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While most drivers don’t give much thought to their car insurance policy until they have to file a claim, it’s important to understand what your policy covers—and doesn’t cover. Exclusions in auto insurance policies are common and can vary depending on the insurer. A driver-based exclusion is one type of exclusion that may be included in your policy.

What are exclusions in auto insurance policies?

Tamika Arnold Capone pictured in Jonesboro, Arkansas, who was hit by a drunk driver in a car accident in 2011
Tamika Arnold Capone, who was hit by a drunk driver | The Washington Post via Getty Images

An exclusion is something that is expressly not covered by your insurance policy. In other words, if there’s an exclusion in your policy, and you have a claim that falls under that exclusion, your insurer will not cover the damages.

For instance, most auto insurance policies exclude coverage for damage caused by racing or intentional acts. So, your insurer will not pay a claim if you’re in an accident while street racing. If intentional damage was done to your car, say you keyed it yourself, your insurer would not cover the damages.

Many different types of exclusions can be included in auto insurance policies. Some common exclusions include:

Coverage-based exclusions

According to Bankrate, coverage-based exclusions are based on what type of coverage you have. The policy may exclude certain types of coverage, like collision or comprehensive. For example, if you have comprehensive coverage but not collision coverage, any damage to your car caused by an accident would not be covered. There are various types of coverage-based exclusions, including:

  • MedPay insurance exclusions: MedPay is a type of medical coverage that can be purchased as an add-on to auto insurance policies. This coverage pays for the policyholder’s medical expenses and, in some cases, those of their passengers, regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
  • Liability insurance exclusions: The insurance covers damages to other people and property if the policyholder is found at fault for an accident.
  • Collision insurance exclusions: This type of coverage pays for damage to the policyholder’s car resulting from a collision with another vehicle or object, regardless of who is at fault.
  • Comprehensive insurance exclusions: This type of coverage pays for damage to the policyholder’s car from events other than a collision, such as theft, fire, or vandalism.

Driver-based exclusions

A driver-based exclusion is an exemption that specifically names a driver—or multiple drivers—who are not covered under the policy. This type of exclusion is often used to exclude high-risk drivers from a policy. It might also be used to exclude drivers with poor driving records or those who have been convicted of certain traffic violations.

For example, let’s say you have a teenage driver on your policy who gets into an accident. If there’s a driver-based exclusion for teenage drivers on your policy, your insurer will not cover the accidents’ damages.

According to Car And Driver, another example might be if you have a driver on your policy who has been convicted of DUI. If there’s a driver-based exclusion for drivers with DUIs, then that driver would not be covered in the event of an accident.

Other types of exclusions that may be included in your policy relate to who’s behind the wheel. These include:

  • Family member exclusion: Some policies will exclude coverage for accidents that involve family members. The exclusion might also exempt a teen with most speeding tickets or a DUI from coverage.
  • Named driver exclusion: You might decide to exclude a roommate, relatives, or other drivers living in your household from your policy. The methodology for this is simply to list their names on the policy as not covered drivers. In case of an accident, if the at-fault driver is not listed on the policy, they would not be covered.

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