Many people never think twice about loaning their car to a friend or family member. You probably think it’s the most natural thing in the world to let your cousin or best buddy borrow your car to run errands or go to work. There are many different reasons why someone might need to borrow a vehicle, and you want to help out your friend or family member. In these situations, things usually work out just fine, and the person returns the vehicle to you. Sometimes, however, your friends or family members may borrow your car and end up in an accident.
If someone gets into an accident in a car that they borrowed from you, or you get into an accident while borrowing someone else’s car, the issue of liability will need to be settled. Liability will depend on a number of different factors; therefore, you should seek the counsel of an experienced car accident attorney.
When Insurance Will Pay for an Accident in a Borrowed Car
If someone gets into a car accident while driving the car they borrowed from you, there are certain circumstances where your insurance may pay for the damages. These circumstances include:
When You Gave Permission
When you give someone permission to borrow your car, that person is called a permissive driver. If that permissive driver gets into an accident, your car’s insurance (the primary coverage) will most likely cover the damages. If the person who borrows your car has their own insurance, their insurance will provide any secondary insurance needed. This usually is necessary when the damages incurred in the accident exceed the liability amount covered by the primary coverage.
When It’s Someone from Your Household
Family members who are drivers and who live in your household are most likely covered by your policy since insurance companies usually require that all drivers in a household be listed on a policy. If those family members have borrowed your car and they get into an accident, they should be covered.
When Insurance Won’t Pay For an Accident in a Borrowed Car
There are circumstances where your insurance won’t pay if someone borrows your car and gets into an accident. Such circumstances include:
Car Is Borrowed without Permission
If someone borrows your car without your express permission, that person is called a non-permissive driver. If they get into a car accident, your insurance most likely will not pay, and that person would most likely be liable for any damages. The problem here is that it’s sometimes very difficult to prove that you did not allow someone to borrow your car. One way to make sure that your insurance is not responsible for damages is by listing people in the “excluded driver” section of your policy. If they’re listed in that section, your insurance won’t cover them if they cause an accident while driving your vehicle.
Driver Was under the Influence
If you lend your car to someone knowing that they were drunk or under the influence, and they get into an accident, your insurance will most likely not cover any damage caused by the accident. Doing so would probably go against the terms of your policy.
If you list someone as an excluded driver on your insurance policy, and they go on to borrow your car and cause an accident, your insurance policy will not cover them. This will be true even if it turns out that you ended up giving the excluded driver permission to drive the car.
Get the Support You Need from the California Accident Attorneys at Setareh Law
When you let someone borrow your car and they end up getting into an accident, you will understandably be nervous. Depending on the factors listed above, you may or may not be on the hook for damages relating to the accident. This could not only severely affect your finances, but it may also impact your ability to obtain affordable insurance in the future.
At Setareh Law, we have extensive experience helping our clients with all types of car accident cases. We understand how liability works with car accidents, and we work hard to help our clients get the best outcomes possible. Contact us at (310) 659-1826 for more information, or complete our contact form to schedule a free case evaluation.