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Question

Do I have to list my disabled spouse on my Virginia auto policy?

I’m recently married and, while my wife has a license, she hasn’t driven in several years due to disability (her knees don’t work and she uses a powered wheelchair).

We added her name to the title of my car to get a disabled license plate. However, once I told my insurance company, they jacked up my rates even though they have her noted as a disabled non-driver.

Their logic seems to be that she might drive some day, and everyone over 15 must be listed on the policy. However, if she does drive again it will be an accessible vehicle and not my current car.

What are the rules in Virginia?

Agent Answer

Neil Richardson
Most, if not all, insurance companies require that any household members of driving age be listed on your policy. In most states, however, you have the option to exclude household members so they don’t impact your rate and are not insured under your policy. In the event that an excluded driver is involved in an accident where they are considered to be at-fault, your insurance company is not on the hook to pay for any of the damage that they caused. The reason Virginia, as well as a handful of other states, does not allow exclusions is because it exposes other drivers to the possibility of suffering a loss that isn’t covered by the at-fault party. States that don’t allow exclusions feel that doing so creates too big of a risk of uninsured drivers.

 

Here is the abbreviated version of the omnibus clause in Virginia:

 

Section 38.2-2204 of the Code of Virginia requires all policies covering liability for bodily injury or property damage arising from the ownership, maintenance, or use of any motor vehicle, aircraft, or private pleasure watercraft issued upon, or to the owner of, such motor vehicle, aircraft, or watercraft to provide coverage to all permissive users of, and any persons responsible for the use of, the motor vehicle, aircraft, or private pleasure watercraft.

 

And here is a link to the full omnibus clause as it pertains to auto insurance coverage in Virginia.

 

I would recommend contacting your insurance provider and asking them how your spouse would impact your policy if she were no longer licensed to drive. If her license status is the cause of the issue then it might be a good idea to consider relinquishing her drivers license to the state so you can avoid being charged for an additional driver on your policy. In the future if she plans on driving then she can simply reapply for a drivers license.

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