Live with a bad driver? A named-driver exclusion may save you

Written by Gary Bangstad and Andrew Freiburghouse on February 16, 2012 & Posted in Auto Insurance

Do you have a driver in your household whose risky behavior has driven your car insurance rates sky high, caused the cancellation of your policy or made it difficult to find a car insurance company who will offer you a policy? If so, there may be a remedy that can deliver you from this situation.

While you can't make someone's bad driving record disappear, you may be able to make him or her disappear from your car insurance policy by asking for a named-driver exclusion.

A named-driver exclusion is an endorsement to your auto insurance policy that specifically names a driver and excludes that person from your policy's coverages and benefits.

This type of endorsement is recommended if you have a person in your home who has multiple tickets, several at-fault auto accidents, an alcohol- or drug-related conviction (such as a DUI), or a suspended license.

By excluding high-risk drivers from your auto insurance policy, you will be able to keep their driving records from affecting your car insurance rates. There is the catch, though: If you exclude drivers, they cannot drive your insured cars (at any time for any reason) because there is no longer coverage extended to them from your auto insurance policy.

Excluding a driver doesn't alter your liability as a car owner. So, if you permit excluded drivers to operate your car and they have an accident, both of you could be held personally responsible for any damages or injuries they caused.

Keeping a bad driver off your policy should lower your auto insurance rates and may allow you to receive good driver discounts that you were ineligible for previously due to that person's record.

State insurance laws and insurance companies' guidelines vary. Even when the exclusion is allowed, there may be certain exceptions. For example, in North Carolina you cannot exclude a spouse from your car insurance policy.

A named-driver exclusion is ongoing. So if you renew, reinstate or amend your policy, the driver exclusion will continue to be valid. If, at some point, you want the excluded driver to drive your cars, you'll need to request that the exclusion be taken off. The insurer will have to agree to this and to add the person onto your policy as a rated driver.

About the Author

Gary P. Bangstad, Ed. D. is a freelance writer in the area of business and insurance. Previously, he worked for Midwest Financial Planning LTD, selling insurance and investment products. He has also taught music at the university level.

Andrew Freiburghouse is a writer and businessman. As a partner at Los Angeles tax preparation firm Pronto Income Tax of California, Inc., Andrew has served thousands of clients both face to face and over the telephone. Currently, Andrew lives in Brooklyn, NY, and is in the process of starting up his own tax practice.

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