There is almost always more than one licensed driver, even in a single vehicle household. If you are the owner of that vehicle, you need to be covered for any liability arising from the use of that vehicle by the other members of your household. This article explains how coverage for other drivers in your household can be arranged.
Liability For the Actions of Other Driver in General
In Texas, the owner of a vehicle is liable if:
- He voluntarily lets someone use his car;
- They drive negligently; and
- They cause injury to someone or damage to their property.
The injured party may then seek to recover damages from both the driver and the owner of the vehicle.
For example, let’s say John permits Jason to use his car. Jason then runs a stop sign and hits Mike, who suffers damage to his vehicle and a broken arm. Mike then has a personal injury claim against both John (the owner of the vehicle) and Jason
In Texas, as with many other states, your motor vehicle insurance follows your vehicle, not the driver. Whenever you let another person drive your car and that person causes an accident and injury to another, your insurance policy will act as the primary policy and cover all liability. However, if the policy on the car is insufficient to cover the entire claim, the driver’s insurance, if any, will kick in to cover the rest, up to the limits of his or her policy.
Liability For the Actions of Others Driver in Your Household
Exactly who is considered a household member can vary from provider to provider, but in general, anyone who lives with you and uses your car on a regular basis will be considered a member of your household for auto insurance purposes. This includes your immediate and extended family, as well as any roommates or boarders who frequently use your car.
No two insurance policies are alike, but insurance coverage for members of your household generally goes as follows:
- The state mandated minimum insurance requirements must be met: The minimum requirement in Texas: $10,000 personal injury protection and $10,000 property damage liability.
- The insurance policy must be in the name of the owner of the vehicle.
- Insurance coverage will be extended to anyone in your household who is 16 years of age, has a valid driver’s license, and is listed on your insurance policy.
- There is no requirement to list anyone in your household unless they are fully licensed to drive.
- You may exclude anyone in your household from being covered under your policy by filing an “exclusion” form with your insurance carrier.
Many insurers will require you to list any member of your household who is of driving age. But, as mentioned above, you may normally exclude anyone in your household from being listed on your policy. However, this is not a good idea, unless you are absolutely certain that this person will not be driving your car.
If you neglect to list any member of your household on your auto insurance policy, and they are involved in an accident while using your car, your insurance may refuse to cover your claim. In addition, any accident caused by an individual whom you have specifically excluded from your policy will be denied coverage.
On the other hand, you are often allowed to extend temporary coverage to individuals who are not members of your household. For instance, if you have a friend or relative staying with you for a short period of time, you may notify your insurance provider that this person will be using your car for a temporary period of time and the insurer will be obliged to cover any claims resulting from that person’s use of the vehicle.