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.

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

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

  1. Kate
    September 6, 2013 #

    This is very timely for me — my boyfriend's son just got his driver license! Uh-oh!

  2. Gary
    September 18, 2013 #

    To be safe, all licensed drivers should be insured. Some insurance companies will provide a limited number of days of driving when college students come home for the holidays and must be at least 100 miles from home. This is a great idea!

  3. Kristy
    November 12, 2013 #

    I don't agree with this at all. I lived with a woman who had a license but no car and no insurance. She wasn't fit to drive a car because every time she did, she had an accident. Hence, the reason she never had either. I never let her drive my car the entire time I lived with her because I didn't trust her to drive safely. I even kept my keys in my room so that she could never "borrow" it without my knowledge. My insurance company that I had at the time wanted me to add her to my policy but that would have raised my rates by a lot. Why should a person who is not legally responsible for another person have to pay for their incompetence? It doesn't make sense to me to have to be financially responsible for someone else.

    • Totally aggravated
      December 5, 2013 #

      What if someone is driving a vehicle that has no license and has a accident and the vehicle had insurance on it, does that give them the right to drive without a license. This insurance says its ok for them to drive without a license because the vehicle had insurance.

      • Jessica Guerin
        December 10, 2013 #

        Thanks for posing such an interesting question. The answer is a bit complicated because the rules vary by state and by insurance company. In many states, drivers who don’t have an active license cannot be listed on a car insurance policy. And if they’re caught driving your vehicle, your coverage could be canceled. But in some cases, unlicensed drivers are allowed (or even required) to be on your policy and will be covered if they have a claim. This is in part to protect the state from having to pay for accident-related injuries caused by uninsured drivers.

        That said, however, it’s illegal to drive without a license. Regardless of what your insurance contract allows, if an unlicensed driver is pulled over or has an accident in your car, there will likely be legal repercussions. So even if you are required to list an unlicensed driver on your policy, it doesn’t give that driver the right to drive illegally.

    • Annoyed
      September 15, 2014 #

      Kristy, I agree with you. I am having difficulties with Esurance right now because I live in a house with 3 other people that are unrelated to me, have their own cars, and own insurance. Esurance keeps emailing me a list of people that have been associated with my address, 3 of which currently live there and a handful of others that do not. They are telling me I have to send in exclusion documents for each one who does not live there, and declarations pages with copies of their insurance for the ones that do.. What a complete waste of my time! I have no responsibility for any of these people and if I needed to add them to my policy then I would have. I shouldn't have to be sending in documents for 10 different people and asking them for copies of their insurance when it is none of my business in the first place, and two, that is a crap ton of work for me to do when I already work two jobs!

  4. Stefanie Feuerman
    December 16, 2013 #

    I am a divorced mother of two children. My eldest child received a car and auto insurance from my ex-husband when she got her license. Unfortunately, my son who just got his license is not getting along with my ex and he was just told that he is no longer getting the car and insurance that he was promised. Although we legally have joint custody, he lives with me and only sees his dad once in a blue moon. His primary address is my residence which of course is on his license. First, this is not just a punishment for my son but it is in the end a punishment for me! Plus his father's income is twenty times more than mine. The best rate that I was given from my carrier that included this so called "good student discount" is not only more than my car payment and insurance policy combined, but it is also a third of my monthly child support. Second and most important, I simply cannot afford it. This is completely WRONG and I am absolutely frustrated as I do not have a simple resolution to this issue. Why is this rate ( the same with all insurance carriers) so ridiculously high? He does not even have a car and I will not allow him to drive mine either. I have the keys. What is he going to do? Hotwire my car? This situation is coupled now that I just had to purchase a policy for health insurance. How many additional bills will I forced to fit into my budget and where is this additional income coming from to pay them? I find it difficult to believe that in this economy, anyone who has a child of driving age can afford or rather be forced to afford such an inflated addition to there auto premiums. Especially when they don't even have a car in the first place!!!!!

    • Jessica Guerin
      December 16, 2013 #

      Thanks for your comment. I understand your frustration. If you haven’t already, you may want to call your insurance carrier to find out what options are available to you. Because the rules vary by state and company, they can give you the most personalized information.

      • theminx
        January 17, 2014 #

        I believe she already did and the premium is too high. I am having the same problem right now. That is why I am here trying to find out how to lower my insurance after having my teenage son put on it. These guys expect me to pay $400 a month for full coverage for a 2012 car and liability on a 2005 car that is only worth $3000. That's insane. That's more than the monthly payment for the 2012 car.

    • cd
      March 15, 2014 #

      Insurers pay for every ASSUMPTION(S) the Insurance Companies can drum up and imagine their insurers "may" get into. Your kid can walk or take a bus to school but because they're in a "driving age" and lives with you, you add them to your policy, so they can charge you twice the amount you pay for your own coverage.

      I was even told that Divorce people have higher premiums because they are emotionally unstable and "may" get into accidents more. But maybe the spouse that left, who is now married, have reasonable insurance rates because married people are more emotionally stable. Bravo!

      I have always wondered who regulates the insurance?

      It seems like they have the majority insured "saps" with their high premium, pay the share of the minority "pain," and base their across-the-board premium because someone's got to shoulder these "possible" claims. No different than the Lotto.

  5. David Lee
    January 12, 2014 #

    This is an awesome, informative article. By any chance, do you know what the law is in Washington State? I would really appreciate it! Thank you.

    • Ellen Hall
      January 14, 2014 #

      Hi David,
      Good question. I actually didn't know, but I asked one of our experts! Washington state does allow driver exclusions (and Esurance offers exclusions for our Washington policies). The specifics may vary by insurance company (such as whether the driver would be excluded from all coverage or just physical damage to the vehicle, whether any fees or surcharges would apply, etc.).

      For more information about insurance law in Washington, there’s a state website (www.insurance.wa.gov); for questions about specific policies, it’s best to check your policy contract or ask your insurance agent.

      Hope this helps!

  6. Lee
    January 17, 2014 #

    Jessica, do car insurance companies have access to all personal data for, not only their insured people but also their ex-spouses who are insured with another carrier and on a different insurance plan? I ask b/c my x backed into my parked car and he reported it to his insurance. I hate for him to call me his x-wife so I said just don't say x-wife, when he was put on the spot as to who I am, he sputtered out spouse. Now when I called his insurance company to get claim info, they said since we are married, his insurance cannot cover my damages and they refuse to pay. I explained to them that we are not married and that I don't like to be called x. Now the insurance guy is wondering if there is fraud involved though my xhusband does not have me listed on his insurance and signed up as divorced so I'm not sure why the insurance agent is giving us the run-around. Anyway, I was curious to know if insurance agents in general have access to everyone in their state? This whole experience seems like a nightmare now and I really don't want to go through my insurance b/c I prefer they stay out of it since it was not my fault and I was not even in the car at the time it happened. It was parked in the driveway of my x's house. How much information do these insurance co. have on people who are not even insured with them and why is he throwing around the word fraud now?? Thank you.

  7. bonnie
    January 18, 2014 #

    What about Florida? I have two children, ages 16 and 17 and a stepson age 16 who lives with us. I learned that my annual premium is increasing over a THOUSAND dollars when none of my children either drive, have licenses or permits!!! I spent hours on the phone today with the insurance company, speaking with a rep and two managers getting nowhere. They say it is their policy to either add or exclude any household members over the age of 15. All three are listed as EXCLUDED. They say this is a surcharge. This is absolutely ridiculous!! I am switching companies! If they charge over a thousand additional dollars for three minor children who do not drive, I'd hate to see what they charge when they do!

  8. Jessica Guerin
    January 20, 2014 #

    Hi everyone. Thanks for all your comments and questions. Because 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.

  9. Joe
    January 30, 2014 #

    In the state of NC what are the laws? I live with my wife and 19 year old step son. We all have our own vehicles and own insurance companies. Are we required to be on each others policies? None of us drive the others vehicle.

    • Ellen Hall
      February 3, 2014 #

      The best way to find out about the laws in your state is to contact your state department of insurance. But even if a state allows exclusions, that doesn’t necessarily mean all insurance companies in the state will provide that option.

      Currently Esurance doesn't offer driver exclusions in North Carolina at all. According to our underwriting guidelines, we require all drivers in the household (or with access to the vehicle) to be listed on the policy unless they have equivalent coverage elsewhere. If we wrote a North Carolina policy for you and were able to confirm that the 19-year-old had his own insurance, we would not require him to be listed on your policy.

      However, other companies may have different processes or requirements that still fall within state law.

      It’s sometimes cheaper if all drivers and vehicles in a household are insured on the same policy (this might allow you to take advantage of discounts like Multi-Car). We recommend that you get comparison quotes to see if it would be more cost-effective to insure everyone together or to remain separately insured.

  10. Paris
    March 2, 2014 #

    So if im driving my moms car which is insured, Do I need to be added to her policy or am I covered without being added?

    • Ellen Hall
      March 4, 2014 #

      Hi Paris,
      If you live in the same household as your mom, then you most likely need to be on her policy. (It doesn’t happen automatically, so you should check that you’re listed.) Even if you don’t share a household, if you’re regularly driving your mom’s car, you may need to be added to her policy to account for that increased exposure to risk.

      If you don’t live at the same address and you only drive her car occasionally, you may be covered under what’s known as permissive use, as long as your mom’s policy includes that provision. If her policy has restrictions for permissive users, your coverage in an accident may be less than if your mother was the one driving. If you have your own insurance, coverage for any accident may be divided between your policy and the permissive use coverage provided by your mom’s policy.

      Hope this was helpful!

  11. Kris Perrault
    March 3, 2014 #

    In my state CA all members of household are required to be listed on the policy even if they do not have or have never had a license in this or any state, just because they have the ability to drive? If this is the case, it is possible to add your 12 year old to the policy as a driver, since they do have the ability?

    • Ellen Hall
      March 5, 2014 #

      Hi Kris,
      It’s true that insurance companies want to account for all possible drivers in the household. However, children under the age of 16 aren’t typically considered possible drivers in this situation.

  12. Mike Rodolfo
    March 3, 2014 #

    Insurance company demands you include unlicensed driver to your policy, therefore paying much more in premiums, but in the event that driver is involved in an accident, the insurance company will not cover any of the damages because the driver is unlicensed (though they new this beforehand and still demanded they must be on the policy, license or no license)????
    Insurance company is getting the extra $ in premium fees for no service whatsoever???

    • Ellen Hall
      March 5, 2014 #

      Hi Mike,
      I posed your question to one of our experts. She can’t say whether a claim would or would not be denied without knowing all the details. However, if the unlicensed driver is listed on the policy as an insured driver, that by its very definition means that coverage would potentially apply to the driver the same as to any other driver involved in any accident. If an unlicensed driver was listed in a policy as an insured driver and the claim was denied, she would assume something else caused the adjuster to deny the claim.

      Insurance companies want to account for all drivers in the household because even unlicensed drivers who shouldn’t be driving often do get behind the wheel of the car. If a person might be reasonably likely to drive the insured vehicles, there’s a risk that the insurance company will have to pay for a claim. Therefore they want to collect the correct amount of premium associated with that person’s risk, to ensure there are enough funds available to pay out for that claim if it occurs.

      However, insurance companies are unlikely to force a customer to add a driver to the policy that they already know would not be covered in any accident. If an insurer found that there was an unlicensed driver in the household who couldn’t be covered by the policy, they would much more likely require the customer to show proof that driver had insurance somewhere else or require the policy to be canceled due to unacceptable risk.

  13. Ashley
    March 5, 2014 #

    Do you know the exclusion laws in Oregon?

    • Ellen Hall
      March 7, 2014 #

      Hi Ashley,
      You’ll want to look at state regulation 836-085-0010 for details of exclusion law. The way this regulation affects Esurance policies is that we’re only able to exclude a driver if they meet one of the following criteria:

      1) The excluded driver would cause financial hardship to the Named Insured by raising the premium $1000 or more annually ($500 per term) for bodily injury and property damage coverages ONLY with state minimum liability limits.

      2) The excluded person's driver's license is suspended pursuant to ORS 809.409(5), which is any felony with a material element involving the operation of a motor vehicle.

      3) The excluded person's driver's license is suspended pursuant to ORS 809.419(3), which is incompetence to drive a motor vehicle because of mental or physical impairment that impacts the person's ability to operate a motor vehicle.

      Also, if an Oregon policyholder is excluding their spouse from coverage due to one of the above factors, both the insured driver and the spouse have to sign the exclusion form. This is different from many states where only the named insured driver has to sign.

      If a driver doesn’t meet the above criteria but the insured doesn’t want to add them to their Esurance Oregon policy, we do allow the option to provide proof that the driver has coverage elsewhere. Other insurance companies, as always, may have different rules.

  14. sheila
    March 29, 2014 #

    We live in Massachusetts, have 4 cars and 4 drivers, all on the same policy. Two drivers are teenage males. We would like to exclude them from my husband's car as they never drive it. It is so expensive to have them on that vehicle even though they don't drive it. Can we exclude them from the one car?

    • Rachael Heller
      September 24, 2014 #

      Hi Sheila,

      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.

  15. Cindy Johannes
    April 16, 2014 #

    I am in Alabama I do not have uninsured motorist coverage(big mistake). I was in an accident which totaled my car and injured me. The other driver was at fault according to the accident report. She was a permissive driver as she was speaking to the owner of the car on her cellphone when she ran the stop sign. She lives in the house with the owner but was not listed on the policy. She was not excluded either. Her insurance company is telling me they are not covering the accident. I was wondering if I have recourse here. My policy is paying for my car at a slightly lower value and minus the deductible.They will not cover my medical.

    • Ellen Hall
      April 16, 2014 #

      Hi Cindy,
      We’re sorry to hear this. It’s possible that the car owner’s policy had a household exclusion, meaning the regular permissive use wouldn’t apply to the driver since she lives in the household and wasn’t listed on the policy.

      You may want to look into retaining a personal injury attorney to make sure you’re exploring all the options available to you, including possible legal action against the at-fault driver.

      If you don’t want to go that route, here are some other suggestions:

      • You can check with your own medical insurance to see whether the accident-related injuries would be covered.
      • You can check with your own claims adjuster to find out if the driver had any other liability insurance that you could file a claim against. The fact that the driver wasn’t covered on the vehicle policy doesn’t necessarily mean that she didn’t have her own car insurance elsewhere. It seems unlikely based on what you’ve told us, but it’s worth checking out.

      I hope this is helpful!

  16. Sunshine
    April 23, 2014 #

    I am in state of FL just got my own car under my name and separated with my husband. I moved out of the place we lived together and a good friend helped me out by moving in with her. She owns the place where I live. So I told the underwriter the details I am and he excluded my husband as a driver. After that taken care of, when I try to get quotes his name pops up on the address I live now if I wanted him added to be driver. Is there a way that this be removed on record cause it is unfair for someone who owns the place and a stranger is in on the record to her own house when you look for insurance quote

    • Rachael Heller
      September 24, 2014 #

      Hi Sunshine,

      Thanks for your comment. Sorry you're experiencing frustration. Because 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.

  17. Dee Cable
    May 22, 2014 #

    A coworker of mine has a live in boyfriend who as her luck would have it just was involved in a serious car accident with injuries while drunk driving. She was not there but, he does live in her home and his vehicle is registered in her home and his license also list her home as his residence. I told her that she needed to check because while she is not on his car they may very well come after her and stack the policies because the cost to have the gentleman airlifted already exceeds the maximum amount on his coverage limits. I know she thinks I am crazy so I wanted to put it out there to see if this is likely so I can help to guide her in the right direction. I told her to consult an attorney but her philosophy is I am not tied to his car or insurance policy. Please give me some clarification if you can. We live in the state of Pennsylvania if that matters.

    • Ellen Hall
      May 22, 2014 #

      Hi Dee,
      Consulting an attorney is probably a good idea. It’s possible that your co-worker, or her insurance, may be held liable for some or all of the bills. Many car insurance policies state that coverages such as First Party Benefits apply to “household members” even if they’re not listed on the policy. So if her boyfriend can’t pay his medical bills, and he’s not specifically excluded from her policy, the hospital may file a claim against her car insurance to provide those benefits to him as a household member. Depending on their situation, he may even count as a domestic partner or common-law spouse, so even if she doesn’t have car insurance or she excluded him from it, she may potentially be sued in an attempt to make her personally responsible for those bills due to their relationship.

      To find out if it’s likely that she’d be sued, or if it’s likely that the claimant would win, she would want to consult a legal professional.

      As for “stacking,” or filing duplicate claims, that depends on the insurer. Each insurance’s company’s contract would specify if they allow stacking or combining of coverage, and/or whether each policy would pay a portion of the claim that’s less than their maximum limit.

      I hope this helps!

  18. Dee Cable
    May 23, 2014 #

    Thanks Ellen it definitely does. Hope she will see the benefits to consulting a lawyer as you have also pointed out some important factors one being that he is her boyfriend and does reside in her home for a few years now. Again, thank you for your help!!!

    • Ellen Hall
      May 23, 2014 #

      You're welcome! I'll pass along your thanks to Nicole D. here at Esurance. She's the expert I turn to with questions.

  19. Rose
    July 1, 2014 #

    My 18 year old was involved in a single accident using my car I have full coverage and he is a new licensed driver he got his license 3months ago I am one of those parents who prolonged adding him to my policy he lives in the household and I don't think my insurance is going to pay for damages to my vehicle since he is living with me he is not excluded from my policy. Does anyone know if I will be denied? Please help on what to do

    • Jessica Guerin
      July 2, 2014 #

      Hi Rose. Unfortunately, there's no way to know for sure how your claim would be handled until you speak to your insurance company. There's a chance that it could be covered (some policy contracts specify that accidents caused by household members are covered regardless of whether the driver is listed in the policy), but there's also a chance that it could be denied and/or you could incur penalties of some kind.

  20. sheila clark
    July 8, 2014 #

    I have an aunt who has MS she cannot drive nor is she interested in driving. Nonetheless she need to from time to time go to the store and to the doctors office. She wants to purchase a car in order that her nurse or even family members can transport her. She went to buy a car at a car lot but was told because she didn't have a license she would buy unable to buy it.is there anything is Louisiana that would let her buy a car for this purpose?

Leave a Reply

Leave your opinion here. Please be nice. Your email address will be kept private.