Determining liability is difficult enough when you’re involved in an auto accident. But if someone else is driving your car, what happens next? No two accidents are alike. Responsibility for the accident could be yours, but it depends on several factors. Your rates may or may not increase as a result.
Your Insurance Policy
Insurance policies vary widely from company to company and state to state. There are no “standards” in policies, so understanding what kind of coverage you have is the first thing to investigate if there is an accident.As a rule, a policy follows the car, not the driver--usually. That means that if someone else was driving your vehicle, your insurance company will likely be paying for the damages. However, much depends on the auto insurance policy you have.Does your policy allow for “household members” to drive the car, such as a spouse, partner, or children of either or both? Can you add “allowed drivers” such as roommates or other relatives? Most policies assume that family members, dependents, and others who reside at the policy owner’s residence have coverage under the policy. But you should also check your policy for this provision if you’re not sure.Is there someone in your household not related to you by blood, marriage, or adoption? Consider adding them as a “covered” or “allowed driver.”While liability may cover property damage for another driver, comprehensive and collision do not.
If the borrowing driver is:
- Driving under the influence at the time of the accident
Your policy may only cover liability, and the driver could be held personally liable. However, your own policy may also deny the claim because you loaned your vehicle to a high-risk driver. The insurer will investigate the driver’s record for previous tickets and accidents as well. In this case, your rates could increase.Additionally, if the driver borrows your vehicle for a business-related delivery, your policy may exclude use that’s business-related. Even though you aren’t in any business, the other person is and used the vehicle in the course of business. Therefore, the claim may be excluded.
Permissive Use Provisions
This is where liability can become complicated. Did you allow the individual to use your car, or did they borrow it without permission?Part of this provision will cover your household members that normally are covered, as well as those you add to your policy.But if someone borrows your vehicle without permission and then is involved in an auto accident, the question of liability will likely fall to that individual, especially if they were at fault. You will also be required to prove that the individual did not ask permission. However, this may prove difficult unless your vehicle was actually stolen.
The Person At Fault
Of course, much of the liability will also depend on who was actually at fault for the accident.If the other party is found to be at fault, their insurance would be required to cover the accident, just as if you were driving your vehicle.But if the person borrowing your vehicle is found to be at fault, he or she would have to use their own insurance policy to cover vehicular damage.You can learn more about insurance requirements and minimums at the Missouri Department of Revenue’s website.
KC’s Premier Accident Law Firm
Since 1918, The Popham Law Firm has helped hundreds of people in all kinds of auto accident cases, from simple fender benders to auto accidents involving injuries and property damage. We’ll be happy to review your case, let you know if you have one, and how to proceed. Contact us at (844) 243-2288 or use our online contact form to get started.