Think again if you believe your car insurance follows you when you drive someone else’s car. This also goes for when you allow your friends or family members to drive your car. If someone not listed on your insurance policy has an accident in your car, your insurance policy usually does cover it, but not always.
When exactly does your insurance cover someone driving your car who is not on your policy, and what options do you have to protect yourself when you do share your car?
Who can you add to your car insurance policy?
You need to list any person who can legally drive your car and who lives in your household on your insurance. This also goes for family members who don’t live with you but regularly use your car. Non-family members who live outside of your house usually don’t qualify for inclusion on your insurance policy. Conditions that can change who can drive your vehicle include the following:
- Permissive use: Permissive use refers to when you give someone else permission to drive your car. Before doing so, check with your insurance company to determine the company’s policy on allowing other drivers not on your policy to use your car. Those who fall under the permissive use rule usually include:
- Family members
- Friends who live at the same address
- Excluded driver: Excluded drivers include anyone you specifically list on your policy who cannot drive your vehicle. Situations where this might come into play includes someone living in the house who has multiple traffic tickets or a DUI. By stating that this person can’t drive your vehicle, you avoid unnecessary premium hikes to your car insurance caused by their mistakes.
Non-owner car insurance
Non-owner insurance represents another option for a lawfully licensed person who doesn’t have a car of their own but needs to drive a vehicle. While your insurance would usually pay for an accident caused by someone in your vehicle, the non-owner insurance policy acts as secondary, or supplemental, insurance. Non-owner car insurance can include:
- Liability coverage
- Medical coverage for the driver
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
Non-owner car insurance does not include:
Many car insurance companies offer non-owner insurance, including State Farm, GEICO, and Nationwide, among many others.
The best type of insurance to get if you share your car
Unless an excluded or unlicensed driver has an accident in your vehicle, your normal insurance policy should cover any bodily injury or property damage. For medical bills and property damage that exceeds your maximum coverage amount, the insurance of the person driving your vehicle, if they have any, should cover the rest. If for some reason the other driver was at fault, then their insurance would cover everything up until their maximum liability coverage amount.
In addition, other penalties that could arise out of letting someone not on your policy drive your vehicle could include you getting sued for damages for letting an intoxicated or impaired individual drive your car or allowing an unlicensed driver to use your car.
Make sure to ask your insurance agent questions about who can drive your vehicle and what kind of coverage you can expect if they do have an accident while driving your car. By controlling who drives your vehicle and making sure you cover all of your bases, you can ensure that you do not end up paying for a denied claim if an accident does happen when you let someone borrow your car.