Did you know that auto carriers in Massachusetts require that all licensed household members and people who may have regular access to any vehicle be listed as operators on their policies? If these operators have their own policies, they can be deferred to their own policies.
However, if an operator NEVER drives a particular vehicle or any vehicle on the policy, the named operator may opt to exclude him/herself with a signed exclusion form. This form needs to be signed by the vehicle's policyholder as well as the operator seeking exclusion. By signing the exclusion form, both the policyholder and excluded operator agree that the excluded operator will not operate the specified vehicle(s) under any circumstances whatsoever. If for any reason an excluded operator does happen to drive a vehicle and is involved in an accident, the company can deny the claim. Because there can be this denial of liability for any property damage or bodily injury claims, the policyholder and excluded operator could both be named in potential lawsuits.
For example, some parents (insured to a specific vehicle) exclude their children who attend an out-of-state college without a vehicle. When this is done, the parents must remember to notify the agent to change the status of the excluded operator when the operator returns home for a weekend, a vacation, or the summer. New exclusion forms are required for each period of time that this particular operator is being re-excluded (return to college, study abroad, etc.) Carriers can limit the number of times this may be done during the year, so it is always wise to check with the carriers when the exclusion is requested.
Another important issue that may come into play with operator exclusions on the auto policy is if there is an umbrella policy in place for the household. Many umbrella carriers will not allow excluded operators, so this also must be clarified with the umbrella carrier prior to processing any exclusions.
Lastly, if a named insured operator decides he/she will no longer be driving, this operator cannot be excluded or removed as an operator until he/she surrenders his/her driver’s license for a MA ID. Registered owners are required to be listed as operators unless they no longer have an active driver’s license.
Insurance can sometimes be confusing, so if you have any questions, feel free to contact us!