Here’s what you should know about auto insurance before lending your car to a friend:
- Most auto policies provide coverage when you loan a car to an individual.
- The coverage is the same as it is when you’re driving the car.
- You reduce your risk when borrowers are also covered by their own auto insurance.
- Most insurers will require that members of your household and people who use your car regularly be added to your policy.
Question I usually don’t think twice about letting friends borrow my car. But should I be concerned? What can happen if they have an accident in my car?
Karen Caldwell, a Farmers Insurance® agent in Fairfield, Ohio, has spent years helping customers get the auto coverage they want. She explains how coverage works when someone else drives your car.
Answer Many auto policies, including Farmers® policies, cover you and any person using your insured car with your permission. Make sure your policy has this provision before letting anyone drive your car. Under permissive use, the borrower is covered the same way as you are unless there are provisions limiting coverage for a permissive user. So, if you don’t have collision coverage on your policy, damage to your car won’t be covered. I point this out because your friend could wind up owing you out of pocket for repairs — that’s a situation most of us want to avoid.
Even with permissive use, it’s still important for the borrower to have his or her own insurance. Most state laws require drivers to have their own insurance. Further, if someone causes an accident in your car, the borrower’s own insurance and your insurance will be available to pay for covered losses. If the borrower does not have insurance, your policy limits could be exhausted in the event of a serious accident. When this happens, you could be responsible for any amount that your policy doesn’t cover.
Also keep in mind that permissive use coverage is designed for occasional, short-term borrowing. If a driver uses your car on a regular basis, or lives in your household, you must add that person to your policy as a driver. This is because your premium is based on the risk of loss from you and the regular users of your car. That’s why your policy contract requires you disclose all regular users of your vehicle. If you don’t, your policy will not cover you or the driver in the event of an accident — and your insurance company may even void your policy for misrepresentation.
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