Named Driver Exclusions In Automobile Policies In Texas

Auto policy holders in Grand Prairie, Arlington, Fort Worth, Mansfield, Azle, Dallas, Weatherford, or any other city in Texas would want to know what all that “stuff” in their auto policy means. One part that is pretty easy to explain is the “Named Driver Exclusion.” This is other times called the “515-A Exclusion” or “515-A Endorsement”.
The normal automobile insurance policy is going to have a part that reads, “You agree that none of the insurance coverage afforded by this policy shall apply while ______________ is operating your covered auto or any other motor vehicle. These exclusions and endorsements are legal in insurance contracts. The language used is partly governed by laws published in the Texas Insurance Code. See Sections 1952.051 et al and Sections 2301.001 et al. As for the “Named Driver Exclusion”, it is legal and is intended to give policy holders the option to exclude from coverage drivers who, by virtue of their driving history or other factors, are deemed high risk drivers. This category of drivers would include drivers who have been convicted of violating the Driving While Intoxicated laws found in the Texas Penal Code, drivers with too many moving violations, too many wrecks, and other high risk drivers such as teenagers who have just got their license. It is important to realize that almost all of these drivers can get insurance but the cost of the insurance is much higher than what other drivers must pay.
The Texas Corpus Christ Court of Appeals decided a case in 1996 that is often cited for the validity of the Named Driver Exclusion. The style of the case is, Janie Zamora, Pete Zamora, Jesus Toc, and Gracie Vela v. Dairyland County Mutual Insurance Company. In this case the excluded driver was Gracie Vela, who was driving Jesus Toc’s vehicle. She had a wreck with the Zamoras causing them injury. In this case, the court upheld the validity of the exclusion and discussed the reasons for its validity.
Gracie Vela was a known risk to drive because she suffered from epileptic seizures, had been advised not to drive, and did not even have a driver’s license.
The court stated that the Named Driver Exclusion furthered Texas public policy on two levels; first, the named driver exclusion furthers public policy by enabling drivers with family members having poor driving records to secure insurance they can afford, rather than being relegated to securing coverage from an assigned risk pool at a much greater cost. And, second, by detering insured drivers from entrusting their automobiles to unsafe drivers, thus, keeping those unfit drivers off public roadways.
Here, Dairyland County Mutual Insurance Company denied the claim made by the Zamora’s when the Zamora’s were sued for negligently entrusting their vehicle to Vela for her to drive. Toc sued along with rest of the plaintiffs, challenging the validity of the exclusion. It was upheld as being valid by the court.
An experienced Insurance Law Attorney on rare occassion can beat this exclusion. However, the facts allowing this exclusion to be deafeated are limited and each case has to be looked at closely.