One of the guaranteed facts of life is there will be a day where either:
1.) A friend/family member will ask to borrow your car, or
2.) You will need to borrow someone else’s car
There are so many reasons you may be lending your vehicle or borrowing someone else’s vehicle. Some circumstances that can come up are your vehicle has to go into the shop, your car won’t start, and you’re already running 10 minutes late to work, you have a friend doing a weekend yard project and needs a truck and trailer, or even just taking turns driving on a long road trip.
Before just handing over the keys, you need to know that liability follows the car, not the driver. If you give permission for someone to drive your vehicle and they are in an accident, it is your auto insurance that is the primary coverage.
Here are a few things to consider:
1.) Permission must be given
a. Individuals must be given permission before driving your vehicle if they are not rated on your auto policy. Whether it is a child, a family member in town for a visit, or a friend who you let borrow your car, that individual must be given permission.
2.) Valid driver’s license
a. Make sure the individual is legally allowed to drive a vehicle. Suppose an individual’s driver’s license is suspended or they do not have one. In that case, it probably won’t be a good idea to let them drive your car for the sole fact you could be personally responsible for any injuries because of a denied claim by the insurance company.
3.) Excluded Drivers
a. If you have a young driver or high-risk driver in your household and are excluded from your auto policy, there will not be any coverage regardless of whether you give them permission.
4.) State minimum liability
a. Even if you have higher auto liability limits such as: $100,000/$300,000/$100,000 or $250,000/$500,000/$100,000, there are carriers who will reduce the limits for permissive drivers to $25,000/$50,000/$25,000 state minimum coverage.
5.) Primary & Excess Liability
a. Are you wondering by now, “What if the individual that borrows my car has their own insurance?” That is an excellent question! Because liability follows the car, your auto insurance is primary coverage. It will be used to cover any of the injuries within your auto limits. If your limits are maxed out, and there are remaining costs associated with the accident, then the auto insurance of the individual driving your vehicle will be used. It may cover the excess amount over your limits.
The next time you hear/ask, “Hey, can I borrow your car?” Think twice before tossing over the keys and be aware of what you could be responsible for if an accident occurs.