With help from Nicole D., one of our many invaluable experts, we’ve compiled some explanations to shed light on excluded drivers, an oft-perplexing subject.

Related: make sure all drivers on your policy are covered with affordable car insurance from Esurance

Please note: the information provided below doesn’t necessarily reflect the processes or opinions of Esurance. These are general guidelines. Since regulations vary widely across the country, you should always confirm your local insurance requirements with your state and insurer.

Excluded drivers: frequently asked questions

Who in my household needs to be listed on my policy?

Most insurers require that all drivers with regular access to the vehicle be added to the policy. That way, the insurance company can review the driving records and risk factors of the possible driver(s) and rate the policy accordingly.

Certain people in your household wouldn’t typically be considered possible drivers, however, and could be left off your policy. These include children under the age of 16 or anyone who is physically incapable of driving due to disability.

Can I choose to exclude a driver from my policy?

Possibly. Some states give policyholders the option to exclude occasional drivers. An exclusion is a formal acknowledgment stating that certain drivers will not drive your car.

If the excluded driver ends up driving the car and has an accident, however, your insurance company won’t pay for the damages, which means you could be left holding the bag.

Many states only 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. Each state sets the minimum requirements for exclusion, but each insurance company sets their own underwriting guidelines within that framework.

If I give someone permission to drive my car, are they covered under my insurance?

It depends. If they don’t live at the same address as you and/or only drive your car occasionally, they may be covered under what’s known as permissive use (as long as your policy includes that provision). But if your policy has restrictions for permissive users, it may not provide the same level of coverage for that driver as it does for the drivers listed on your policy.

If you loan your car to someone who has their own insurance, coverage for an accident may be divided between their policy and the permissive use coverage provided by your policy.

But if the other driver is regularly driving your vehicle, your insurer may require them to be added to your policy to account for your vehicle’s increased exposure to risk, whether or not the driver is a member of your household.

If I live with my parents and drive their car, am I automatically covered?

No, coverage doesn’t happen automatically, so your parents should check to make sure you’re fully covered under their policy.

If someone in my household doesn’t have a license, do I still need to list them on my insurance?

Depending on the state and your insurance company, you might be required to list them. Sometimes people who “don’t drive” end up driving in an emergency or other unforeseen situation.

If a person of driving age is part of a household, it’s reasonable to assume they have access to the car(s) in the household. Because of this, an insurance company would typically want to protect themselves and the policyholder by either collecting the appropriate premium to insure the driver or excluding the driver from coverage.

Some unlicensed drivers that insurance companies may require on your policy include:

  • People who had a drivers license in another country
  • People who have previously had a learners permit but never passed the Operators License test
  • People who have previously been cited for driving without a license
  • People with a suspended or revoked license

Whether or not any of the above drivers could be excluded varies by state and insurer.

Excluded drivers: the bottom line

While it may seem strange to insure someone in your household who is unlikely to drive, it’s all about balancing risk. If that person isn’t listed on your policy and they end up having an accident in your car, you could be liable for all the damages and injuries.

Get a car insurance quote from Esurance today.

Safe drivers can save money with Esurance.

Insurance 101 | Car insurance 101


about Ellen

Ellen has spent many years as a professional wordsmith, helping to shed light on such topics as world travel, cargo pants, and the porosity of bath tiles. As a freelance copywriter for Esurance, she brings her boundless curiosity to the world of insurance. Outside work, she can be found cheering on the San Francisco Giants, hiking in the Oakland hills, and (barely) resisting smuggling penguins home from Antarctica.