Generally, when you buy auto insurance, the policy will cover you, your family, or anyone else who has permission to drive your vehicle. Thus, if you or your child or your best friend are driving and cause a wreck, the insurance will protect all of you. This is a big benefit. You never know when you might let someone borrow your car for something.
But today, many insurance companies are starting to offer policies that exclude drivers. It’s not unusual to see low cost companies have a long list of people who they don’t cover. Indeed, some new policies only provide coverage to those people specifically identified.
These kind of policies don’t provide near the protection that standard policies provide. And they affect you in ways that you might not imagine.
Recently, we represented a woman who was estranged from her husband. After they got back together, they were driving on a road trip. Because she was getting tired, she let her husband driver her car. While the husband was driving, they were in a serious wreck caused by an underinsured driver.
We settled the claim against the other driver and then pursued a claim against her underinsured driver coverage. But the UIM carrier denied the claim because the husband, who was estranged when the policy was purchased, was specifically excluded under the policy. Even though who was driving made no difference in whether the wreck would occur or how it occurred, the fact that the driver was excluded deprived my client of her needed benefits.
When you’re purchasing your insurance, make sure you understand the true implications of potentially excluded drivers.