There are many times in life when a friend or family member will have to get behind the wheel of your car. Whether you’re splitting driving duties on a road trip or helping out a carless friend in a bind, what happens with your car insurance? Would the other driver be covered in the event of an accident?
Car insurance can be confusing in this way, as there is much debate as to whether insurance follows the car or the driver. Well, it depends on the coverage you have and who is at fault in an accident. There are types of coverage that follow the car and types of coverage that follow the driver. Before you let your friend gas up and go, know the specifics with insurance laws and coverage when it comes to letting someone else borrow your car.
Does Car Insurance Cover Other Drivers?
With every auto insurance policy, the vehicle itself is covered by comprehensive and collision coverage and the driver is covered through liability and medical coverage. In some states, this can dictate whether or not full coverage car insurance covers other drivers.
Let’s say your car insurance policy includes liability coverage. Liability follows the driver no matter whose vehicle they are driving, provided the vehicle is legally on the road. Almost every state, requires you to carry some kind of liability insurance. Liability protects the insured person (the driver) when the insured person operates a vehicle owned by themselves or someone else. Generally speaking, if a driver carries their own liability insurance, they will be covered under their own auto insurance policy regardless of the car they are driving.
Comprehensive and Collision Coverage
Liability coverage follows the driver, but comprehensive and collision coverage follow the insured vehicle. Comprehensive and collision exist to cover any damages that occur to the insured vehicle either through the result of an accident or vandalism. If you loan someone your car, you are generally loaning them your insurance too. Full coverage comprehensive covers just about anything, but it is the car and not the driver who is covered. If you loan your car to a friend and they are injured in an accident, their medical expenses will not be covered unless they carry their own liability insurance. The damage to the car will be covered under your insurance.
Of course, every policy is different and there will be stipulations in place as to who is allowed to drive the car. If someone other than the insured is driving a vehicle but is not listed as a covered driver, they may not be covered in an accident if you do not have uninsured driver protection on your plan as well. However, most of the time they will fall under the umbrella of coverage so long as they have permission to operate your vehicle.
When Is A Person Not Covered By Your Insurance?
A driver is generally not covered by your insurance if you choose to specifically exclude them from your policy. Let’s say your Aunt Margaret has a less than perfect driving record and a few accidents to her name. You have the right to exclude her specifically on your insurance policy to protect yourself and your premiums.
If someone ignores this exclusion and chooses to use your car, your insurance provider will not pay for any damages caused by the excluded driver without your permission. If you did grant permission to the excluded person to drive your car, that might be a coverage grey area and you still risk the chance of paying for any damages on your own dime.