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Auto insurance is required by law in nearly every state, and the cost of coverage can add up quickly. Excluding household members who no longer drive or have spotty driving records from your policy may help keep your premium down. But adding an excluded driver to your policy isn't always the right move. Before excluding someone from your coverage, here are a few things to consider and how to do it if you decide it's right for you.
What Is an Excluded Driver?
An excluded driver is a member of your household you ask your insurance company not to insure. Generally, when you purchase car insurance, the insurer will ask for the names of all the licensed drivers in your household, including your spouse, children, roommates, extended family members and anyone else living under the same roof.
That's because car insurance typically covers losses from an accident no matter who in your household is driving—as long as you've told the insurance company about them. When you explicitly exclude someone from your auto insurance policy, the insurer likely won't pay for losses that occur if the excluded driver is behind the wheel.
Rules about excluded drivers vary by state and insurance company. Some states don't allow excluded drivers. Some insurers may require excluded drivers to purchase a separate auto insurance policy before you can exclude them from yours. Other insurers may not allow excluded drivers at all.
Excluding vs. Removing a Driver
When you exclude a driver from your policy, they may not drive your car under any circumstances―even in an emergency. When you remove a driver from your policy, they are usually still covered if they drive your car―as long as they have your permission.
For example, if your child graduates from college, has their own car and moves into a place of their own, they would need to purchase a separate auto insurance policy. In that case, you would remove your child from your car insurance. But if they drive your car occasionally, your auto insurance will generally cover them if you give them permission to use the vehicle.
When Should You Exclude a Driver?
Including all household members on your auto insurance provides the most financial protection. However, excluding high-risk drivers who live under your roof may make sense. Drivers with a history of DUIs, at-fault accidents and moving violations typically pay more for insurance than people with clean driving records. Excluding a risky driver from your policy may help you save on auto insurance.
You may also want to exclude elderly relatives or roommates who no longer drive because it isn't safe for them to get behind the wheel and household members with medical conditions that may make driving risky.
One group of people you shouldn't exclude from your coverage is teen and young adult children who are away at college. It can be tempting to exclude them to save money because it typically costs more to insure this age group than more experienced drivers. However, they should remain on your policy if they drive your car when they're home from school—even if it's only occasionally.
How to Exclude a Driver From Your Auto Insurance Policy
Excluding a driver is simple. You can complete the process in a few steps.
- Contact your insurer. Let them know which person you want to exclude.
- Complete a driver exclusion form. You may need to provide your insurer with some information about the person you want to exclude. After completing the process with the insurance company, the driver will appear as excluded on your policy.
- The driver is excluded. The person will remain an excluded driver as long as your policy is active. If you want to add the driver to your policy in the future, you need permission from the insurance company.
What Happens if an Excluded Driver Gets in an Accident?
If a driver doesn't purchase auto insurance after being excluded from your policy, they are uninsured. If they drive your car, the insurance company likely won't cover any damage or injuries that occur if they're in a car accident. Both you and the driver may be liable for the losses, and your insurance company may raise your rates or choose not to renew your policy.
The driver could also face penalties for driving without insurance. Depending on where you live, that may include fines, license suspension, having your car impounded, jail time and having to meet SR-22 filing requirements.
If the driver took the car without your permission, the insurance company may cover the damage if you prove the car was stolen.
The Bottom Line
Excluding a driver from your insurance policy can help keep insurance costs down in certain situations, but only if the person will never drive your vehicle. If they drive your car for any reason, it may be best to keep them on your policy and look for other ways to save on coverage. Asking your insurer about discounts, comparing quotes from multiple providers and keeping your credit in good standing can help you find affordable coverage. Get your free credit score today to see how it might affect your rates.