You’ve been there: You’re in a tight spot and need to borrow your friend’s car, and they say “Okay.” Then, on the way, you get into an accident. Are you covered?
The short answer is yes, if your friend has insurance. Usually the coverage follows the car rather than the driver. So the person insured for that vehicle would be covered under that policy, even if they weren’t driving.
However, that coverage may not be cut and dry. Policies change from person to person, and company to company. Along with checking your friend’s policy for specifics, here’s what else you need to know:
Coverage for a Borrowed Vehicle: How It Works
First and foremost, before taking your friend’s car out for a drive, you absolutely have to have permission. If you borrow a friend’s or family member’s car with their permission, their insurance policy is generally the primary coverage, and their policy would typically be responsible for covering damages should you get into an accident.
Your own insurance policy may provide secondary coverage if the primary coverage limits are exhausted.
However, if you don’t get permission, if you just take the vehicle and just assume the owner would be fine with it, and you get into an accident, then it will be your policy that likely needs to cover the damages. This is known as “non-permissive use.”
If you are uninsured, you may be personally liable for the costs, which could include medical expenses for your injuries, or injuries to the other party. If the accident results in a fatality and you are uninsured, you could be liable for all civil court costs and damages, which could cause financial ruin.
Action Item: Double Check Your Policy
Overall, it is always best to review your policy to be sure. For some lower-cost policies, your liability coverage may extend to the car you are borrowing, but comprehensive insurance coverage and collision insurance coverage may not.
Some insurance companies will take into consideration whether the driver borrowing the car lives in your household and should be listed on your policy (according to their guidelines) but isn’t. Or, if the driver is listed on your policy as excluded.
Okay, But What About These Other Situations?
Letting Someone Borrow Your Car
On the flip side, before letting someone borrow your car, it’s important to make sure that they are insured and have a valid driver’s license.
If the person who borrowed your car doesn’t have a driver’s license, or has a suspended license, and gets into an accident, it would likely be considered a violation of your policy and your insurance company will most likely deny your claim.
Renting a Vehicle
If you have rented a car at an airport or some other facility from a major brand, you probably have been offered additional coverage for the vehicle while you drive it. This is because not all policies will fully cover the costs of an accident for a vehicle you rented, specifically if the driver is at fault.
Before you rent a vehicle, be sure to go over your policy thoroughly, so you understand what you will be covered for when renting a car. This way you will know what you need as far as additional coverage and what you don’t. If you need help, the professionals at Insurance Pros of Arizona are always a phone call away.
Driving a Car for Business Purposes
Driving a company car, or using someone’s personal vehicle for business purposes, such as running errands for your employer or driving them to a meeting, will often be covered by your employer’s commercial auto insurance policy. Commercial auto insurance would typically provide primary coverage, while your own personal auto insurance may act as secondary coverage.
If you use your own car a lot for business reasons, or lease it out to several other drivers, you might want to consider supplemental insurance. This can cover virtually any adverse situation, while protecting your own investment in the vehicle.
TLDR: Always Read the Fine Print!
Remember, each insurance policy can have specific conditions and limitations hidden in the fine print. If you are shopping for auto insurance and have specific needs involving multiple vehicles and owners, make sure you talk to an expert at Insurance Professional of Arizona to make absolutely sure you are getting the coverage you need.
Now It’s Your Turn
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