What happens if a friend or family member borrows my auto and gets into an accident?

Borrowed Vehicle AccidentsWhen you let a friend or family member borrow your car and he gets into a wreck, who is responsible for paying for the damage to your vehicle and for the injuries that victims suffer can be complicated. In addition, insurance coverage may not be clear-cut either. Here, we discuss what you need to know about these accidents.

Who Is Liable in a Borrowed Vehicle Accident?

If a friend or family caused a wreck in your vehicle, you could be liable for compensating victims if you gave the person permission to drive your vehicle. However, whether you have insurance coverage may not be as clear-cut. If the other driver was the at-fault driver, he would be responsible for compensating your friend or family member for any injuries and the damage to your vehicle. You would need to file a claim with his insurance company for your losses.

What Factors Influence Whether You Have Insurance Coverage When You Lend Out Your Car?

You may assume that your own auto insurance policy will provide coverage for the accident when you lend your car to someone. However, this is not necessarily true. These factors could influence whether you have coverage:

  • Permission. If you gave the family member or friend permission to drive your vehicle, most likely your insurance policy will provide you with coverage if this person caused the accident. You should also have coverage for the damage to your vehicle if you chose to file a claim under your policy instead of the negligent driver’s insurance policy.
  • Household status. Did the friend or family member who was involved in the accident live with you? If so, he may be covered under your insurance policy as someone in your household. However, some insurance companies require you to specifically add these people as insured drivers in order for them to have any coverage under your policy—even if you permitted them to use your car. You will need to read your insurance policy to determine if this is required.
  • Exclusions. If a person is specifically excluded from coverage under your insurance policy, you would not have any insurance coverage if you lent your vehicle to him and he was involved in a crash.

Figuring out your liability and insurance coverage is especially important if your friend or family member was at-fault in causing the crash since you may be responsible for compensating the victim. You need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney to determine this. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation to learn how we can help you understand your liabilities and insurance coverage in this situation.