Insurance Policy – Excluded Driver

“Excluded Driver”? Someone in Grand Prairie, Dallas, Arlington, Fort Worth, Garland, Mansfield, Crowley, Benbrook, Cleburne, or anywhere else in Texas may ask what does that means.
An “excluded driver” is someone who not covered on an automobile insurance policy while that person is driving or operating an insured vehicle. In an automobile insurance policy this is usually referred to as a “515A endorsement” or a “515A exclusion”. The Texas Department of Insurance allows insurance companies to exclude drivers from a policy but does require that anybody who is excluded to be named as an “excluded driver” and for there to be a signature by the person taking out the policy, to acknowledge the exclusion with their signature.
The most common situation where this occurs is when a child becomes sixteen and it is time to add them to the policy. The parents get a bill that is substantially higher than what they are use to paying and when they discover the reason for the increased rate is their teenage son or daughter they complain to the insurance agent. The agent then lets the parents know that they can keep their older / cheaper rates by not having the teenager on the policy. But because the teenager lives in the same house as the parents, there is a belief that the child will have access to the insured vehicles. Since the teenager usually exposes the insurance company to a greater risk and the child has access to the family vehicles the insurance agent will inform the parents that the only way they can not include the teenager in the rates being charged is to have the parents sign the “excluded driver” document. This document says there is not coverage for any damage the “excluded driver” does to the insured vehicle nor will there be coverage for any damage the “excluded driver” does to others.
This exclusion is enforceable with very few exceptions. One exception is found in the case, John DiFrancesco and DSS Partnership v. Houston General Insurance Company. This is a 1993, case decided by the Texarkana, Court of Appeals. In this case the language in the Houston General Insurance Company policy, plus the facts in the case allowed a ruling that required Houston General to pay the claim.
It is important to keep in mind that the exclusion applies only while the “excluded driver” is driving or operating the vehicle. In other words, if the “excluded driver” is a passenger in the insured vehicle he is still covered for any other benefits that may apply.
An experienced Insurance Law Attorney would know the few ways that exist for defeating this exclusion, if it can be done. A person should never just give up or take only what the insurance company tells them. They should seek legal advice. It is not uncommon for attorneys to discover fraud and forgeries concerning these exclusions. Plus the agent who sold the policy will often times make mistakes that an attorney can exploit to get coverage for the policyholders.