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What if I Let Someone Drive My Car and They’re in an Accident?

It happens all the time – people loan out their vehicles to friends and family. Perhaps your friends want to borrow your truck on moving day. Perhaps your mother wants to drive your car to the pharmacy and grocery store when she visits from Pennsylvania over the holidays. Perhaps your boyfriend or girlfriend needs to drive your car while theirs is in the shop. Or, perhaps you let your friend take your SUV to Home Depot because their trunk isn’t big enough.

The question is if you let your friend or relative borrow your car and they’re involved in an accident, are they covered by their own auto insurance policy? Read on as we explain what happens if you let someone drive your car and they’re in a collision.

Car Insurance Usually Follows the Car

It’s a common misconception floating around that car insurance follows the driver. As such, people tend to think that as long as their friend or family member is insured on their own auto insurance policy, it will cover them too if they borrow someone else’s car, but that’s not how auto insurance typically works.

Contrary to popular belief, auto insurance follows the car as opposed to the driver. So, if you let your mom or your neighbor or your best friend or someone you’re dating borrow your car and they get in an accident, it’s your auto insurance that will pay the claim, not theirs. Meaning, the claim would be filed against your insurance, you’d be on the hook for the deductible, and the accident could affect your insurance rates for years to come.

If you’re thinking about letting someone borrow your car, we highly recommend reading your policy carefully or calling your insurance agent to make sure you understand what exactly is covered. You may also want to ask your agent about excluding specific drivers from your policy.

Your Friend’s Car Insurance Policy

Let’s say your friend or relative was at-fault for the accident, but the accident was severe and it caused extensive damage and costly medical bills for the other drivers. The losses were so extensive, they exceeded your policy limits. In that case, it’s possible to go after your friend’s auto insurance policy to cover the remaining damages. This is assuming your friend had auto insurance at the time they were driving your vehicle.

However, even if your insurance policy was enough to cover the entire claim, your insurance company may reach out to your friend’s auto insurance company to recover some of the costs of the accident. The chances of this happening depend on various factors, such as the state laws, your policy’s terms, conditions, and coverage.

Next: Is New York a Fault Car Insurance State?