Whose Insurance Pays if Your Friend Wrecks Your Car?If you own a vehicle, chances are that you have let someone drive your car on occasion.  Perhaps a friend’s car is in the shop getting repairs and you let him/her borrow yours for the day, or maybe a friend or family member had to run to the store for an item(s) and your car was the most accessible. Regardless, it most likely has happened before, but what if that person has a wreck while driving your car? While you most likely never considered that happening, it can and does happen and you need to know whose insurance pays in that situation. So, whose insurance pays if your friend wrecks your car?

Typically, Insurance Follows the Car

What this means, if you occasionally allow someone to drive your car and they cause an accident, it is your auto insurance policy that will typically pay, with certain conditions that may apply. Generally speaking, auto insurance follows the auto as opposed to the driver. The key terms here are “occasional use” and “permissive use.”  For example, let’s say your neighbor’s car won’t start and she has an appointment.  She asks your permission to use your vehicle to drive to the appointment and you grant her permission. On the way home, she fails to stop at a stop sign and causes an accident. This situation would be a typical scenario where she rarely (if ever) drives your car and has expressed permission; therefore, your insurance would be primary and accessed for damages up to the limits of liability. However, there are exceptions to the rule!

It’s Not Always Clear Cut…Some Exceptions May Apply

One exception to the rule is when the property damage or bodily injury limits of liability under the primary coverage have been exhausted and there are pending damages that need to be paid. After the primary insurance limits are exhausted then it’s possible the driver’s insurance would kick in to pay the pending balance.

Another situation that may impact whose insurance kicks in first revolves around “permissive use.”  Let’s say that you told a friend or acquaintance that he/she could not drive your car and then he/she drove anyway, causing an accident.  You did not give that person permission to operate your vehicle, which could result in a denial of coverage. This concept of “implied” versus “expressed” permissive use can get tricky.

Lesson Learned About Insurance and Your Vehicle

Before you agree to let someone drive your car, it’s important to realize that person may not take the same care and cautionary measures as you do when operating your vehicle. Allowing a person to drive your car means you are assuming responsibility for their actions, even when an accident happens.  Keep in mind that the accident then becomes a part of your claims history which could mean an increase in auto insurance rates.

It is recommended you let your local Alabama independent insurance agent know if there is anyone who operates your car on a regular basis so that he/she can add them as a driver on your Alabama auto insurance policy. If someone regularly drives your car and you don’t notify your agent, it could result in coverage denial or a cancelation of your policy.

Contact us at Burkett & Associates and we can assist you with all your Alabama auto insurance needs.  We can answer any questions and/or address any concerns regarding letting a friend or neighbor drive your vehicle. Don’t wait!  Call us today at 256-704-7400.