Your sister takes your kids for the day, and rather than move their car seats to her car, she borrows yours—then gets rear-ended. Your son is moving your car to get to his, and backs out of the driveway into an oncoming vehicle. Your friend has an important job interview and asks to borrow your car, then runs a red light and gets broadsided. If someone else is driving your car and gets in an accident, do you know what your auto insurance covers?
The Short Answer
In general, if someone borrows your vehicle with your permission and is involved in an accident, your auto’s liability insurance covers the damages (injuries and property damage) to others. Your collision coverage should cover the damage to your vehicle. The policy is attached to the vehicle, as opposed to the driver.
However, things are not as simple as they seem. Your policy won’t cover the injuries sustained by the person who borrowed your car. Also, if the damage exceeds your coverage, the driver’s insurance may come into play. If they don’t have coverage, they may be personally responsible.
Circumstances Affect What Your Auto Insurance Covers
There is a wide variety of circumstances that affect what is covered and to what extent, and laws vary by state. For example:
- If the driver of your car is named on your policy, such as in the case that they are a family member or roommate, your policy should cover the accident in full, up to the limits of your coverage.
- Your insurance will not cover the damages if the driver is excluded from your policy. For example, if you left your teenage son off your policy so as not to raise your rates, and he uses the car and gets in an accident, you are responsible for the cost of the damages. The same is true if someone borrowed your car without your permission.
- If your car is stolen, the culprit is responsible for the damages to others. If you have comprehensive coverage, that should cover the loss of your vehicle.
(Car) Key Considerations
It pays to be cautious regarding who you allow to borrow your car. Even with excellent coverage, your insurance premiums will likely increase after an accident, even if you weren’t the driver. Before you hand over the keys, consider how their driving skills and record could impact you in case of an accident.
We can customize an auto insurance policy that makes sense for your specific circumstances and Massachusetts legal requirements, and provide advice about the levels of coverage that make the most sense for you. If it’s been a while since you’ve reviewed your coverage, or if you aren’t sure what’s covered, give us a call.