It is easy enough to toss your keys to a friend who needs to run an errand, but what happens if they are involved in an accident on their way? You may assume that their own insurance will cover the accident if they have it, or that your insurance will reject the claim completely since they are not listed on your policy. In both cases, you would be wrong.
Will I Be on the Hook if Someone Else Crashes My Car?
It is important to understand that unlike health insurance that attaches to the person, car insurance attaches to the car. This means that if someone else crashes your car, your insurance policy will still be on the hook. This is true even if the person who borrowed your car has their own car insurance policy. Only your policy will be implicated. Additionally, your insurance policy can be used to its limits, and your rates can dramatically increase, even if you were not the one driving, and even if the accident was not their fault. This makes it incredibly important to think twice before letting someone borrow your car, as you are on the hook financially if something goes wrong, even if it could not have been prevented by your friend.
However, on the flip side, this also does not mean that you can let just anyone drive your car whenever they want, and your coverage will still apply. Your car insurance policy will only cover accidents involving a driver who is not on the policy if they only intermittently use your vehicle. This is known as permissive use.
What is Permissive Use?
Car insurance companies require you to list all regular drivers of your vehicle on your policy, and determine the cost of your insurance based on this information. If there is someone, like a significant other, family member, roommate, or friend, who will regularly be driving your vehicle, in your insurance company’s eyes, you should be paying for them to use it, as it increases the risk of accident. If the insurance company learns that the person who got in the accident was regularly driving your vehicle but was not listed on your policy, they may deny coverage. In order for your insurance policy to cover an accident caused by a driver who is not listed on your insurance policy, they must generally be said to drive the vehicle less than 12 times per year. This is known as permissive use.
Contact the Edinburg TX Law Office of Raul A. Guajardo, PLLC
If your vehicle was involved in a car accident in Edinburg, Texas, while someone else was behind the wheel, you could be on the hook for major damages. It is important to consult with an attorney before talking to an insurance claims adjuster to avoid serious missteps that could cost you your insurance coverage altogether. Contact the Law Office of Raul A. Guajardo, PLLC today to schedule a consultation and get the help you need.