Does car insurance follow the car or the driver? Can a friend drive my car? Can you drive someone else’s car without insurance? What happens if the car is insured, but the driver is not? And finally, what happens if a friend wrecked my car? These are all questions drivers, families and policyholders have at times. The simple answer is that auto insurance generally follows the car, but every situation is different and whether your company will pay out a claim depends on the type of coverage you have and the state you live in.
Ultimately, if you own a car, then you should also have an insurance policy that covers damages and injuries in the event of an accident. Though different types of coverage exist, the top insurance companies follow the same set of guidelines when it comes to allowing other people to drive your car under your insurance. The information below will help you better understand who and what your insurance provider will cover if you let someone else borrow your insured vehicle.
- 1 Can A Friend Drive My Car?
- 2 Who Is Covered When Driving Your Car?
- 3 Does Car Insurance Cover The Car or Driver?
- 4 Driving Someone Else’s Car Without Insurance
- 5 Who Is Liable In A Car Accident – The Owner or Driver?
- 6 Instant Insurance Quotes Online
Can A Friend Drive My Car?
To put things simply, your car insurance will cover any licensed driver who borrows your car. This means that a friend can drive your car. Furthermore, if a friend borrows your car and has an accident, including an at-fault wreck, your insurance company will likely pay for any damages that occur within the limits of your policy, once your deductible has been paid. If the amount of coverage you have is not enough to cover all the claims, then your friend’s insurance policy is responsible for paying the difference.
In broader terms, you can assume that an uninsured driver driving an insured car would be covered, granted the person is licensed and legally-permitted to use your vehicle.
Permissive use means that if you give another driver permission to use your car, they will be covered by your insurance. For family members or friends who don’t live with you but borrow your car sometimes, you can loan them your vehicle with peace of mind.
Who Is Covered When Driving Your Car?
While someone else can drive your car with or without insurance, there are some exceptions to this rule.
- Drivers in the Same Household – Again, it is important to think about the fact that insurance companies come up with guidelines and premiums based upon risk. The more people who drive your car regularly, the higher the likelihood of an accident. For this reason, most insurance companies will require you to include or exclude drivers in your household from your policy. If you include drivers in your household, your premiums increase, and if you exclude them, they are not covered by your car insurance at all.
- Legal Requirements – It is also vital to remember that in order for your insurer to cover your car regardless of who is driving, the drivers themselves must meet all the legal requirements for being on the road. They must be at least age 16 (or 15 with a licensed adult driver in the car) and hold a valid, non-suspended driver’s license or permit. They must not be under the influence when driving your car, and not be committing a crime at the time the accident occurs. For example, if a driver who is not listed on your policy has an accident while evading police, your insurance may not cover any damages or medical bills in this case.
Does Car Insurance Cover The Car or Driver?
One of the biggest myths is that car insurance follows the driver. In reality, insurance follows the car in almost every case. If another driver were to have an accident in your vehicle, your auto insurance coverage would be used to pay for any damages within the limits of the policy you purchased. This is why someone else can drive your car without insurance of their own because they are basically covered under your coverage.
Liability Insurance Coverage
If you only have liability insurance, damages to the other driver’s car would be covered in the event of an at-fault accident, and damages or repairs to your own car would not be. Liability insurance is also the portion of your policy that covers medical payments for both the other driver and the person driving your car – including yourself or someone who was authorized to drive your car.
Again, liability-only policies do have coverage limits, and your insurance company will only pay up to that amount. Liability policies follow both the car and the policyholder, too. This means that if a wreck exhausts your liability coverage, then your friend’s insurance company may have to pay the rest.
Comprehensive and Collision Insurance Coverage
If you purchased comprehensive and collision insurance, which is commonly known as full coverage, damages to both your car and the other driver’s vehicle would be covered under your policy in the event that your friend has an at-fault accident. This is only true up to the limits of your policy.
For example, if you purchase $50,000 in collision insurance, but your friend causes $75,000 in damages to other vehicles, your insurance company will not cover the additional $25,000. Instead, your friend will likely need to file a claim with their provider to pay out the balance.
Driving Someone Else’s Car Without Insurance
Though much of the information above is pretty standard among most every insurance company, there are a few exceptions and things to keep in mind when driving someone else’s car without insurance.
For one, it is important to note that there are companies that will not cover any driver not specifically named or listed on the policy. For this reason, it is critical to ask an agent, broker, or representative to clarify who is insured and covered by your policy. Make sure to get them to show you exactly where this is discussed in your policy.
Additionally, if someone is driving your car, your insurance may not cover them in the following situations.
If you have excluded certain drivers from your policy (namely those who live in your household), they are no longer covered under your insurance. Again, most companies will require you to account for everyone who lives in your household by putting them on your insurance policy as a driver or by excluding them altogether, and excluded drivers are not entitled to coverage under your policy.
Non-Permissive Use of Your Car
When someone uses your car without your permission, things can get a little tricky. In most cases, if you know the person who took your car, it is almost impossible to prove that you did not give permission and your insurance will likely end up paying a claim as long as the driver does not live in your household.
Here are a few other situations to keep in mind, as well.
- Car Theft – If someone outright steals your car and it can be proven, you will not be responsible for damages or injuries to the other car or driver in the event of an accident. Injuries sustained by the driver are not covered under your policy, either. However, there’s a very good chance that you will need to rely upon your auto insurance policy to pay for damages your own car sustained in the event of a wreck after a theft.
- Unauthorized Use by Insured Friends and Family – If friends and family take your car without permission but they have insurance of their own, their coverage would be the first to pay in the event of an accident and yours would only bridge the gaps if theirs is exhausted.
- Unauthorized Use by Uninsured Friends or Family – Finally, if a friend or family member takes your car without permission, has an accident, and does not have his or her own coverage, your car insurance would pay for that accident as well.
Who Is Liable In A Car Accident – The Owner or Driver?
Hypothetically speaking, assume that your friend who does not live with you borrows your car to take a trip, but has an accident on the way. Who would be liable for paying the damages, repairs and medical bills at this point? Again, your collision and comprehensive insurance (if you have it) follows your car, so your insurance company is responsible for paying those types of damages. Your liability insurance, which follows both you and the car, covers the injuries and medical expenses, even if you weren’t in the car with your friend when the accident occurred.
Instant Insurance Quotes Online
If a friend has recently wrecked your car and you’re afraid your premiums are going to increase, or you think you are overpaying for your current coverage, it makes sense to shop around and make sure you are getting the cheapest car insurance rates available. With instant online quotes, drivers can compare coverage options, prices and companies to get the best insurance. Just enter your zip code and get a free rate quote from the top providers in your area!