You let a friend or family member borrow your car and he or she got involved in an accident, which leaves you with the question – what next? Understanding who may be covered to drive your vehicle can be confusing. As a general rule, however, anyone living with you is usually covered to drive your car, unless the policy explicitly states otherwise. If a friend or family member does not live with you, but uses your car now and then, you can usually loan them your vehicle without worrying about coverage. This falls under the permissive use rule. To be sure, it is important to always carefully review your insurance to make sure you understand who may be covered.
Car Insurance Follows Your Vehicle
People commonly assume that car insurance follows the insured driver, but it actually follows the vehicle. Therefore, if someone who is not excluded on your policy borrows your car and gets into an accident, your car insurance would serve as the primary insurance. The borrower’s insurance would act as a secondary insurance if the damages of the accident exceed your insurance’s limits. If the accident was not the borrower’s fault, the claim would be paid by the at-fault driver’s coverage.
Can I Be Held Liable?
If a driver who is excluded on your policy takes your car and is at fault for an accident, you might be held liable for it. You might also be sued for damages if you allowed an intoxicated or impaired individual drive your vehicle, or if you allowed an unlicensed driver to borrow your vehicle.
It is usually difficult to prove that you did not give someone permission if someone happens to take your car without your knowledge. In most cases, you might end up paying for a resulting accident. If it is clear that you did not allow someone to drive your car and an accident occurs, there are a few scenarios that might follow:
- If someone steals your car and causes an accident, you will not be held liable for the resulting damages or injuries. The damages to your vehicle would likely be covered by your insurance.
- If someone, such as a friend or family member, takes your car without your permission, his or her coverage would be the primary insurance, but yours would be secondary if their own cannot cover the damages.
- If your friend or family member is uninsured and borrows your car without permission, your own insurance would have to pay for damages incurred.
Decide Who Can Drive Your Vehicle
If there is a slight chance a driver might borrow your car, do not exclude that person, or it may have repercussions in the future. You should also make sure you trust the person to whom you lend your vehicle. Accidents can occur at any moment and can be costly, so it is crucial to only permit trustworthy drivers to operate your vehicle.
Auto Accident Attorneys in Pennsylvania
Auto accidents can result in serious damages and injuries, leading to expensive medical bills and lasting physical effects. At The Law Offices of Anthony Urban, P.C., our Schuylkill County auto accident lawyers believe that victims of reckless drivers should not be forced to pay for the negligent acts of others. Our team will do everything within our power to ensure that you receive just compensation to help you move forward with your life and ease the burden of any costs associated with your injuries.