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


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.

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