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What Happens When You Let Someone Else Drive Your Car and They Get In An Accident?

Updated: September 2018

If you let someone else drive your car and they get in an accident, your insurance company would likely be responsible for paying the claim, depending on what coverages you have on your policy. The claim would go on your insurance record and could affect your car insurance rates in the future.

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How Does My Car Insurance Cover Other Drivers?

In most states, your car insurance would be considered the primary insurance if a friend wrecks your vehicle, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). That means the coverage you've chosen on your policy would extend to help cover the injuries or damage your friend caused.

So, if the friend is at fault for the accident, your auto liability coverage may help pay for the other driver's medical bills or damaged vehicle. Your liability coverage would not pay for your friend's medical bills or repairs to your car.

If your friend damaged your car in the accident and you have collision coverage, it may help pay to repair your vehicle. Keep in mind that you will have to pay your deductible.

However, you can't just assume your insurance will cover the accident. For example, some policies don't even cover relatives living in your home, unless they are specifically named on your policy. Other policies may provide coverage, but on a more limited basis than if you were behind the wheel. That's why it's important to read your car insurance policy carefully and understand who is covered before lending your vehicle to another person. If you have questions about your coverage in this type of situation, ask your agent to help clarify.

Other Driver's Insurance May Be Involved

If your insurance company will cover your friend's accident, you may find that there are additional wrinkles. For instance, what if the accident causes extensive injuries or damage, and the cost of the claim maxes out the limits on your policy?

In that case, your friend's insurance policy may be tapped as secondary coverage to help cover the remaining costs, according to Claims Journal. So if your friend causes an accident that results in $35,000 in damage and your policy caps out at $30,000, your friend's policy might then be responsible for paying the difference ($5,000).

It's also possible that, even when your policy limits are high enough to cover a claim, your insurance company may seek reimbursement from your friend's insurance. Your insurance provider might pay the entire accident claim, and then reach out to your friend's insurance company to recoup some of its costs. The particulars of exactly how this transpires depends on the specific policy language, coverages and state laws.

There may be additional variables that are specific to your insurance company, your policy, or the state you live in, so consider discussing your particular situation with your agent so you know what (and whom) your policy covers.

Considerations for Drivers Who Don't Own a Car or Have Car Insurance

If you're a licensed driver who doesn't own a vehicle, you likely don't have a need for a long-term car insurance policy. But, what should you do if you need to temporarily borrow a friend's car? Are you covered? Here are some points to consider:

  • Your friend's insurance policy may help provide coverage if you get into an accident.
  • You may be responsible for certain types of damage, depending on what other coverages your friend's policy includes. For instance, if it doesn't include collision coverage, you may have to pay for the cost of repairs to your friend's car if you cause an accident.
  • You may be responsible for costs that exceed the coverage limits on your friend's car insurance policy.

If you're planning to lend your car or borrow one from a friend, it's a good idea to review both of your insurance policies first. Your local agent can help answer any questions about your policy before you decide whether lending your car makes sense for you.

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This content is for informational purposes only and may not be applicable to all situations.

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