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  • Writer's pictureBrad Keating

What Happens if Someone Gets in an Accident While Driving Your Car?

Updated: Jan 17

Someone else crashes your car, now what?

If someone is involved in a car accident, the damages should be covered by either their car insurance company or the other motorist's. However, what if the vehicle is driven by someone else and they cause the accident? The answer is contingent on how the unfortunate accident occurred.

Who Is Liable if Someone Else Is Driving Your Car?

Who Is Liable if Someone Else Is Driving Your Car?

Most of the time, a person's car insurance policy covers their vehicle rather than the owner as the driver. As a result, standard liability rules normally apply. The individual who causes the car accident is legally accountable for all losses, which includes medical bills and property damage.

If another person is driving your car and someone else causes a car accident, the at-fault driver's insurance is normally liable for paying for the damages. If the driver of your vehicle is at fault, however, your car insurance normally covers the damages. There are, nevertheless, certain exceptions to this rule. Contact a car insurance company for any questions about specific insurance.

What if the Individual Driving Your Vehicle has Their Own Auto Insurance Policy?

If the individual driving your vehicle has their own car insurance policies, it may serve as a backup to the car owner's coverage. However, it is a common misconception about car insurance that the non-owner driver is totally accountable. The owner's car insurance continues to be the primary coverage, and their friend's insurance might be extra help.

Let's imagine 'B' is driving 'A's' vehicle and causes a car accident. 'A's' insurance is accountable for the damages because 'B' was at fault in 'A's' vehicle. However, 'A's' insurance only pays for damages up to a specified financial limit. If the costs of the collision exceed the 'A's' policy limit, the insurance of 'B' may cover the remaining costs.

What Happens if Your Teenager Causes an Accident in Your Car?

If one's teenager obtains a driver's license, they should be added to the policy as a named insured, meaning they are covered if they get into an accident involving the car. Even if they aren't legally listed on the policy, a teenage driver with a permit is usually covered by their parent's insurance while learning to drive.

However, a young driver who does not have permission or a license is not covered; therefore, if a parent lets their child drive their car and they crash without a license or permit, the claim might get denied, leaving the parent responsible for the damage their child did.

If a teenager steals their parent's car and crashes it, the parent can file a claim with their insurance company. However, this may necessitate filing a police report against the child, and the parent might still be liable for the consequences.

Factors to Consider Regarding Insurance When Letting Someone Else Drive Your Car

If someone owns a truck, they might have people who want to borrow it from time to time when they need to move things (with the hopes of saving themselves the trouble of renting a truck). If their vehicle is being fixed, someone might want to borrow a friend's car for a brief trip. This may appear to be a low-risk, low-effort gesture of kindness on the owner's behalf.

However, if an accident happens, the legal claim that follows can be intricate and time-consuming. Permissive Use is the legal term for permitting a motorist to borrow another car under the terms of the owner's policy. This is distinct from another common sort of "borrowing" option used by drivers on a daily basis: rental cars.

Various rental car contracts specify liability in the event of an accident. When renting a vehicle, the existing insurance policy usually applies as a type of coverage. If the policy has a permissive usage provision, it usually covers anyone who has been given permission to drive the car. To put it another way, if someone lets a coworker, friend, roommate, or family member drive their car and they get into an accident, the owner's coverage is most likely going to cover them.

What makes a permissive driver may be defined differently by various insurance providers. Permission can be contested in numerous instances. Someone might, for example, take a vehicle they had previously borrowed, assuming the owner does not have an issue, when, in fact, the owner would have said no.

If one's insurance does not include a permissive usage clause, the insured party can add people to their policy on an individual basis. However, the owner remains the "principal driver" on the insurance. A poor driving record might impact the final price one pays for coverage when contacting the insurer to add an extra "named driver." There should be no extra charge to the policy if the driver being added is competent and has a good driving record.

Possible Exceptions to Your Coverage: Business Use

Business drivers, according to insurance firms, pose a higher risk of a crash than personal drivers. Business use, such as visiting clients, moving goods, or permitting individuals to travel for a fee, may be excluded from personal auto insurance coverage (e.g. ridesharing). Keep in mind that if another person borrows a car for business purposes, the policy might not apply.

If an individual is driving someone else's car for business purposes, the owner might have to specifically identify 'business usage' on their insurance for coverage to extend in such instances.

Furthermore, if one is not sure if they have business usage coverage, they can check with their vehicle insurance carrier to see if a commercial policy is required for their driving activity (or for the activity of another person who might be driving their car).

What Happens if Your Car Insurance Refuses to Pay the Claim?

If another person was driving your vehicle, the insurer might refuse to pay for the damages in the following situations:

  1. The car gets taken from the owner without their permission.

  2. The insurance policy does not cover the individual who is driving the automobile.

  3. The driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs or does not have a valid driver's license.

Let's take a closer look at these:

Driving Without Permission

If a family member or friend takes the car without permission and the owner can prove it (which is tough), they are responsible for any damage they cause. If a friend borrows the car without permission and does not have their own auto insurance policy, the owner might be required to file a claim with their insurance company to cover the cost of any damages caused.

The Other Driver Is not Covered by the Insurance

If another driver was deliberately excluded from the primary insurance, the insurance company might not cover damages to the vehicle caused by them. Someone is often purposefully excluded from the car insurance plan, such as high-risk or inexperienced family members, because including them is going to boost the insurance rates.

Therefore, if an excluded driver crashes the policy holder's car, even if they had permission to drive at that period, the insurance does not cover the damages.

The Driver Was Under the Influence or Doesn't Have a Valid License

Since it might violate the conditions of the policy, the insurance is not likely going to cover the damage caused to the vehicle if it was lent to someone who gets into a collision while driving under the influence, or if it was lent to a person who doesn't have a valid driver's license.

How Can You Prove that You Gave the Other Person Permission to Drive Your Car?

It's difficult to prove that someone else has permission to drive a car that isn't theirs. The car owner may be liable for damages if they can't prove that they didn't give permission and a car accident occurred.

One may also choose to exclude someone from their insurance policy if they have a poor driving record and are aware that this is going to raise their insurance policy premiums. If the owner then lets that person drive their vehicle and an accident occurs, the insurance company is not responsible for the damages.

Finally, if the person driving the car does something illegal, the owner is almost certainly going to be held accountable for damages. Driving while intoxicated or without a legal driver's license are both examples.

Steps to Follow After Someone Else Causes a Car Accident in Your Vehicle

It's critical to respond swiftly after a car accident in your vehicle, even if you weren't involved. After an accident, individuals have two years from the date of the incident to claim damages for the personal injury case, and that time might fly by.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer

Contacting a car accident attorney is the best first step. Because every auto accident is unique, one may require legal assistance depending on their circumstances.

If the person driving your car was not at fault, an expert attorney can ensure that you receive compensation for your losses. Even if the owner wasn't in the car at the time of the crash, the at-fault driver must be held liable for any losses. There is a chance that the person driving your vehicle has been injured, and the vehicle has been damaged.

Insurance companies often look for ways to pay out less than the true cost of the disaster. A car accident attorney can assist people in protecting their rights and fighting for the compensation they deserve.

Understand Your Collision Coverage

People should also ensure that they are familiar with their insurance policy limits and coverage. An experienced attorney can also assist their clients with this.

Report the Accident

Make sure someone calls the police as soon as possible following the car accident. This is not only a legal necessity, but it also serves as evidence for the insurance claim.

Make a note and take photos of what happened in the car accident. Document the scene of the accident, as well as any property damage and bodily injuries. If the owner of the car was not involved in the collision, make sure the vehicle's driver records these details. One can also speak to any witnesses and obtain their contact details and names in order to ask them what they saw.

Do Insurance Rates Increase After Someone Else Gets Into an Accident While Driving Your Car?

The short answer is most likely yes. Because auto insurance works the same way whether someone lends their car to another person or drives it themselves, the premiums rise if another person causes the accident, just as they would if the owner caused the crash.

If someone is concerned about accidents, they might want to consider including accident forgiveness in their policy. Some companies provide accident forgiveness, which can assist in keeping the premiums from rising following an accident. It's generally an add-on to the regular liability coverage policy, and it's only available to drivers who haven't had a collision in a particular number of years. Thus, it is a form of secondary coverage.

There are also some options for lowering rates if they've increased as a result of a claim, such as:

  • Combining one's home and car insurance - This is a great way to save money.

  • Taking advantage of auto insurance discounts that are offered

  • Changing deductibles or coverage limits

When it comes to finding new car insurance, there are a few things to consider.

It's also worth noting that, based on the insurance and where one lives, persons who drive someone else's car with their consent may have less coverage while doing so.

How Much do Car Accident Lawyers Charge for These Cases?

How Much do Car Accident Lawyers Charge for These Cases?

Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means they are not paid until clients receive their settlement payment. We don't get paid if the client doesn't win their case. Therefore, people essentially get free legal representation until they reach a settlement, at which point we recover the fees discussed during the free case evaluation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Happens if Someone Steals and Crashes Your Car?

The owner of the vehicle is not liable for any injury or damage caused by someone who steals their car and subsequently crashes it. If the owner's policy includes comprehensive coverage, they are protected against theft and are compensated for the worth of the totaled vehicle.

What Happens if Someone Causes an Accident in Your Car While Driving it to Another State?

Auto insurance covers the vehicle irrespective of the state it is in. Note: If the policyholder moves to another state permanently, they need to adjust their insurance coverage. They need separate insurance plans for different vehicles if they have two houses in two different states and have a car in each of them (the car must be registered with the state where it's located).

Do You Have to Pay the Car Insurance Deductible?

A deductible is not included in liability insurance (insurance that covers the harm caused by the other motorist). The deductible is the amount one pays for repairs to their own vehicle. As a result, if someone borrows their car and has an accident, the owner is responsible for any necessary deductible. One can work out a deal with the other driver to have them pay for the deductible; however, this is done outside of the terms of the car insurance contract and is a personal agreement.

What if Someone Else Drives Your Car to Mexico?

When it comes to US residents, Mexico is a favorite vacation destination. Tourists must acquire motor liability insurance from a Mexican insurer, according to the Mexican government. The insurance may only cover losses or damage that occur within a set distance of the US-Mexico border if it is written in the United States. Regarding driving excursions to Mexico, the insurer might recommend a specialized Mexico-based insurance firm.

Contact The Keating Firm Ltd Today for Legal Advice!

If you were not at fault, you might be awarded compensation regardless of who was driving your car at the time of the car accident. At The Keating Firm Ltd, we can assist you in obtaining the funds necessary to compensate you for your losses. We know what it takes to win a personal injury case because we've been helping auto accident victims for decades. To discuss the case details, contact us today for a free consultation with a knowledgeable attorney.

People need a professional personal injury lawyer that is prepared to go head-on with car insurance companies that don't want to cover medical bills that fall under liability insurance. We value our attorney-client relationship and are ready to fight aggressively for those who plan to seek compensation for damages.


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