What Happens When I Lend My Car to Friends or Family?

If you own a car you have probably let a friend or family member borrow it at least once. There are plenty of reasons to do so: you may want a relative to pick up your kids from school or you just would like to help someone get to work after their car broke down. But did you ever wonder who will cover the costs in the event of a road accident when someone else is driving your car? You can be surprised but in most cases it’s your auto insurance policy would have to pay.

Does my car insurance cover other drivers?

In most cases these rules apply:

  • Resident relatives: Most personal auto policies provide coverage to the named insured, their spouse or domestic partner and any other resident relatives. So, if someone is a member of your family and lives in your home, they’re automatically an insured under your policy unless excluded.
  • Domestic partners: If someone lives with you but isn’t a relative, they are not named insureds under your policy. However, if you’re living with a domestic partner, they can be added to your policy as a named insured but only if your relationship is the long-term, committed type – you share domestic responsibilities and have joint financial obligations. All you have to do is call your agent and let them know.
  • Someone with permissive use: If you loaned out your car to a friend or neighbor auto policy generally will cover them. If they are a regular and repeated user of the car, they should also have coverage. The only exception is if a driver has been specifically excluded on your policy.
  • Finally: If someone else is regularly driving your car, it’s important to let your agent know.

But here’s the tricky part

Depending on the situation – and the specifics of your policy – you might get stuck paying a surcharge on your auto insurance premium for an at-fault accident, even if you weren’t the one driving at the time. Every policy is different, so ask your agent if this applies to you.

For instance, if your neighbor runs a stop sign and causes significant injuries and property damage, you could be responsible for paying any amounts owed above the limits on your policy. That means you could be sued for your neighbor’s negligent actions because they were using your vehicle. Liability in these situations varies by state, so check with your agent if you have specific questions.

 

The source post by Justin Metz in available at https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/lending-your-car

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