If an driver with a suspended licensehas an accident in an insured car,is the accident still covered?

My son (28) was driving a car in OH that was insured. The insurance company is saying that because his license was suspended he isn’t covered. Is this correct?

Asked on July 26, 2010 under Accident Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You need to check your son's insurance policy, but there is an excellent chance that he was not covered.

1) Policies will often say in so many words that will not cover for a driver with a suspended, expired, or terminated license.

2) More generally, all types of insurance generally have terms or conditions specifying that don't pay out for losses caused by criminal actions--and driving while ones license is suspended is criminal violation or misdemeanor.

3) Even if it doesn't say either of the above explicitly, there is probably language in the policy about their right to decline coverage if "material" changes (or something similar) occurs. Having a license suspended would be a "material" (or significant) change, and may well give the insurer the right to decline coverage.

4) Also, there's often an obligation to keep the insurer appraised of significant events or changes, so a failure to advise as to a suspension could be a breach of your son's obligations.

Again, the first thing to is to go over the policy with a fine tooth comb, but odds are good there is language excluding--or at least giving the insurer the option of excluding--the coverage. If there is not such language, then they might have to cover--an insurance policy is a contract, after all.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.