Most of the time car owners toss their keys to a family member or trusted friend without a second thought. That is unless that family member is your 20-year-old son and can’t drive his car because he ran it into a ditch after he dropped his cell phone while texting his girlfriend and driving with his right leg.
Probably, if asked, eight out of ten car owners aren’t 100% sure if their car insurance follows their car or the driver. Which is it? Do you know for sure?
In this article, we intend to make certain you can answer that question. Does my car insurance cover other drivers?
Does Your Car Insurance follow the Car or the Driver?
Regretfully, the answer is; it depends. You see, your car insurance is a package of coverages that are split between the car (physical damage and non-physical damage) and the driver (liability).
To properly address the question, we’ll need to divide it into several parts and divide the insurance coverage into several parts. Please follow along while we discuss the most common “other drivers” situations and offer examples for each.
If they’re listed on my your insurance policy – it’s a No-Brainer
First, let’s come right out of the gate and assure you that if any driver who is listed on your policy drives your car, they are covered just as if it were you driving the car.
Most insurance companies require that you list regular drivers of your insured vehicle(s) whether they are family members or not, especially when they have regular access to it.
Your cousin Leroy, who lives in your basement, must be listed on your policy if he uses your car when he goes to the doughnut shop every day because he has regular access and is a resident relative.
If, however, cousin Leroy has two at-fault accidents and a DUI on his record, some companies will allow you to exclude him, but you better not let him drive your car. If he takes it without your permission just report it stolen. Maybe that will motivate him to move back in with his stepmother and eat all her food instead of yours.
Does my car Insurance cover other Drivers? Comprehensive & Collision
For instance, if you lend your car to a friend who is a licensed driver, and that friend is in an accident, your collision coverage would pay to repair or replace the car subject to your auto insurance deductible.
If you aren’t carrying comp and collision and your friend is not the at-fault driver, the other person that caused the accident is responsible so his or her car insurance would pay to repair or replace your car and reimburse you for rental expenses while your car is being repaired.
Now, if your friend has a horrendous driving record and you specifically excluded him or her from coverage, your insurance company will not cover your friend’s liability or comp and collision if you let them him or her use your car, In fact, the insurance company would probably cancel your policy after you attempt to file a claim for an excluded driver.
Does my car Insurance cover other Drivers for Liability Claims?
Even though liability coverage follows the insured driver and not the insured vehicle, liability insurance is designed to protect the policy owner from financial liability if a third party is injured in an accident while you’re driving or if you lend your car to someone else that is not listed on your policy.
For example, if you lend your car to a co-worker and he or she is in an at-fault accident while driving your car, any injury or property damage caused by your friend will be covered by your liability insurance, even if you were not driving or a passenger in the car.
If the third party in the accident is severely injured and your policy limits are exhausted by the medical claim, then the third-party driver can file against his or her own uninsured/underinsured coverage.
Does my Car Insurance cover the injuries of a driver I lent my car to?
Generally, your car insurance does not have first-party medical benefits that would cover a person who is driving your car and is injured in an accident. This would include Personal Injury Protection coverage (if you live in a no-fault state) and Medical payments.
However, if the person using your car has car insurance that includes Personal Injury Protection or Medical Payments, that person’s insurance would cover them for injuries in an accident no matter who’s at fault.
Also, the person driving your car can file a claim for injuries with their health insurance company for medical expenses and, if the use of your car was work-related, the driver you lent your car to could file a claim with his or her employer’s workers’ compensation policy.
When won’t my car insurance cover Other Drivers?
Typically, your car insurance will not cover a driver that you have specifically excluded from coverage under your car insurance policy. However, some states and some insurance companies will not allow you to exclude a driver that has regular access to your vehicle.
If this is something you are considering, you’ll need to confirm if you can exclude a driver from coverage and what will happen if you let that driver operate your vehicle anyway.
What if someone steals my car and causes an accident?
This is a yes and no question. If your car is stolen and the person stealing your car is in an accident, your comp and collision insurance (if you carry it) will pay to repair or replace your car but subject to your deductible.
If someone steals your car and is in an at-fault accident that causes bodily injury or property damage to a third party, as the car owner you would not be legally liable and therefore your auto insurance would not respond to any claims from the injured third party.
What about Non-Owner Car Insurance?
If you lend your car to a licensed driver who has a non-owner insurance policy and they are involved in an at-fault accident, your liability insurance would be primary and the non-owner policy would be excess if your limit is exhausted.
Do I have to list people I lend my car to on my Car Insurance?
Most insurance companies require you to list every driver in your household, period. There are some companies that will allow you to exclude a resident relative or non-relative but if they drive your car at all, no matter how long or how far, they ARE NOT covered under your policy.
As far as lending your car to non-resident friends, family members, or coworkers, as long as they have your permission to drive your car, they need not be listed on your policy.
We certainly hope that we have provided the information you needed about letting someone borrow your car. Even though your insurance company provides protection to other drivers, you should still be responsible enough to make sure that the person you’re lending your car to has a valid driver’s license and their own insurance if they own a vehicle.
If not, don’t lend your car out.
Frequently asked Questions
Does workers comp pay for injuries in a work-related car accident?
Yes. If you are driving a vehicle on a work-related matter and are injured in an accident, your workers’ compensation coverage is primary over any car insurance or health insurance policies.
Will my car insurance cover my car if a friend borrows it and is in an accident?
If you have comprehensive and collision coverage on your policy, the insurance company will pay to repair or replace your insured vehicle if another driver (with permission) is involved in an accident that cause damage to your car.
I have PIP insurance. Will it cover a driver I allow to use my car?
In a no-fault state, PIP pays for first-party injuries no matter who’s at fault in an accident. If you loan your car to someone and they have car insurance, their PIP would pay for their injuries. If they do not own a car and are not required to carry PIP insurance, your PIP would pay for a portion of their injury expenses.