Can someone drive my car and be covered on my insurance?
It comes in handy knowing the answer. Especially on a road trip where nobody wants to be the sole driver.
It’s no fun when you always have to make sure you’re not driving distracted while everyone gets to play games or be in charge of the music. And everyone knows that’s the best responsibility to have, especially on a long drive.
So if you’re tired, can one of your friends take over driving for you? And what about whenever you’re asked, “Hey, can I borrow your car to run some errands?”
Well, the answer isn’t always so clear-cut. It depends on the situation.
Here’s a quick guide on how car insurance works when you let someone drive who’s not on your insurance.
Can someone drive my car and be covered on my insurance?
On one-off occasions, people who drive your car and get into an accident can be covered by your insurance.
But as the owner of the vehicle, you need to give the person consent to using your car. As long as it’s verbal permission, they now have your coverage extended to them.
So your friend can borrow your car to pick someone up at the airport; your brother-in-law can use your car to run a couple errands; and your babysitter can borrow your car to take your kids out for an activity.
But, wait! This is insurance after all. There are always exceptions to look out for. Each state has different rules. Things will always vary based on your car insurance policy and the insurer you’re with.
When is someone definitely covered by my insurance?
Here are some instances when insurance will cover another driver who uses your car:
Anyone listed on your policy
Your spouse or any other members of your household should already be included on your policy.
If any one of them drives your car, they will get the same coverage as you do. If they cause an accident while driving your car, your insurance will cover it.
As mentioned before, you can give verbal permission for someone to use your car. They are then considered a permissive driver.
If they cause an accident with or without you in the car, your insurance will cover the costs.
When will your insurance not cover another driver?
There will always be some situations where your insurance won’t cover the damages when another person is driving it.
If they borrowed your car without your permission
If a friend or family member borrows your car without your permission, then they would be liable for the damage they caused. Although, this would be difficult to prove.
The insurance company would most likely assume that you gave them permission, unless there are some clear indications that you denied them permission.
If you’ve named and excluded someone from your policy and they get into an accident in your car, your insurance will not cover the damage.
An excluded driver could be a younger sibling who’s less experienced in driving and therefore will hike up your premium.
Even if you gave the excluded driver permission to drive at the time, insurance will not cover the costs of the accident.
Insurance will likely not extend your coverage to someone who was driving under the influence at the time of the accident, or if you lend your car to someone who doesn’t have a valid driver’s license.
Your insurance policy might not cover drivers who regularly use your vehicle. The insurance company most likely expects you to list those people on your policy.
For example, your brother from out of town is visiting and wants to use the car a couple of times. That should be covered. But your insurance probably wouldn’t cover your roommate who uses your car regularly to run errands.
Does my insurance have to cover everything?
Usually, even if the person driving your car has their own insurance, your car insurance is the primary insurance used to fix the damages or injuries your friend caused. But only once your friend has been found at fault for the accident.
Your auto liability insurance would cover the other driver’s medical bills or damaged vehicle. But keep in mind, your liability insurance wouldn’t cover your friend’s injuries. And it also wouldn’t cover damages to your vehicle.
So does your friend’s insurance ever come into play? Yes, it does. Let’s say the accident and the fallout from it exceeds your policy’s limits. Your friend’s insurance would act as supplemental coverage.
Wait, what about rental cars?
So what about when you’re driving a rental car? You are driving a car that’s not yours after all. Does car insurance cover rental cars? Generally, yes.
If you have liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage, they will cover your rental car as well.
Be careful who you let drive your car
It’s always nice to be the one who helps a family member or friend out. But you should think about the consequences before you let anyone drive your vehicle.
If the driver has a bad driving record, uninsured, or unlicensed, this can keep your insurance company from paying for accidents. And in some states, you could get fined.
And remember — any time you file a claim, this affects your premium. You will see a spike in what you’re paying. This is because the insurance company will now see you as an “at-risk” driver.
Studies have shown that larger claims, as well as multiple claims in a year, can make premiums go up significantly.
In one study, it was found that on average people who make a claim of $2,000 or more can expect a premium increase of 41 percent or more. For those who make two claims in a year, they can expect their premium to nearly double.
Of course, if you do see a premium increase, you can always choose this time to shop around for insurance.
Insurance companies weigh violations like speeding tickets and claims differently. You could get a better rate with a different insurer.
But in general, it’s wise to think before you easily hand over the keys to your car.