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Will auto insurance pay for an at-fault accident by an unlicensed driver?

Pflugerville, TX |

My son is 17 and does not have his drivers license. He drove a short distance and failed to yield to on-coming traffic and caused a collision. Thankfully, everyone is okay. Since he does not have a license and is not on my insurance, driving alone, will my insurance company pay for my car damage?

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Attorney answers 2


The previous response is correct, and the final answer could depend on additional facts regarding your available Liability or Collision coverage. The Liability coverage will be necessary for any claims made by the other driver for injuries or property damage to them or their vehicle. The Collision coverage is needed to cover the damage to your vehicle. Liability coverage is mandatory. Since Collision insurance is optional, you need to confirm that you elected to have this optional coverage on your car. If you have a lienholder and make car payments, you probably have this coverage, since this coverage is required by all vehicle lienholders.

Generally speaking, if your son is living in your house, and you have a Standard Texas Personal Auto Insurance Policy with Collision insurance coverage, and your son has not been specifically excluded from your policy, I would think your son is entitled to coverage for purposes of both Liability and Collision insurance even if he is unlicensed. To exclude him from coverage you, or the named insured on your policy, would have had to sign a Form 515A driver exclusion form.

Bottom line, unlicensed drivers are not automatically excluded as a matter of statute or law if they are otherwise covered as a family member or permissive driver. You should read your Declaration page and review your auto insurance policy language. A typical Standard Texas Personal Auto Insurance Policy contains the following the language for Covered Persons, Liability and Collision coverage, and these are the pertinent sections you want to review, including the exclusions.


A. Throughout this policy, "you" and "your" refer to:
1.The "named insured" shown in the Declarations, and
2. The spouse if a resident of the same household.
D. "Family member" means a person who is a resident of your household and related to you by blood, marriage or adoption. This definition includes a ward or foster child who is a resident of your household, and also includes your spouse even when not a resident of your household during a period of separation in contemplation of divorce.

G. "Your covered auto" means:
1. Any vehicle shown in the Declarations;

PART A — Liability Coverage
A. We will pay damages for bodily injury or property damage for which any covered person becomes legally responsible because of an auto accident. Property damage includes loss of use of the damaged property. Damages include prejudgment interest awarded against the covered person. We will settle or defend, as we consider appropriate, any claim or suit asking for these damages. In addition to our limit of liability, we will pay all defense costs we incur. Our duty to settle or defend ends when our limit of liability for this coverage has been exhausted.
B. "Covered person" as used in this Part means:
1. You or any family member for the ownership, maintenance or use of any auto or trailer.

A. We will pay for direct and accidental loss to your covered auto, including its equipment less any applicable deductible shown in the Declarations. However, we will pay for loss caused by collision only if the Declarations indicate that Collision Coverage is provided.
B. "Collision" means the upset, or collision with another object of your covered auto. However, loss caused by the following are not considered "collision": …

Good Luck!

Hutton W. Sentell

Please know that this answer is being provided to you in response to the limited information contained in your submission and should be considered for informational and/or educational purposes only. This response does not establish any attorney client privilege or relationship between you and me, as a responding attorney, and my post certainly does not attempt to counsel you on any of the pertinent legal facts and/or implications concerning your issue. To fully investigate and determine your legal rights, should you so choose, I recommend that you promptly consult with an attorney of your choosing as time may be of the essence.


You will want to discuss this with your insurance agent. Different states have different general rules about this, but specific insurance policies often have provisions that add or exclude specific drivers.

I would start first by talking to your agent, and then reporting the claim to your insurance company. Often time it comes down to whether or not you gave your son permission to drive the vehicle, regardless of whether or not he was legally permitted to.

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