I cannot stress enough the importance of knowing your listed “status” on your auto insurance policy.  Are you a “named insured” or are you listed as an “authorized driver”.

I was again reminded of the fact that most people are unaware of the limitations of their coverage. For example, I have a client who was very seriously injured as a pedestrian crossing the street to where her car was parked. Yes, “her car” is covered by car insurance. However, she is not the “named insured” on the policy. She is only listed as a “driver” on the policy. Therefore, she would only have medical coverage if she were actually operating the insured vehicle, not as a pedestrian walking toward the car.  

She was absolutely shocked to learn this. She and her fiancé live together but he is the “named insured” on the policy and she is listed as an authorized driver. She assumed she was fully covered by the policy since she is specifically named in the policy. If they were married, she would be covered as a “household family member”. However, they are not married so the only way to receive all the benefits of the policy, is to also be listed as a “named insured”.  

I firmly believe insurance agents should advise their customers of the limitations when a driver is not a named insured and not a “family member”. However, not all agents explain this so it is imperative that the consumer ask the questions and know what the difference is between being the “insured” and being listed as a “household driver”.

Denise Mariani is a member of Stark & Stark’s Lawrenceville, New Jersey office, specializing in Accident & Personal Injury Law. For more information, please contact Ms. Mariani.