My friend borrowed my car and got in an accident, will my policy provide coverage? Author:    Posted under: Auto InsuranceAuto Insurance questions answered

Most of us have friends or family come to us and ask to borrow our car. For some this happens on a regular basis. We usually don’t give it another thought… until accident strikes. Then we panic thinking we might get in trouble with our car insurance company for allowing another person to drive our vehicle.

The fact of the matter is you will have to check with your insurance agent whether your policy covers those who use your car that are not specifically named in your policy. In all likelihood, your insurance would cover drivers not on the policy but there are a lot of conflicting rules about who can actually be covered and what kind of coverage will be provided.

As a general rule, however, insurance coverage follows the car first and the driver second.  So if you’ve given your friend explicit permission to drive your car and he/she gets in an accident, your car will receive full comprehensive/collision coverage regardless of who is driving it. This is in accordance with the scenario that your existing coverage is adequate. Only in the case that your coverage isn’t adequate will the driver’s, in this case your friend’s, insurance step in and fill in the gap. The driver’s insurance will only be secondary; if for example your insurance provider does not cover drivers not included in your policy, then his coverage will have to come into play.

Obviously, your insurance will not cover damages to your car if the person driving was not given your express permission to do so. In this case, the car will have been technically stolen and only your theft insurance would apply.

So who exactly is safely covered by your policy then? Fortunately, insurance companies have guidelines as to who is insured to drive your car. The following are who most insurers will typically provide coverage for while driving your vehicle:

Your Spouse. When you apply for an auto insurance policy, they will ask you to list your spouse’s basic information as well. This is in the assumption that your spouse will have access to your car and will drive it from time to time.

Your Children. As soon as they are of driving age, you will also have to list your children’s information on your policy. Younger drivers are typically riskier to insure so you may observe a rise in your premiums by listing them.

Your Friends. So long as you only allowed your friend or non-resident relative to borrow your car once and he/she is involved in an accident, they will usually be covered by your insurance. On the other hand if your son or daughter allows a friend to use your car without your express permission, then that driver would not be covered. If you also plan on letting someone use your car for an extended period of time, you should notify your insurer so no problems will arise later on.

Additionally, if the driver is a relative who happens to live with you and you do not have them listed on your policy, the car insurance company may decide not to honor your claims. They might reason that you should have told them about your relative long ago and assume that your relative uses your car far more frequently than you are letting on. They might argue that since you did not list this person in your policy that you chose not to have him/her covered so as not to raise your premiums and believe that you were being deceitful in your application.

Your car insurance policy may also have a list of exclusions as to who they will not provide coverage for. Check to see if they will only insure persons living in your household or exclude individuals under a certain age.

The key thing to keep in mind is this, before handing over your car keys to someone else always check with your car insurance provider first. It won’t hurt you to be thorough and ready for any eventuality.


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