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Ask An Insurance Expert Q&A

Does my car insurance cover me or my car?

I’m lending my car to a friend for a couple days while hers is in the shop. Does my car insurance cover that? If she gets into an accident, is my insurance the one that pays?

Yes. Car insurance follows the car, not the person, meaning your friend (or anyone else who might borrow your car) is covered by your car insurance while they’re driving your car.

What happens if someone else gets into a car accident while driving my car?

My friend got into a fender bender while borrowing my car. We’re not sure whose insurance to call. Who’s responsible?

Car insurance follows the car. That means your insurance pays because it’s your car. It doesn’t matter that your friend was the one driving. Unfortunately, that also means that your insurance premiums are the ones that could become more expensive because of this.

Accidents happen, even to good drivers. But this rule of insurance coverage is why it’s very important to make sure that you only lend your car to drivers you trust so that your insurance premiums don’t go up for an accident you didn’t cause.

The exception to this is if your car was stolen or driven without your say-so (say, by a rogue roommate). Then you might have recourse if they get into an accident, but you’ll have to work closely with your insurance company and with the police to prove that.

What happens if I get into an accident while driving someone else’s car?

I was wondering what happens if I get into an accident while driving a car that isn’t mine? I’m planning to go on a road trip with a friend in his car. What happens if we get into an accident when it’s my turn to be behind the wheel?

His insurance covers it, just like your insurance would cover it if he was driving your car. It’s pretty simple!

However, if your friend is mad about the damage, he could still sue you to cover any portion of the damage that he needs to pay. Don’t go too wild when you’re driving someone else’s car. Just because their insurance is liable doesn’t mean you’re not potentially on the hook for some money that you’d have to pay to them directly.

How much damage is covered if someone else was driving my car?

I was wondering if it affects my coverage if my friend drives my car. If they get into an accident, how much will the insurance pay for? How much will I have to pay?

Whether or not your friend is driving won’t affect how much your insurance pays for in an accident. Just like if you were driving, how much you might owe if your friend gets into an accident will depend on these two things:

  • The size of your deductible
  • Your car insurance limit

A deductible is the amount you agree to pay before your insurance kicks in. For example, if the damage to your car will cost $2000 and your deductible is $500, then you’ll need to pay $500 before your car insurance pays the rest ($1500).

A limit is what it sounds like: it’s the limit to how much your insurance will pay.

  • Liability policies have higher limits, such as $10,000, $25,000 or $50,000.
  • Comprehensive and collision policies, which cover damage to your own car, usually use the actual cash value of your car as a limit.

The actual cash value of your car isn’t what you paid for it. It’s the replacement cost of the car minus depreciation, a.k.a. the amount of value your car loses each year due to age and wear and tear.

Whether it’s liability, comprehensive, or collision in play, your car insurance will never pay out anything over the limit of the policy.

If it’s a serious accident, and the damage to other people and property is significant, you’ll need to pay any costs above and beyond the limit of your liability policy. These costs could be very high if medical bills are involved.

Again, it’s important to make sure you trust your friend before you let them behind the wheel! (Or vice versa!)

What happens if someone moves in with me and needs to use my car regularly?

My roommate borrows my car pretty regularly when she runs errands, but she’s not listed as a driver on my car insurance. Do I need to add her?

Yes. If someone lives with you or if they drive your car routinely, they should be added as a driver with your car insurance. It can be a pain to add someone, but it’ll save you major headaches later.

That’s because even though your car insurance covers anyone who has permission to drive your car, like your roommate, it’s a quicker, easier process to file a claim if the person driving is on your insurance.

Additionally, if your insurance company thinks that you’re covering up the fact that someone else is a regular driver of your car—for example, if you chose not to add someone because you knew it would drive your insurance premiums up—then your insurance coverage could be in jeopardy.

In short, it’s fine if someone’s only borrowing your car occasionally. But in cases like yours and your roommate’s, you need to be honest and add them to your policy. Lying or hiding things is what can put you on the hook in an accident, not someone borrowing your car.

As an independent insurance agent, at Martin Insurance Agency, we can help walk you through the process of adding someone to your policy. We can fill out paperwork for you and answer any questions you have.

And if you’d like a free quote on your auto insurance or your home & auto bundle, just click here and send us a request. It’s that simple! Good luck and good job thinking ahead.