It's Your Car, But You Weren't Driving
The Top 3 Things to Know About Insurance & Accidents When Loaning Out Your Car
It's a situation for which many of us can say "been there, done that."
Someone's in a tough spot and you're trying to help them out. Maybe your BFF is in town and they want to go exploring. Or maybe you had too much to drink and asked them to drive you home.
Whatever the situation, we've all had those moments where someone else ends up behind the wheel of our car...
But what if they get pulled-over? Get a ticket? Or worse yet, get into an accident?
What happens to your auto insurance? To theirs?
Do they even have any?
These are sometimes hard questions to ask, and even harder yet to think of...
So today, we cover The Top 3 Things to Know About Insurance & Accidents When Loaning Out Your Car, and try to answer all the questions you have about how this situation might affect your car, your insurance, and your life.
Is my Auto Insurance Attached to my Car, or Me?
Unfortunately the simple answer to this, is that there is no simple answer.
Though in most common situations the insurance is particular to the car rather than the driver; the reality is, it can vary from provider to provider, and from state to state.
Not all insurance providers have the same types of coverage - they can actually differ a great deal from one to another - and even different types of policies within the same provider might offer variations on how coverage works.
The states themselves also have certain requirements and restrictions when it comes to auto insurance, complicating things just a little bit more, and each set of requirements can differ from one state to the next.
The best recommendation here is to research the type of coverage you have on your policy, either by reading through the documents or by reaching out to your agent, and make sure that you know exactly how your policy works, and how you might be affected when loaning out your car.
So if my Auto Insurance is Attached to the Car; Does it Cover Other Drivers?
The quick and easy answer here is yes... though it's a little more complex than that.
First off, in the most likely scenario where you actually loaned your car out to someone - and they happened to get into an accident - it would be your policy that would cover things like injury or damage.
Your policy is the one attached to the car, so it's your liability and collision coverage that would pay for the damage done...
assuming that the accident was the fault of the person driving your car.
If the fault lies on the other car and driver... well... there's a whole 'nother rabbit-hole of "are they insured, aren't they insured" type questions that'll need be addressed to answer that.
Sticking with the basics of today's topic, your car = your policy is the one that covers.
Now, in the less likely scenario that someone you know manages to "borrow" your car without your permission - and they get into an accident - they would be the one liable for things like injuries or property damage.
Again, there's a whole 'nother rabbit-hole of questions about their coverage (if they even have any) that would be in play in this scenario, but the basics are, that they took your car without permission, so they are the one's responsible for anything that happens while it's in their care.
What if I Want to get in on Things Like Car-Sharing?
Insuring your car for car-sharing is really not too different than if you were looking to get into car-pooling with companies like Uber or Lyft.
To operate lawfully you have to add some specific types of coverage that are intended for this type of commercial use, either through supplemental additions, or with an entire secondary policy.
Since the question here is specific to car-sharing - where someone else would pay for the use of your car - it's this commercial type of auto insurance that would be the primary coverage should anything unforeseen happen.
Of course, all the same rabbit-hole questions of fault still apply; but in the end, it's your car, so it's your policy that would cover.
In the end, coverage for this scenario of another person driving your car has a lot... like a lot... of variables to it.
Unfortunately that means there just isn't a simple answer to be had, no matter how badly we'd like to have one. It's about the accident, the drivers, the insurance, who has it, who doesn't, who's at fault, and on and on.
Making certain you know what type of coverage you have, your state requirements, and who is covered, is a good place to start...
and of course if you're not confident that the coverage you have is the right kind, just let us know - we're always here to help.
There for you when you need us...
Just in Case.