Automobile Liability

What happens when you let a friend drive your vehicle and they get in a car crash?

We all have let someone else drive our car at one time or the other. You may lend your car to a family member who is visiting you from another city or to a friend who wants to go pick up some wine before the party starts. However, we never think about what would happen if the person who is using your vehicle gets into an accident. What happens when you let someone else drive your vehicle and you receive a phone call from them saying that they have been in a crash?

Insurance Coverage

Insurance policies vary, but as a general rule, anyone living in your house is normally covered when driving your vehicle unless expressly excluded on the policy. Usually, everyone in a household is required to be included on a car’s insurance policy. For family members and friends who do not live with you but use your car occasionally, they may be covered too.

Car Insurance Follows the Vehicle

If you lend your car to a driver who is not expressly excluded on your policy, your insurance will be the primary coverage that will apply if a crash occurs. The other driver’s insurance acts as secondary insurance. If you lend your car to your friend for a day and he or she hits another car in a parking lot, the coverage that pays compensation to the other driver is liability coverage. You will have to file the claim with your insurance company, pay the deductible, and accept any resulting premium increases. If the damages exceed the limits, your friend’s coverage will be used as secondary coverage. If the accident was the other driver’s fault, the damages would be paid by the other driver’s insurance.

Exceptions to the Rule

Excluded drivers – If you have excluded any driver from your insurance policy for any reason, such as a poor driving record, it could reduce your insurance premium. In the event of an accident, your coverage will not pay for damages.

Non-permissive use – Your coverage will not apply if your car was taken without your permission. However, it is often difficult to prove that you had not given permission. If your vehicle was stolen, you will not be liable for injuries or damages to the other driver. If a friend or relative takes your car without permission and is uninsured, your insurance coverage will have to pay for damages.

When Will the Owner Be Held Liable?

You can be sued for damages if you allow an impaired, intoxicated, or unlicensed driver operate your vehicle.

If your car has been involved in a crash after you lent it to a friend, you may want to consider seeking legal advice from an auto injury lawyer. Call Edelstein Law Offices at (215) 893-9311 for a free consultation.

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