Texas is one of the worst states in the nation for uninsured drivers.
In fact, 1 out of every 5 Texas drivers is not covered by basic liability insurance, more than a million and a half drivers. And that number is probably higher because there's an entire group that has been purposely excluded from insurance policies. And yet, in many cases, they're still driving.
Darold Washington found out the hard way about the exclusion rule when his son was rear-ended on his way home from college for Thanksgiving.
“I am very angry because I try to be responsible and abide by state laws,” he said. “If I cause an accident, I expect my insurance to settle that. I would not expect anything less for myself if someone causes a problem for me.”
Washington says the damage to his son’s car was more than $2,000. But when he contacted the insurance carrier of the young driver who hit his son, he found about the exclusion rule he had never heard of before.
“She's an excluded driver on the insurance. She could not be held liable for it or the insurance company could not be held liable for the accident,” Washington said.
To allow a policy holder to keep a policy, an insurance company will often times exclude a driver who has a DWI, bad driving record or excessive claims. But policy holders can also request a driver be excluded for those same reasons, like a teen driver, to keep premiums down.
“Most insurance companies will allow you to do that. There are a few who will not,” explained Steven Graves with the Steven Graves Insurance Agency. “However, if you do select that option, you need to realize that that driver has no insurance coverage or that vehicle has no insurance coverage should something happen.”
Just as there are drivers with no license and no insurance, there are vehicles being steered by people who shouldn’t be driving because they’ve been excluded from the policy providing protection
“We've had an excluded driver, but I point these things out to them. It’s like you have to understand at some point they're gonna drive that vehicle,” Graves said. “You and I both know that you’ve got to have that vehicle insured.”
“Fortunately, I have full coverage on the car by surprise. We didn’t know we had it. And we did, but they did tell us that if we filed the claim our rates could go up,” Washington said.