If My Adult Child Borrows My Car, Is He Covered by My Insurance?

Posted on May 10, 2015

If your adult child, or anyone else for that matter, drives your car, the driver is covered by your auto insurance policy. The reason is that car insurance follows the car, not the motorist.

This fact has ramifications for you as the owner of the insured car. Here is a look at several things you need to consider when you lend your car.

Who Is Covered By Your Car Insurance Policy?

Since insurance follows the car, most drivers whom you lend the car to are covered. In your policy’s omnibus clause, it states that any driver who is a family member living in the same house, including children away at school, are covered as long as you give them permission to use your car.

In some instances, if a visitor who has your permission to use your car is involved in an accident, your insurance company will cover them but only to a limited extent. The insurance company may also request that you put the drive on your excluded driver list.

Who Isn’t Covered By Your Auto Insurance Policy?

The “excluded driver” is not covered. This is someone that you explicitly note is not covered by your policy. You can decide that a family member who isn’t a good driver is not someone you want using your car.

In some cases, the insurer may request that you refuse driving privileges to someone in your household with a history of DUIs or accidents. Using the excluded driver provision can save you money on your rates.

You and Your Neighbor

Another type of situation is if you occasionally borrow your neighbor’s car to get to work or do a chore. Whether or not you are covered by his insurance depends on how much you use his car and the reason for driving it. The specifics vary from state to state.

If you use the car once every month or two, you are most likely covered. If you use the car for one or two days, you are probably covered. However, if you use it for a number of weeks at a time, you are probably not covered. The way around this is have your name added to his policy.

It also matters why you are using the car. If you are using it on the job, then his insurance must be commercial auto or business insurance. As a rule, personal auto insurance doesn’t cover you if you are driving for work related activities, whether it is delivering groceries or hauling roofing materials.

A Driver Without Permission

If a person takes your car without letting you know and without your permission, you are not liable if he gets into an accident. You will need to use your insurance to pay for damages on your car, but you will not be charged for damage to another car if he crashes into it.

If you have a friend who borrows your car but doesn’t tell you first, his insurance will become the primary coverage and yours will be considered secondary. So you are covered.

But if you have a friend who takes off in your car without your permission and it turns out he doesn’t have insurance, then your insurance will be used to handle the costs of any accidents that happen.

Be Safe

Before lending your car to anyone:

  • Understand who your policy covers and under what circumstances you are covered
  • Make sure that your car registration and insurance information is in a secure place in your car
  • Check that each driver of your car has a valid license
  • Ask if your friend has insurance

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It makes sense to understand your auto insurance policy before an accident happens.

Call us here at Otterstedt Insurance Agency at 888-866-4616 to learn more about the terms, conditions, inclusions, and exclusions of auto insurance policies.

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