When an excluded driver gets into an accident in your car, the outcome depends on the circumstances. Just imagine that your spouse’s uncle Jack, who lives with you, is an excluded driver on all your vehicles for a myriad of reasons. Uncle Jack decides one night, while you and the missus are out, to take the car for spin. Next thing you know he has been in a terrible accident and severely injured a teenage boy coming home from baseball practice.
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For you, if your uncle is truly an excluded driver on your vehicles, then you may still be liable for the accident unless you can prove that he took your car without your knowledge or permission. For your uncle and the boy it’s an entirely different tale depending on what types of insurance, if any, they hold.
What does an excluded driver mean?
An excluded driver is an individual who is not covered by your car insurance policy in the case of an accident or other incident.
In most cases you, as the driver and owner of the vehicle, are the one who names this individual as being excluded from your insurance policy.
If you choose to exclude a member of your household or other possible driver of your vehicle, this person will not be covered for any reason, even if they drive your car in the case of an emergency.
Why would you have someone as an excluded driver on your car?
The reasons for having someone excluded on your vehicle are many. In the above scenario Uncle Jack may be excluded by you because:
- He has had numerous DUIs
- He has felony convictions
- He has an overall terrible driving record
- You simply don’t trust him with your cars
- He does not have a license
- He has a suspended license
What excluding an individual on your insurance does is save you from the headache and financial burden if this person gets into an accident without your permission. It also stops your rates from going through the roof to cover a high risk driver. You don’t need a reason to exclude someone from your policy.
What if I simply don’t want “Uncle Jack” to drive the car but don’t exclude him?
In this case, you would be on the hook for the accident your uncle caused and most likely your premiums would go up. Not wanting someone to drive your car is very different than excluding them in writing on your car insurance policy.
If you feel uneasy about letting a friend, family member, or co-worker drive your car, then don’t allow them to drive.
If you feel so strongly that a certain person should never drive your car for the myriad of reasons previously mentioned, then most definitely exclude him or her on your auto insurance policy.
If you excluded Uncle Jack, but then let him drive your car anyway, then you too would be on the hook for any medical bills and repairs caused by this accident. Your car insurance company would not pay out for damages due to Uncle Jack being an excluded driver. The other party would be able to seek damages not covered under their insurance from you personally.
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What type of insurance should one have in the case of an excluded driver accident?
In this scenario, the high school boy being injured severely by Uncle Jack hopefully has some sort of uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage. This is great to have in a case such as this, when because the driver was excluded on the owner’s policy and the insurance company will not cover the claim. If the high school boy has also collision and comprehensive insurance for his own vehicle, this cover the damages to his vehicle and then try to get reimbursement from the driver (Uncle Jack) and the owner of the car (you) if you were aware of the excluded driver using your vehicle.
Some states are a no fault insurance states and make all drivers have at least a minimum amount of bodily and damage insurance to cover an accident no matter who is at fault. In this instance, each driver’s car insurance covers their damage.
What if the high school boy only has liability insurance, what can he do?
If Uncle Jack is an excluded driver, and the boy’s car only has liability insurance, than he will have to pay for any medical bills and repairs to the car out of his own pocket. He and his parents can hire a lawyer and go after Uncle Jack and you for all the medical and vehicle damages.
But, if Uncle Jack took your car without permission, and Uncle Jack is a derelict, than the boy and his family may be out of luck. If the boy and his family wanted to go a perhaps easier route, they could try to go after Uncle Jack in small claims court; but again, if Uncle Jack is insolvent this may not turn out well either, financially.
Overall, it’s important when purchasing insurance that you think about the multitude of scenarios you may be in and weigh your options on what you can afford and can’t afford both in regards to insurance premium payments, and possible future outcomes if you don’t have enough or the right type of car insurance coverage.
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