Does the insurance company have to pay for an automobile that has full coverage when an unauthorized driver listed on the policy is in an accident?

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Does the insurance company have to pay for an automobile that has full coverage when an unauthorized driver listed on the policy is in an accident?

My son was in an accident. A car hit him and he then hit another car. All three vehicles have the same insurance company. He and his wife are the owners of the car and his name is on the loan, but the vehicle was covered by his wife’s mother’s insurance company. She listed him as an unauthorized driver since his license was suspended at the time. Does the insurance company still have to pay for the damages to my son’s car?

Asked on June 17, 2009 under Accident Law, Georgia

Answers:

L.M., Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If your son was an unauthorized or excluded driver on the insurance policy that covers the vehicle he was driving at the time of the accident, the insurance company does not have to pay for the damages to the vehicle.  Insurance companies often will insist on excluding a driver with a bad driving record or suspended license in order to continue coverage or to keep the rates down.  Of course, you can always make a claim and see if they are willing to cover it, but don't count on it.  Your son is probably on the hook for the damages out of his own pocket, I'm afraid.

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Motor vehicle laws, and motor vehicle insurance laws, differ from one state to the next, and I don't practice in Georgia.  A local attorney would need to review all of the facts of your case, to give you reliable advice.  One place to find a lawyer is our website, http://attorneypages.com

In most states, the courts try to find coverage wherever possible, and it may be that your son could still be covered as an "incidental user" of the vehicle.  The policy language will be important here. His suspended license is another problem, and the laws of some states are targeted at this.  However, if (and as far as) another driver was at fault for the actual damage to the car, he should be able to recover that much.


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