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Does Car Insurance Follow the Driver?

If you’re like most drivers in California, at some point in time you have wondered if you loaned your car to a friend or family member, and they caused an accident if your auto insurance would cover it. Or, would this other person’s auto insurance kick in and cover the accident? This comes down to: does car insurance follow the car or the driver?

If you loan your car to a friend or relative and he or she is in an accident, your auto insurance will cover any damages – even if this friend or family member has better auto insurance than you. Car insurance generally follows the car, not the driver.

Should You Loan Out Your Car?

The next time your mom asks to borrow your car while it’s hers is in the shop, or the next time your best friend asks to borrow your truck to move, or the next time your roommate wants to drive your car to work because she doesn’t have her own car, you may want to think twice. Remember, you’re not just loaning your car, you’re letting another person borrow your auto insurance.

If you give a non-excluded driver (someone who is not specifically excluded on your policy) permission to drive your car, then your auto insurance will be primarily liable in case your friend or family member is in a crash. “What if he or she has auto insurance?” In that case, their auto insurance would be secondary.

What does this mean to you? If your friend or relative causes a crash, you will be on the hook for the deductible, and your auto insurance premium can increase because of the crash. “What if the other driver, not my friend, is at fault?”

Generally, if your friend or family member borrow your car and he or she is in a car accident that is the other driver’s fault, you don’t have to worry about it unless the other driver was uninsured or underinsured. Normally, you would file a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance.

Uninsured Friends & Relatives

Tempted to let your uninsured friend borrow your vehicle? This is not recommended. If you loan your car out to an uninsured driver, and he or she causes an accident, you can be held responsible for all of the damages. So, it is not wise to let uninsured drivers borrow your car unless you’re willing to assume liability.

To file a car accident claim in Sacramento, contact Eliot Reiner, APLC.

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