Auto insurance covers you and your vehicle in a variety of situations that could occur while driving. These protections can be used to track your vehicle, regardless of whether you drive it. There are some situations where your insurance may follow you if you drive a vehicle not listed in your policy.
You will get the best from your auto policy and avoid any problems with your auto insurance company if you have a clear understanding of how it follows you versus the car.
Is the car or the driver insured?
Standard auto insurance policies only cover the vehicles that are listed on the policy. The policy covers the car as well as you, the driver. If you give permission for someone to use your vehicle (or if they reside in your home), they will be covered.
Your policy may provide protection for you when you drive another person’s vehicle, or it may limit your protections for someone using your car.
Add other drivers
Insurers require that all household members over the age of 18 who are licensed drivers be named on the policy. This is because they have a reasonable expectation that they will drive your vehicle. You may also need to name regular drivers who are not part of your household on the policy. If you lend your car to a neighbor to take to yoga, they should also be included in the insurance policy. Infrequent drivers are covered by insurance companies if they allow another person to drive your car.
Most standard auto policies allow other drivers to use the vehicle less often than they do. If you allow someone to borrow your car, the insurance policy will generally cover them. If your aunt comes from far away and you lend her your car for a shopping trip, any accident that she causes while driving will generally be covered. These situations require drivers to be occasional drivers and not use the vehicle often.
There are exceptions
Some insurers will write policies with an exclusion driver in rare cases. This is a driver who is excluded from coverage, regardless of whether or not the policyholder has given permission to drive their vehicle. Drivers may be excluded if they are high-risk, such as multiple accidents or DUI convictions. If the driver was present at the accident, the policyholder will agree that no coverage will be provided for the vehicle. Named driver policies allow other drivers to be included in the policy to receive any protections while driving. Even though this policy is rare, it does not cover occasional drivers.
Check with your provider if you would like another driver to use your car as part of your insurance policy. Permissive use is a feature that auto policies often include. This would allow insurance to be extended to drivers who are not included in the policy. The insurer may require that an individual be added to the policy if they are a frequent user of your vehicle.
You will need to add a teen driver to your policy if they are going to use your vehicle. Doing so will likely increase your monthly premium.
What happens if my car is involved in an accident?
The protections you have under your insurance if someone borrows your car and causes an accident depends on how your policy is set up. Your car will be covered if your policy allows permissive use, and you have comprehensive coverage (liability and collision).
You do not have protection for damage to your car if you only have liability coverage. Your liability for injuries and damages to other people involved in an accident involving a borrowed car would usually extend to them.
Types of auto insurance policies available and options for coverage
Insurance policies for autos can provide liability coverage as well as collision or comprehensive coverage. Let’s take a look at each coverage to see if it applies to other drivers of your vehicle. It all depends on the policy language.
- Liability coverage – This covers damage to other cars or property as well as medical bills for passengers and drivers. This coverage does not cover damage to your vehicle or your medical bills. If your policy allows permissive use, and you allow someone to borrow your vehicle, liability coverage should protect damages to other people that result from your car. However, it will not cover your car or the driver.
- Collision coverage – This covers damage to your car that results from a moving accident such as a collision with another vehicle. This coverage will pay for repairs to your vehicle if your policy allows permissive usage and someone was driving it at the time.
- Comprehensive coverage – This covers damage to your vehicle that is not caused by moving accidents such as vandalism and natural disasters. Comprehensive coverage does not cover drivers. This coverage covers the vehicle only, not the driver. This exception would only apply if someone is driving and hits a deer . In this case, your policy will likely cover damages for you, your family, or permissive-use drivers.
- Personal injury protection or medical payments – Some auto policies provide coverage to pay your medical bills in the event you are hurt in an accident. This coverage doesn’t cover other drivers using your vehicle, although it may depend on the policy.
Car insurance that follows the driver
Car insurance provides very limited protections. If you are involved in an accident while driving a vehicle not covered by your policy, your insurance will not pay for damages to the car. Rental cars may be an exception, depending on the policy.
If you cause damage to another driver’s vehicle in an accident, however, your policy might provide liability coverage. Your friend might need to have liability insurance in case you are found at fault in an accident that occurred while you were driving the friend’s vehicle.
Your friend’s policy would then be the primary coverage because they own the vehicle. Your policy will act as secondary insurance if you cause more damage than their limits. Even if your car is not listed on the policy, liability coverage will cover you. This is a subject that can be governed by different laws in different states. Make sure you check the local regulations.
Car insurance generally follows the vehicle. This is the exception that most people don’t consider. If you rent a car, most insurance policies cover your liability in case of an accident. Car insurance does not cover the driver if you need secondary insurance in an accident at fault.
You should be concerned about other people driving your vehicle. Check your policy to find out how your insurer handles permissive usage.