What Is an Excluded Driver?

Excluded Drivers Explained

Definition

An excluded driver is a driver whom you ask your auto insurance not to cover. Once they are removed from your policy, that person is not covered by your insurance plan and may not drive your car.

how does driver exclusion work?
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The Balance / Sabrina Jiang

Definition and Examples of an Excluded Driver

An excluded driver is a driver in your household whom you have removed from your car insurance plan. You might choose to do this if they have a bad driving record or are considered a problem driver.

Usually, everyone in your household who can legally drive can be included on your auto insurance, but if you have a risky or problem driver at home, having them on your plan can cause your rates to go up. Drivers who have a lot of accidents or moving violations cost insurance companies more in payouts and coverage. So it's a bigger risk for the insurance company to cover them. Your insurer will raise your rates to cover this increased risk.

A problem driver might have a history of:

  • Collisions or fender benders
  • Moving violations, such as running red lights or speeding
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

If the problem driver keeps getting into accidents or getting tickets, your insurance company may send you a notice saying that you have two choices. You can either pay a higher premium or exclude the driver from your plan.

If you choose to exclude the driver, you're removing them from the plan's coverage as a driver. This means that that person is not covered by your insurance while they are driving. They may not legally drive any cars that are covered under your policy unless they buy a separate insurance plan. Once you have excluded the problem driver from your plan, the insurer may not raise your rates based on their driving record.

Note

Excluded household members are still covered as passengers.

How Does an Excluded Driver Work?

If you elect to exclude one of your household members from your auto insurance, the provider will update your policy. The new plan will name the excluded driver and any conditions the insurer does not cover.

The policy owner and provider sign and agree that the named household member is no longer covered when driving one of your insured cars. Exclusions don't have to be close family members. Any driver who lives in your home can be excluded, such as a roommate or a cousin who lives with you for a short time.

Once a household member is named as an excluded driver, they should not drive any vehicles covered by the plan. If they do, it is the same as driving without insurance. If an accident occurs, both the vehicle owner and the excluded driver could be held personally liable for damages.

Note

Some states don't allow driver exclusions. This is meant to reduce the chances that people will drive without insurance. Wisconsin, for example, does not allow drivers to be excluded by endorsement.

The length of exclusion depends on the reason it became an issue in the first place. If a driver was excluded to appease the insurance company, they might be able to become covered again. They would need to build up a good driving record and maintain a valid license.

To add an excluded driver back onto your plan, you'll need to speak with your insurance agent, who will verify the excluded driver's license and driving record. Once that has happened, restoring their status should be quick, and you will be issued a new policy.

Here's an example of excluding a household member. If your child was 17 years old and had their driver's license, they could drive your car if you had them listed on your insurance plan. If they were to get a few speeding tickets, your insurance premiums might go up a little.

suppose that after two speeding tickets, your child caused a wreck. Even though no one was injured in the crash, your insurance provider decides that your child is a risky driver. The company says you have two options: pay higher premiums or exclude your child from the policy.

Suppose you remove your child from your main insurance. You also have them pay for their own plan so they can keep driving and improving their driving record. Six months after you exclude them from your plan, you think they have learned their lesson. You contact your agent and discuss the terms of getting your child added back as a driver on your plan.

Do I Need to Exclude a Driver?

Whether or not to exclude a driver from your car insurance is always your choice. Your insurance company can't "force" you. It can, however, make you feel as though you are being forced into an exclusion by charging you a very high premium rate or threatening to cancel your plan if you do not agree to the exclusion.

The company's reasoning is simple. Bad drivers are risky to insure. This means they are much more likely to cost an insurer in claim payouts. That makes your whole plan a riskier proposition for the insurer to cover. It's better for them just to cancel your policy than to take on the extra riskier driver.

You may find that the person you need to exclude is someone in your household who needs to drive, such as a spouse or child. If your insurer insists on excluding them from your policy, you will need to come up with another solution.

The first thing to try is shopping around. Just because your current insurer demands an exclusion, that doesn't mean all the other ones will. You may find one or two auto insurance companies that are willing to cover you without the exclusion.

Depending on the total cost, the best choice may be to have two insurance plans. You would purchase your own insurance plan and list the high-risk driver as an excluded driver. Then you would have a separate high-risk policy for that driver. Premiums for these types of plans are often high, but if staying with your current insurer means excluding someone who still needs to drive, it may be your best option.

Alternatives to an Excluded Driver

Keep in mind that not all insurance companies allow for excluded drivers. Under some policies, if one driver can't get insurance, then no one else in the household can either. Other plans and carriers may raise your rates very high rather than allowing exclusions. Alternatively, the insurer might require the driver to be dropped from coverage and purchase insurance themselves.

Note

Once you have excluded a driver, this exclusion continues every time you renew your plan. To change it, you will need to contact your insurer and have them agree to add the driver back to your policy.

You can always leave the driver on your plan if the provider allows you to. Your premiums will increase, but how the policy is paid for is up to you. If your speedster son wants to drive, he could find a job to pay for his portion of the higher insurance premiums or get his own plan.

You may be able to send your problem driver to a driver-improvement course to appease the insurance company. In some cases, that might not be a choice; if they end up in legal trouble, a judge might require it. Your insurance company also might require driver education in order for your coverage to continue.

Before you decide to exclude a driver in your household from your policy, it helps to do the math. An insurance agent will be able to walk you through how much money you will save by excluding or removing a driver. You may also look into how much it would cost to add a separate plan for them.

Key Takeaways

  • An excluded driver is someone who has been removed from your insurance plan and won't receive coverage if they drive one of your cars.
  • Your insurance provider cannot exclude a driver from your insurance without your consent.
  • Some states and companies do not allow exclusion of a driver.
  • You might be able to keep a problem driver on a plan by paying higher premiums.
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Sources
The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Maryland Insurance Administration. "A Consumer Guide to Auto Insurance," Page 30. Accessed Dec. 9, 2021.

  2. New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance. "Everything You Wanted to Know About Auto Insurance But Were Afraid to Ask," Page 6. Accessed Dec. 9, 2021.

  3. State of Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance. "Consumer's Guide to Auto Insurance," Page 7. Accessed Dec. 9, 2021.

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