It’s a habit that we’re all guilty of, now and then: Letting a friend or relative borrow our car when we know that they are not on our insurance policy. What could be the harm? Especially if they are only going a short distance? Although it may not seem that such a decision can have any notable consequences, allowing someone to borrow your car that does not have coverage under your policy can get you into some serious legal trouble. Here are some factors to consider before saying, “Yes!” the next time your bud asks to take your vehicle for a spin.
What to Know About Lending Your Car to an Insured Individual
When you lend your car to a friend or a relative, one of the first things you must do if you are considering lending your vehicle to someone else is to verify whether they are protected by insurance coverage. If so, they do not necessarily have to be under your insurance policy for the circumstances to be legally and financially safe in the event of a crash.
For example, if someone borrows your car and has their own insurance policy, then you have little to worry about if a collision were to happen. Their insurance can work alongside your own to provide adequate coverage for the vehicle and any damages that may have been incurred.
Still, this is not a foolproof standard to abide by, since the extent of coverage may vary according to the state in which the collision took place. Additionally, the amount your and their insurance providers will be willing to provide for damages may vary according to the circumstances. Besides, even if your insurer is willing to cover the costs, you don’t want to introduce the potential of your rates being raised. They may not be as careful of a driver as you and may be less able to avoid potentially hazardous situations. It’s best to protect your insurance rates and vehicle by preventing such possibilities.
Caveats to Consider When Lending Your Car to Someone
Remember that auto insurance coverage follows the car, not the driver. As long as the person borrowing your vehicle had explicit permission to do so, your policy should cover any damages incurred in an accident. Keep in mind that family members will likely be assumed to have permission to drive the car by default, even if they are not included in your policy. However, as mentioned above, your policy will not always do the job.
If the individual driving your car is not insured, this can introduce some real trouble to your finances and insurance policy. If they experience a car accident with an uninsured motorist, the burden will fall entirely on you to cover the damages. You may ultimately have to file a lawsuit to recover compensation, introducing an entirely new consequence of lending your vehicle out.
In any case, you must get in touch with an experienced car accident lawyer. Your lawyer will be able to provide the necessary guidance to procure compensation for you, even if you were not in the vehicle yourself at the time of the crash. Whether the borrower was covered by their own policy or not, you can count on a car accident lawyer to get you precisely the funds you need to have your vehicle repaired.