May 30, 2017

At Fault Driver With No Driver’s License

What if the At Fault Driver Doesn’t Have a Driver’s License?

hello sticker of uninsured motoristThe Insurance Research Council reports that one in seven US drivers does not have car insurance. This figure includes those operating a vehicle without a driver’s license. An unlicensed driver may or may not have insurance coverage. Insurance coverage follows the vehicle, but in cases of other uninsured drivers, your uninsured motorist coverage would apply and benefits could be paid under it to cover any damages.

 

Unlicensed Drivers

Just because another driver does not possess a valid driver’s license does not necessarily mean that there is no insurance against which you might file a claim.  That driver’s license might be suspended, but he/she may still have insurance. In other cases, another person’s insurance might cover that vehicle – particularly if the driver was a friend or family member just borrowing the vehicle temporarily.

 

An unlicensed driver is operating the vehicle illegally. According to state law, any driver is not lawfully permitted to operate a motor vehicle on public roads. In most cases of assigning blame, an unlicensed driver is likely to be found 100% at-fault. Any driver who is cited or charged a traffic violation or other unlawful activity directly related to the accident will likely be found 100% at-fault when it comes to civil liability.

 

Uninsured / Unlicensed Motorists – Recovering Damages

In the state of Florida, like most other states, insurance coverage follows the car – not the driver. If a grandmother allows her teenage grandson to take the car to the supermarket, Grandma’s insurance covers her grandson even if he is unlicensed or uninsured. If the grandson rear-ends you while you’re waiting at a red light, you’ll be able to pursue a claim against Grandma’s insurance. Even if the grandson did have his own insurance policy, Grandma’s policy is still primarily responsible if an accident occurs.

 

The same rule applies to any case in which a friend, family member, or other associate borrows a car. The owner and primary operator’s insurance follows the car. In cases where the borrowing driver is unlicensed, that driver could be cited or even charged for operating without a license – but the insurance claims process will be the same.

 

However, what if the driver is the owner of the car and does not have a valid license? Though unlikely, this is a possible scenario. The same general rules apply. If the driver has insurance, you can file a claim against it, license or no license. If that driver is uninsured, you will need to pursue a civil claim against that person’s assets. Dealing with an unlicensed driver is not quite as tricky as dealing with an uninsured driver.

 

Uninsured Motorist Coverage – Protecting Yourself

Uninsured motorists, like those in Florida, are subject to citation and license suspension if they are caught driving without insurance coverage.  If they’re also caught driving without a license, misdemeanor charges and heavier fines could result. For the rest of the responsible, law-abiding drivers, choosing insurance options and coverage above Florida’s mandated minimum limits are recommended  to best protect a driver and his/her assets, especially in any potential case where that driver could share some of the fault.

 

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is not a mandatory option, but it will protect you in any case of an accident specifically involving another driver not carrying insurance. Make sure that your coverage limits are high enough to replace your vehicle in the case that an uninsured driver totals it. You might also consider higher coverage limits to address potential medical costs, such as a trip to the emergency room.

 

If such an accident takes place, this specific coverage option covers your vehicle’s repair/replacement costs through your insurance carrier and will not shift the blame to you – regardless of the other driver’s lack of coverage or license status.

 

References:

 

Esurance – http://www.esurance.com/insurance-resources/car-insurance-follows-driver-myth

 

Edmunds.com – How Much Car Insurance Do You Need? – http://www.edmunds.com/auto-insurance/how-much-car-insurance-do-you-need.html

 

Share this article

Speak Your Mind

*

Email