Who Pays When Someone Else Is Driving Your Car And Gets In An Accident?

Car insurance can be confusing enough on its own, but when it comes to someone else driving your car, it can be even more confusing trying to figure out what your coverage is. Here's what you need to know when an accident happens:

Did You Give Permission To The Driver To Drive Your Vehicle?

Whether someone had your consent to drive to begin with makes a difference in how things will be covered. If you occasionally loan a friend or family member who doesn't live with you your vehicle, chances are your auto insurance policy includes coverage.

Of course, other factors, such as whether they have a valid license, may come into play. If the driver lives with you, but you don't have them listed on your policy, you may run into an issue. Sometimes a policyholder will opt to exclude a family member because they have a poor driving record and including them would cause their rates to go up. If you allow them to drive anyway, chances are your insurance company will refuse to pay for the damages. However, sometime state law will mandate if the excluded member takes your vehicle without your permission, the insurance company may be forced to provide coverage. This is a good example of why it is so important to consult an auto accident attorney before accepting an offer from your insurance company.

What Happens If You Didn't Give Permission?

If you didn't give permission, you may have a hard time proving this to your insurance company's satisfaction. If a stranger has stolen your vehicle and was involved in an accident, you usually don't need to worry about your coverage for your own vehicle, and the person who was hit would be covered by their own policy. But if it is a family member or friend who used your vehicle without permission, your insurance company would expect their own policy to cover them. If they are uninsured themselves, then your policy should pay.

As you can see, there are many gray areas when it comes to someone else driving your vehicle, so seek professional legal counsel if it is anything other than straightforward dealing with your insurer. Be wise and give serious thought to who you allow to drive your vehicle, and make certain they have a valid driver's license before handing over the keys. You will also want to be certain you never allow a driver you purposely excluded from driving your vehicles.

Contact a law office like Monohan & Blankenship for more information and assistance.