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What Happens If Someone Gets Into An Accident While Driving My Car?

Many of us have not thought twice about loaning their car out to a trusted friend or a family member. Your sister may need a bigger car for a special event or a good friend’s car is in the shop, you loan them yours. The majority of the time this is not a problem and your car is promptly returned when no longer needed. But what if an accident occurs to the car you loaned out? Who’s insurance pays?

Car Insurance Covers The Car

The popular belief with auto insurance is that the driver, not the car is insured. It is actually the reverse. As long as you have coverage it will follow your car. Your insurance is the primary coverage that will apply if the driver who borrowed your car has an accident. The person who is driving will act as a secondary insurance if your coverage is not enough. That is unless you know the person you loaned the car to is incompetent or negligent before driving off in the vehicle.

How You Could Be Held Liable

Some examples of your negligence would be if you allow your sister to drive your car and you know she is under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medication and is impaired. You may be liable both civilly and criminally. The same applies to loaning her the car if she does not have a current driver’s license. These situations can also leave you open to a personal injury lawsuit and even facing criminal charges. You also need to keep in mind that if you allow someone else to drive your car and they are at fault in an accident, your insurance premiums will probably increase. Insurance companies determine your rate on the likelihood of a future claim. Even though you were not driving your car, you are considered at higher risk due to the accident. Higher risk means a higher premium.

Are There Any Exceptions To Liability?

There are two exceptions where you as the owner may not be liable for the damages caused by the driver who is using your car when an accident occurs:

• Excluded Drivers: When you apply for car insurance, they will ask you to list everyone in your household. A person would be excluded if you request them not to be on the insurance or if they are high risk due to a poor driving record such as driving under the influence conviction. Including him or her on your auto insurance would increase your premiums greatly.

• Illegitimate Drivers: Illegitimate drivers mean that the driver involved in the accident took the car without permission. So if someone takes your car say for a joyride without your permission and then subsequently gets into an accident, you will not be held liable for the damages.

Protect Yourself And Know Your Rights

When an accident like this occurs, it is always upsetting. The driver who borrowed your car feels badly and you will probably be irritated or angry, not to mention you to deal with getting your car repaired or replaced. It will definitely put a strain on the relationship. This is why if you are loaning out your car you make sure the person is licensed and insured. Know the time frame they plan on using it. If they are using it for a long road trip that increases the chances of an accident. Also ask yourself what you know about their driving habits and establish rules for your car with them. Remember, you will be the one who is going to be responsible for the damages caused by the driver you loaned the car to. Is it really worth the risk?

Remember, if someone gets into an accident with your borrowed car, we can help. Give us a call at 888-393-9036 or fill out our convenient online contact form. Our attorneys at All Injuries Law have nearly 30 years of experience helping people just like you. We offer a free case review and can help you weigh out your options.