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What is an excluded driver?

An excluded driver is someone you ask your insurance company not to cover. Excluded drivers are not allowed to use your vehicle, otherwise they're effectively driving uninsured.

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Andrew HurstSenior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance ExpertAndrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

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Although usually insurance providers require all members of the household to be listed on a car's insurance policy, excluded drivers are prevented from driving the insured vehicle. Since high-risk drivers can cause your rates to be more expensive, you may want to exclude these drivers from coverage for cheaper car insurance.

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However, if an excluded driver uses the insured car anyway and causes injuries or property damage, they wouldn't be covered by the insurance company. Instead, you would have to pay out of pocket for the cost of damage, including legal fees and higher future premiums.

Key takeaways

  • The term "excluded driver" refers to someone who is specifically listed as not covered by your car insurance policy.

  • Excluded drivers can’t get behind the wheel of your car — if they do, they're considered to be uninsured.

  • Excluded drivers who get into an accident in a car they’re prohibited from driving can face steep fines, a suspended license, jail time, and may have to pay for the cost of injuries and damage themselves.

  • You may want to exclude high-risk drivers, including those with past claims or a history of DUI/DWI, accidents, speeding tickets, and other violations, from driving your vehicle in order to lower the cost of car insurance.

What does an excluded driver mean?

An excluded driver is someone who can no longer drive your car and who you've asked your insurance company not to cover. Any excluded driver who drives your vehicle would be effectively uninsured if they were in an accident (and would also be violating your policy). 

Without insurance covering the damage, you would be responsible for paying for any injuries or property loss that an excluded driver causes in your car, and any damage they do to your vehicle or injuries they sustain in an at-fault accident wouldn’t be covered. 

Excluding a driver is not the same as removing a person from coverage. It's common to remove someone from your policy while not making them ineligible for insurance coverage — like someone who has their own auto insurance. While your insurer won't set your rates according to these drivers' risk profiles, someone who you've simply removed from your policy — like an adult or child — can still borrow your car occasionally.

When to exclude a driver from insurance

There are some reasons why it could be a good idea to consider excluding a high-risk driver from your car insurance coverage — assuming you live in a state where it's permitted. Since high-risk drivers can cause your insurance rates to be higher, you could pay more affordable car insurance premiums if you exclude them from coverage. 

Besides you, the policyholder, the following people are typically by your insurance policy:

  • Family members: Anyone living in your household, including your spouse or children. 

  • Other named insureds: Anyone living in your household who uses your car who isn't a family member, like a roommate.

  • Permissive drivers: Drivers who don't live with you but often use your car with permission.

Since your insurance company usually requires you to list family members on your policy, having a high-risk drive in your home can mean higher rates. If a family member has gotten into accidents in the past, has moving violations, a DUI, or is a young or inexperienced driver, listing them as an excluded driver could lower your car insurance rates.

Having a high-risk driver in the family isn't the only reason why you might list someone as an excluded driver. You may also exclude people who live in your household but don't drive anymore. Finally, drivers who live with you but have their own car insurance policy can also be excluded from your coverage.

→ Learn about the best car insurance companies for high-risk drivers

Can you remove a driver exclusion?

Removing a driver exclusion requires that you contact your insurance company. Your insurer may ask for documentation showing that the driver should no longer be considered high risk. When you add that formerly excluded driver back onto your policy, your rates may go up. 

If you don't remove a driver exclusion, it continues to apply every time you renew your policy. Exclusions also remain even if the policy is suspended and later reinstated, or altered in some other way. 

Alternatives to excluding a driver from your insurance

There are other ways to lower your car insurance rates besides excluding a high-risk driver from your insurance policy. As a rule, you shouldn't exclude anyone who might still drive your car — even infrequently. 

For instance, if you have a teenage driver listed on your policy who's away at college, you should not exclude them since they might still drive your car occasionally. In this example, you could ask your insurance company for an away-from-home discount for infrequent drivers.

If you're concerned about paying expensive premiums for insurance, Policygenius recommends comparing the cost of auto insurance from multiple companies to find the cheapest coverage near you. Many insurance providers also offer even high-risk drivers the chance to lower their rates, like by completing safe driving courses and remaining accident-free over time.

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What happens if an excluded driver gets in an accident?

Excluded drivers are effectively uninsured drivers if they use the vehicle they're prohibited from driving. If an excluded driver is in an accident in the vehicle they’re not supposed to drive, a number of things can happen depending on the situation.

  • If an excluded driver was using your car: Besides paying higher premiums and risking nonrenewal or your policy, you or the excluded driver who was in an accident could be liable for paying the entire cost of damages yourself, including legal fees and medical bills. Since the driver was uninsured under your policy, your insurance company would pay for nothing.

  • If you’re injured by an excluded driver: You would be covered by your policy's uninsured motorist protection if you have it. Without this coverage, you would have to sue the excluded driver or the main policyholder for the expenses.

  • If you’re an excluded driver and you cause an accident: As the excluded driver, you could be fined for driving without insurance, have your license suspended, or face jail time. You would also be liable for the cost of the damage and injuries the accident causes. 

→ Learn more about what happens if you're in an accident without car insurance

What is a driver exclusion form?

If you want to exclude someone from your car insurance coverage, you need to file a driver exclusion form with your insurer. Also called a "named driver exclusion" or "operator exclusion" form, these documents allow you to list the drivers you want to exclude from coverage in the event of a claim situation, like an accident.

Once you decide to exclude a driver from your auto insurance policy, you can file a driver exclusion form online or via physical copy, as long as you have the following information:

  • Your name

  • Your insurance policy's number

  • The make and model of the insured vehicle

  • The names of the drivers you want to exclude

  • The birthdays of the drivers you want to exclude

  • The driver's license numbers of the excluded drivers

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you exclude your spouse from insurance coverage?

As the primary policyholder, you could remove your spouse from coverage yourself as long as your insurance company approves. However, if your spouse and you are jointly named as your policy's main insured party, you will have to have their consent to change your auto insurance.

Can a car insurance company add or remove a driver without your permission?

No, car insurance companies can't add or remove a driver without notifying you and getting your permission. However, your insurer may raise rates for a high-risk driver so much that it becomes difficult to pay for your policy. Under these conditions, it may be best to exclude or remove another driver from your policy.

How long can my child be included on my car insurance?

You can keep your child on your car insurance as long as they continue to live with you. If they're away at college this can result in a discount from your insurance company, since they won’t be driving your car much. Otherwise, your child may be covered by your policy's permissive use protections.