use the train and bus to get around. I need to be able to get to NH for work so I drive.

    My Insurance company told me even though they don't drive they still live in the same household as me and are therefore needed to be listed on my policy. I needed to provide all their driving license information. Well I decided I'd see how much it would cost to list them. My insurance immediately went from $160 a month of over $335 a month. This is NUTS. No way my roommates were going to help pay for it since after all t hey weren't allowed to drive and they chose not to own a car because they couldn't afford to insure themselves on one. Why the hell should I have to pay to insure three people on my car who NEVER even drive my car. I tried to get them removed and they refused to remove them unless I proved they had insurance elsewhere or that I proved they did not live in my house. The next time I signed up for insurance I did not list them and got my insurance back down to a reasonable rate.

    It is unfair to require that I list my roommates who do not own cars and do not drive cars. They got their license at 16 years old and needed to be able to drive in their home towns. Should they have to give up their license in order to get them removed? This is a totally bogus practice that the state needs to step in and STOP

    • Avatar for Jessica Guerin
      Rachael Heller
      August 12, 2015 #

      Hello Jake,

      We certainly understand where you’re coming from. Unfortunately, in the US, there are many examples of insureds (intentionally) not listing people who drive their cars because the rates are too expensive. The issue comes down to a few things.

      • Insurance is based on risk, or the potential/likelihood there could be a claim. The “risk” is that they know where keys are kept, and could decide to borrow the vehicle and drive.
      • Without proof of insurance, if a roommate/family member/etc. does drive the car and there is a claim, there is no additional insurance policy to fall back on to cover the rest of the losses.
      • Insurance companies have to make sure their rules and regulations for when they require a driver to be added are “Fair”. Meaning, the rules are the same for all customers, not just a select few.
      • In some states, you may be able to exclude them from the policy, meaning you’re signing an agreement that if they drive, they won’t be covered. Not all states have this option.

      There may be other reasons as well but these are the most common.

      We would suggest calling and speaking to a local agent for more company specific requirements. Not all companies have the same Guidelines for drivers in the household.

      Thanks for reading.

      • Avatar for Jessica Guerin
        Dude
        August 26, 2015 #

        "there are many examples of insureds (intentionally) not listing people"

        That's called fraud. Sue THEM. Charge THEM with the crime. Make THEM do time.

        Don't charge other people who AREN'T being fraudulent.

  14. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    KayZee
    August 3, 2015 #

    Hi Jessica,

    I recently came to US from India as a dependent of my wife. She is the breadwinner of the family and would like to buy a car for our family. The thing is that she doesn't have a permanent driver's license from Massachusetts. She does have a learner's permit but we need to buy vehicle urgently. I have a valid driver's license. Could she buy a vehicle in both our name so that she can apply for auto loan and I will be the one who will be on insurance?

    Please reply ASAP as we just have a day to reply back to a private party.

    Appreciate your help!!!

    Thanks in advance…

    • Avatar for Jessica Guerin
      Rachael Heller
      August 12, 2015 #

      Hi KayZee,

      We would require anyone who needs to drive the vehicle that has a valid operator’s license to be added to the policy.

      Thanks for reading.

  15. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    Dude
    August 26, 2015 #

    "isn’t that what insurance is all about?"

    No. It's about sharing the risk that you are willing to take with other drivers that are willing to take the same risk. I am not willing to take the risk of having someone else drive my car. If they do drive my car, it's called stealing. If they wreck it, I can sue them. I should not have to pay my insurance company to NOT provide insurance on the risk I am NOT willing to take.

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