Whose Insurance Pays if Your Friend Wrecks Your Auto?Owning and operating a vehicle comes with many benefits, but it also has its challenges and responsibilities attached. If you are a car owner, you most likely have allowed or asked someone to drive your car.  Maybe it was a neighbor who needed to go to the doctor and her car wouldn’t start or perhaps a friend asked to borrow your car while theirs was getting repaired. Sounds simple enough, right?  Typically, nothing happens, but what if an accident happens when you allow that person to drive your car? If your friend is negligent in the operation of your automobile and causes an accident, you may not know whose insurance covers the damages…yours or theirs?

Typically, insurance follows the car involved in the accident and not the driver, although some conditions may apply.  In the above scenario, if your friend or neighbor asks permission to drive your car and causes an accident, YOUR insurance would be responsible to pay for liability damages resulting, (bodily injury and property damage) up to the limits of liability.

Realize There May be Exceptions to the Rule

When it comes to permissive use, it’s never as simple as you would think. So, in the above situation, your friend/neighbor rarely if ever drives your car, but they did ask, and you granted permission.  By doing so, you are taking on the responsibility of their actions once they are in operation of it.

However, there are some exceptions to the rule about coverage following the auto.  What if someone asks to use your vehicle and you specifically say no? Or what if your friend has your car for a half day while getting their car repaired and that person let’s another person (that you don’t even know) drive your car and causes an accident?  In both situations, you have NOT granted permissive use of your car to someone else and in turn, this could lead to a coverage denial based on “non-permissive use.”  This issue can sometimes be hard to tie down and can vary by jurisdiction.

Another exception to the rule is when the limits of liability of the primary insurance policy have been exhausted, yet there are pending damages remaining to be paid. Assume there is permission and your neighbor wrecks your car, causing catastrophic damages. Your auto policy is primary, but once the limits of liability are used up, the remaining damages may fall on the driver at fault’s insurance policy as secondary.

Their Actions Become Your Responsibility

Letting someone drive your car may seem like an innocent situation, but sometimes it can get complicated. Just remember that once that person gets behind the wheel of your vehicle, you are responsible for his/her actions, and it can impact you financially.  If that person causes an accident, it does reflect on your driving history and the accident can reflect an increase in your car insurance premium.

It is recommended you let your local New York independent insurance agent know if there is anyone who regularly drives your car so that he/she can add them as a driver on your New York auto insurance policy. If someone is in regular operation of your car and you don’t notify your agent, it could result in a coverage denial or a cancelation of your policy.

Contact us at Cameron Group Insurance and we can assist you with all your New York auto insurance needs.  We can answer any questions and/or address any concerns about letting someone drive your car or how to proceed about someone who operates your auto on a regular basis. Don’t wait!  Call us today at 845-627-2130.