There may be several situations you find yourself in where you will need to drive your friend’s car, or they may need to borrow your car. However, before getting behind the wheel, there are a few essential questions you should be asking – does car insurance cover the car or the driver, and can someone drive my car and be covered by my insurance? In this article, we cover those questions and more, so let’s get started.
Generally, car insurance follows the car, not the driver. In other words, say you lend your car to your friend, and they get into an at-fault accident while driving. If you have collision insurance for your vehicle, this would likely cover the damage.
But, there are always instances where this rule does not apply, depending primarily on your insurance company, car insurance coverage, and coverage limits. So, does insurance follow the car or the driver?
Again, it depends on these factors:
- The State
- Your insurance company
- The names listed on your vehicle insurance policy
- Whether you explicitly gave the driver permission to drive your vehicle.
Times When Car Insurance Follows the Car
Typically, your vehicle insurance will protect you while you drive your car. But, in some cases, it may also cover someone else driving your vehicle if they fall within the stipulations below:
- You have listed the driver on your insurance policy.
- They have permission to drive your car whether you are in it or not.
Most policies won’t cover another driving your vehicle if:
- They are one of the excluded drivers on your insurance policy.
- The driver takes your vehicle without permission.
- You are loaning your car out through a paid sharing service like Getaround.
Times When Car Insurance Follows the Driver
While vehicle insurance generally follows the car, there are instances where the insurance follows the driver instead. One example is if you use a rental car for personal use. In this case, your existing car insurance will cover the rental, and you won’t need to take out an additional policy to cover the rental vehicle.
However, suppose your existing insurance policy only offers liability coverage. In that case, consider purchasing additional coverage that protects you against damage caused to the rental car if you are involved in an at-fault collision.
Can Someone Drive My Car and Be Covered by My Insurance
The common question is if someone else drives my car, are they insured? Generally, your car insurance will cover the individual operating your vehicle if you have them listed on your insurance policy, be they your spouse, parents, sibling, or children.
Individuals not listed on your policy, like friends or co-workers, are where things become less black and white. In most cases, the policy will provide coverage if you have given the driver consent to operate your vehicle. But ultimately, it comes down to your insurer.
Primary Insurance vs. Secondary Insurance
In some cases, insurers may apply the owner’s car insurance and that of the individual operating the vehicle. Generally, this occurs in instances where the damages exceed your insurance limits. Here, your policy is the primary insurance and pays up to your coverage limits. Then, that of the driver becomes the secondary insurance and covers the remainder of the damage. Alternatively, your insurer may cover the damages and then claim back from the driver’s insurer.
What Happens if Someone Gets in an Accident in My Car?
Say your friend is driving your vehicle, and another person drives into them, causing an accident. In that case, the insurance of the at-fault driver (the individual who caused the accident) takes responsibility for covering the costs. However, if your friend is at fault, your insurance will, in most cases, cover the damages.
Tips for Sharing Vehicles
Now that we have answered the question of does car insurance cover the car or the driver, here are a few tips for sharing vehicles:
- Always give permission to an individual who is going to drive your vehicle if they are off your policy.
- If your friend or family member will use the car to make deliveries or offer services like Uber, purchase rideshare insurance.
- Include regular drivers like family members or spouses on your insurance policy.
- Review your insurance policy before you lend out your vehicle or borrow someone else.
- Contact us today to find out more.