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

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

  1. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    George
    November 3, 2015 #

    I have a 19 year old daughter I do not let her drive my car because I do not have her on my insurance My current company want me to add her on to my insurance so my insurance go From 180 to 290 they are forcing me to add her on to my insurance I stay in Savannah Georgia so do I have tI add her to my insurance

    • Avatar for Jessica Guerin
      Rachael Heller
      November 4, 2015 #

      Hello George,

      Unfortunately, we cannot speak to other companies’ processes. However, this is not an uncommon request. You may want to consider asking if you are able to exclude her from your policy.

      Thanks for reading.

  2. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    Vicie
    January 21, 2016 #

    My mom just bought a car & she does not have a driver license and as never had one . She is 77 years old and does not & never has drove a car . I am trying to find a company that will insurance her vehicle has I am going to be the one to drive & keep her vehicle at my house . Thanks

    • Avatar for Jessica Guerin
      Rachael Heller
      January 26, 2016 #

      Hello Vicie,

      It’s going to depend on several factors. If the vehicle is not financed, the easiest thing to do is register and insure the vehicle the in the driver’s name only. If your mom has to be on the registration for any reason, you would want to check with local agencies.

      Thanks for reading.

  3. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    whatever
    January 26, 2016 #

    My insurance company plans to rise my insurance even if I list my household drivers as excluded. Is there any point in listing them? Yeah, they say I "should", but can they realistically enforce it?

    • Avatar for Jessica Guerin
      Rachael Heller
      January 28, 2016 #

      Hello,

      Price increase aside, you would generally want to keep your insurance company informed of all uninsured drivers in your home that are of driving age. When it comes to your spouse, insurance companies generally need to account for that person partly due to the fact that you might be getting a better rate for being married. Additionally, your spouse has different rights when it comes to your insurance policy than an additional driver. In some cases, your company may be able to set your policy to cancel/non-renew depending on your state’s rules.

      Thanks for reading.

  4. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    paul
    January 27, 2016 #

    I have the debilitating disease known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's. I haven't driven in over a year, but still paying auto insurance?

    • Avatar for Jessica Guerin
      Flo
      February 25, 2016 #

      My husband has had three minor accidents in the pass three years. I notice that he is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's. I would like him to surrender his licenses. Can I exclude him from our auto policy. Live in Oklahoma.

      • Avatar for Jessica Guerin
        Rachael Heller
        March 2, 2016 #

        Hello Flo,

        There may be options to exclude him from your coverage. We would suggest speaking to your agent for policy-specific information.

        Thanks for reading.

  5. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    Agnes Kenneth
    January 29, 2016 #

    My daughter is at college 800 miles away. The car she was driving has mechanical problem and we decided to send it to junk yard. My insurance company still wants to insure my daughter. she does not drive. Is this a way of getting extra money from innocent citizens? life is expensive and we are trying to save every dollar at least to get another car.

    • Avatar for Jessica Guerin
      Rachael Heller
      February 2, 2016 #

      Hello Agnes,

      Great question. We would recommend asking if a driver exclusion is available or if any documentation can be provided to remove her.

      Thanks for reading.

  6. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    Ben
    January 29, 2016 #

    In a recent accident, a lady without a valid driver’s license borrowed her fiance’s car(they live at the same address) and caused an accident. The car is insured under the guy’s name, and the insurance company claims she was an excluded driver. However later after getting a copy of the insurance policy and/or card from her, she is not mentioned in the Excluded Driver’s section, as a matter of fact, no one is. Also she has no insurance of her own on any personal car .As mentioned, the insurance company tries to deny responsibility, yet I’d assume since she is not mentioned on the paper, the insurance on the car and under the guy’s name should still cover for the accident. Would you like to put some light on this if possible? Can someone be an excluded driver yet not mentioned on the policy or car handed over? Thank you

    • Avatar for Jessica Guerin
      Rachael Heller
      February 2, 2016 #

      Hello Ben,

      That's a good question. Unfortunately, we cannot comment on another insurance company's documents. Esurance does not necessarily include excluded drivers on the ID card.

      Thanks for reading.

  7. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    bre
    February 4, 2016 #

    my husband and I were seperated when I had him excluded from the policy, he also had a medical condition and actually lose his license. He got his license back yesterday and he has moved back in but his license has his old address. Can he added back on the policy even with a different address on his license

    • Avatar for Jessica Guerin
      Rachael Heller
      February 10, 2016 #

      Hello,

      Thank you for checking, Bre. As long as the license is valid with no suspensions, it would not typically be an issue for the insurance company. However, each state has different rules on what address is supposed to be on your license. We would suggest checking with your local DMV.

      Thanks for reading.

  8. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    Andrea Leon
    February 11, 2016 #

    My mom financed a car for me and i pay it every month she has never had drivers license ever and Insurance was always in my my name, they decided to raise my insurance double due to an accident so I canceled insurance and got another one, now over 3 years later they are sending my mom to collections for the money they say she owes. How can they do that when Insurance wasn't in her name.

    • Avatar for Jessica Guerin
      Rachael Heller
      February 15, 2016 #

      Hello Andrea,

      You will want to verify with the insurance company in question that A) your mom was not a listed driver on the policy and B) that it was actually the insurance balance that was sent to collections and not something to do with the car.

      Thanks for reading.

  9. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    Rose
    April 6, 2016 #

    We live in NJ. My son's girlfriend is 18 y/o, she lives with us and put our address on her driver's license. She was listed as a driver on our policy when she had her own car. She now does not own a car, does not driver any of our cars. Do we have to list her on our policy? She is not a relative, doesn't drive any of our cars but our insurance says we cannot take her off our policy and our rate has increase $1000 for 6 months!!!

    • Avatar for Jessica Guerin
      Rachael Heller
      April 13, 2016 #

      Hello Rose,

      You may be able to look into an Exclusion form for the policy. With her living in the household, there is always the potential risk that she could drive one of the cars at the home. The hard part of these situations is that even though it may be unlikely that she’d drive one of the vehicles, the risk of that happening is still a concern for an insurance company.

      Thanks for reading.

  10. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    Situlang
    April 14, 2016 #

    This sounds criminal

  11. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    Michelle Lively
    April 20, 2016 #

    I was in an accident in February. It turns out the driver of the vehicle who hit me (his fault) was uninsured, did not have a license and was driving his mother's vehicle. His mother is not answering letters sent from my insurance company to find out her insurance information. Is there a way for my insurance company to find out the insurance company covering the vehicle?

    • Avatar for Jessica Guerin
      Rachael Heller
      April 25, 2016 #

      Hello Michelle,

      The local police department may be able to track them down and obtain this information. Your best bet would be to work with your current insurance carrier to see what resources they have at their disposal as well.

      Thanks for reading.

  12. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    Jill Kress
    April 22, 2016 #

    My husband has a company car and has car insurance under the company he works for. My new insurance wants me to exclude him from my policy, but IF he happens to drive my car (which he rarely does) and gets in an accident, he will not be covered. What is the point to be covered under two insurance policies? I thought that if you have insurance with a company and you drive a car that is insured, then you will be covered if in an accident. Is my new insurance company wanting to get more money out of me by insuring my husband too even though he is insured with his work? Are there insurance companies that will allow this and if so can you guide me to them?

    • Avatar for Jessica Guerin
      Rachael Heller
      April 25, 2016 #

      Hello Jill,

      This is not an uncommon request. As your husband, he may automatically have coverage on your car, even though he’s not listed. Due to this, insurance companies do require spouses to be listed on policies as there’s always a chance they may need to drive your vehicle. If your spouse was driving your car and was not listed on your personal auto policy, his company’s insurance policy would not generally transfer over and you would run the risk of not having the claim fully covered. At Esurance, we would also generally require your spouse to be listed on your policy. Plus, you would have added peace of mind if he ever did need to drive your vehicle and gets involved in a claim.

      Thanks for reading.

  13. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    Donna
    May 1, 2016 #

    My insurance company is forcing me to insure my husband as well. Not only does he not drive at all, he doesn't even have a license right now. It's boosted my payments so much they're nearly impossible to make. What can I do?

    • Avatar for Jessica Guerin
      Rachael Heller
      May 5, 2016 #

      Hello,

      Thank you for reaching out, Donna. This is not an uncommon request. However, depending on your state, you may be able to sign a driver exclusion form. This would generally mean that if he drives your car, he’s not covered. Unfortunately, every company will have different requirements in these situations. You may be able to speak to the underwriters to see what options you may have.

  14. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    Amy
    May 6, 2016 #

    Well I live in pa and I own my car and have insurance on the car in my name. I am listed as an excluded driver on my own policy due to the fact that I never had a licence but my daughters father is listed as the driver on my insurance. I recently got my driving permit and have bin driving my car. I was in an accident yesterday and I'm not sure if I am covered by my own insurance. Any advice would help.

    • Avatar for Jessica Guerin
      Rachael Heller
      May 16, 2016 #

      Hello Amy,

      That’s a tough situation. You would want to speak to your agent/adjuster directly. However, in most cases, if you’re excluded from coverage on a policy, that means you are not a covered driver and could cause your claim to be denied.

  15. Avatar for Jessica Guerin
    Zack
    May 10, 2016 #

    If my car was stolen, crashed & cause damage by a total stranger.

    Isn't my insurance company responsible for paying since it was my car? Yet, the driver was a complete stranger that stole my car.

    So If my kids, just got their license and I don't register them on my car insurance and they drive and have a car accident. You saying that the car insurance won't pay?

    However, they will jack up my rates because of my kids?

    That's does not look right. Seems like they are just trying to justify raising my premium.

    Please advise.

    • Avatar for Jessica Guerin
      Rachael Heller
      May 16, 2016 #

      Hello Zack,

      Great question. Theft of a car is covered differently than when you’ve given permission for someone to use your car. You always want to make sure that when someone lives with you (if they are of driving age) that they’re added, excluded, or that you’ve provided proof of different coverage. The reason this is important is because the insurance company has no way to rate your policy correctly if they’re not aware of who would have regular access to your car. Not everyone is automatically covered when they drive your vehicle. Sometimes, the frequency of you loaning your car can cause complications with claims. You would want to speak to your agent directly for policy specific answers to this.

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