It’s not an uncommon scenario: your car is in the garage getting repaired and your mother-in-law has offered you her car until yours is ready for the road again. Or you’re home from college for a visit and want to meet up with some friends, but you left your car on campus. In any situation, should you borrow someone else’s car or let someone else borrow yours? would you still be covered if you do? what happens if you or they have an accident? As a driver, there are times when you may find yourself in a position where you must drive someone else’s vehicle or loan someone your vehicle temporarily. Regardless of the scenario, there are a few things you need to know. Are you (and your vehicle) protected in the event of an accident? Does your insurance follow the car or the driver?
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car vs. driver coverage
The answer is not so simple. Insurance coverage varies from insurer to insurer and policy to policy, but in general, there are coverages that can follow you or your car. There are several factors that determine whether and to what extent a person or vehicle is covered, including the names on the insurance policy, the state you live in, and whether you are licensed to drive someone else’s vehicle.
Does my car insurance cover other drivers who operate my vehicle?
Your auto insurance will generally cover other drivers operating your vehicle if they are listed on the policy. this may include your spouse or partner, your parents, your siblings, or your children. it can also include other household members.
For other people not listed on your policy, like friends or family, the issue becomes more murky. Whether the policy provides coverage in these situations generally depends on consent. If other people are driving your car with your permission (meaning you verbally told them they could drive your vehicle or handed over the keys), then they should generally be covered under the terms of your policy. The policy could also be covered in the following situations:
- when extended family members visit or stay with you at home.
- by sharing the responsibility of driving on a road trip or a long trip.
- when friends and family borrow your car while theirs is being repaired.
- drive your parent’s vehicle with permission, assuming they are not listed as an excluded driver on their policy.
- borrow a friend or family member’s car with permission while yours is being repaired.
- rent a car from a car rental company or car sharing market.
There are some scenarios where certain drivers and activities will generally not be covered by your policy. these include:
paid shared car
In most cases, your insurance will not be extended to other drivers if they pay to use the car (for example, you rent it from a car sharing company). you will likely need an additional specific auto insurance policy to cover this activity.
Excluded drivers (those specifically listed in the policy as not covered) will generally not be covered when driving a car under your auto insurance policy. In some states, excluded drivers may have a minimum amount of coverage, although this (and the exact type of coverage provided) will depend on where you live. you should check with your auto insurance company for guidance on this.
If you use your vehicle for business purposes, your insurance policy will not normally cover incidents that occur during this type of use. this may include using the vehicle to deliver pizza, driving for a transportation network company that offers car rides or ride sharing, or operating some type of delivery or concierge service. it is likely that you will need an additional insurance policy or a supplement to insure these types of activities.
Does my car insurance cover me when I drive another vehicle?
If it’s specifically listed on the car owner’s insurance policy, you’ll be covered when you drive that car, even if it’s not yours. if not on the owner’s policy, applicable coverage will again depend on consent.
Assuming the driver gave you his consent to operate the vehicle or at least there is a reasonable belief that he had a license to drive it, then you are probably covered. If you pay to drive the car (for example, you rent it from a car rental company or car-sharing service), then this also generally constitutes assumed permission. These are some situations in which he would normally be covered by his auto policy:
Please note that your comprehensive coverage may not extend to a leased or loaned vehicle. Your liability coverage will generally extend to the car, but comprehensive insurance coverage and collision insurance coverage may not. The good news is that if you have an accident while driving a borrowed vehicle, there is a chance that the owner’s car insurance will provide some coverage. Again, you’ll want to check with your insurance agent to determine how you’re covered and what your auto policy limits are. It might be a good time to ask about other ways you can get peace of mind with optional coverages like accident forgiveness and minor infraction forgiveness. These are optional features that can help you avoid a premium increase after your first covered accident or minor violation.
car sharing tips
If you plan to carpool regularly, or even occasionally, with another driver, then adding them to your auto policy (and vice versa) can help ensure you’re both covered should an accident occur. You also need to make sure they are legally licensed (and that the license has not expired). You may also consider supplemental insurance if you intend to use the car for business purposes or rent it out to other parties. This can help protect the investment you’ve made in the vehicle, as well as protect you from liability. Finally, always make sure you have direct permission from the owner before operating your vehicle. Driving someone else’s car without proper consent can pose a liability issue for both of you.
each case is different
Because every auto insurance policy is different, the actual coverage you’ll have when you’re driving a loaner car (or lending one to someone) can vary widely. It will depend on the exact terms of your policy, the state you live in, the driver in question, and the type of loss suffered. When it comes to your auto insurance, there are coverages that can follow you as the driver or your vehicle. . That’s why it’s so important to have the right auto insurance coverage. contact your insurance agent to review your coverage and make sure you have the protection you need.