Let’s say you are a Grand Prairie or Arlington resident. You purchased an auto policy from an agent in Fort Worth. The price quoted seemed way too high and you asked the agent if there was anything that could be done to get the premium lower. The agent says, “Yes, we can take your teenage son off the policy.” You say okay. The agent sells you a policy that excludes coverage if your teenage son is driving the car.
You can guess what happens next – the son drives the car and gets involved in a wreck. Now what? Numerous lawsuits have been filed in these situations and outcomes will sometimes be different depending on the facts of the accident and more importantly, the wording in the insurance policy that excludes the son.
Courts will look closely at the wording in the policy at issue but as a general rule, these exclusions are found by the Courts to be valid. It has been held that public policy dictates the allowance of such exclusions to enable insured motorists with children having bad driving records to secure insurance they can afford, rather than being relegated to securing coverage from an assigned risk pool at a much higher cost. This issue was discussed at length in the case, Wright v. Rodney D. Young Ins. Agcy. Wright was a 1995, Fort Worth Court of Appeals case.
Another case, Zamora v. Dairyland County Mut. Ins. Co., was decided in 1996 by the Corpus Christ Court of Appeals, and said essentially the same. The Court wrote that, the named driver exclusion furthers public policy by enabling drivers with family members having poor driving records to secure insurance they can afford. It also deters insured drivers from entrusting their automobiles to unsafe excluded drivers, thus, keeping those unfit drivers off the public roadways.
One thing to keep in mind here is that the general rule cited in the two cases above is subject to the facts of each situation and the wording of the policies involved. It is for that reason that consulting with an experienced Insurance Law Attorney should be a priority if you find yourself in a situation where coverage is being denied because the driver was an excluded driver.