We’ve all been there. A friend is in need and you offer to help -- or are asked to help -- and let your friend borrow your car. Chances are that your car gets returned without any issues or problems. But what happens if your friend gets into a car accident while driving your vehicle? Who is responsible for the damages to the car? And what if someone is injured in the accident?
Does Car Insurance Cover Someone Else Driving Your Car?
Yes, generally, car insurance follows the vehicle, regardless of who is driving. However, there are certain exceptions to this generalization. First, the person borrowing your car must have received explicit permission to use the vehicle. A friend who takes a car without permission is not authorized to drive the vehicle. The borrower must also have a valid driver’s license. If the person who drove the car does not have a valid driver’s license, the driver cannot legally operate the vehicle.
Assuming you gave your friend permission to use your car and your friend can legally drive, your car insurance should cover at least a portion of the damages. There is no requirement for your friend to own a car or have any kind of personal auto insurance policy coverage to be an authorized driver.
Who Pays for the Damage to My Car When a Friend Is Driving?
Collision coverage is the type of insurance that covers damage to your own vehicle, however, it is not required in every state, including New Jersey. Assuming you have collision coverage, your insurance would cover damages up to a certain amount after your deductible is met. It does not matter if the car owner or the person who borrowed the car pays the deductible -- to the insurance company. Deciding between you and your friend who will cover the damage is between the two of you.
Accidents can also cause damage to another person’s car and/or cause injuries. When a car accident leads to damage to another vehicle or causes injuries, liability coverage is used. Liability coverage may vary, so it’s possible that the insurance coverage has too low of a limit to cover the full extent of damages. And the reasons why the accident occurred will make a difference in liability. It’s possible that, depending on why the accident occurred and if damage to the other vehicle exceeds the liability coverage limit, the car borrower may be liable to make up the difference and pay the remainder.
Will My Insurance Premiums Increase?
Unfortunately, it’s entirely possible and probable that your insurance premiums will increase if your friend crashes your car while driving it. While allowing friends to borrow your car may seem like a kind and helpful action, make sure you understand the potential consequences of doing so.
My Friend Crashed My Car and It’s Complicated.
Letting a friend borrow your car can be a costly decision if a car accident happens. Working with an experienced attorney who understands the nuances of your specific situation can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we are committed to client care and your well-being. We work on contingent fees that are only collected if we win your case. If we don’t win, you don’t pay. Contact us today for a free consultation. With our proven track record of success and our commitment to client care, we can turn your setback into a comeback.