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How To Ensure Adequate Auto Insurance Coverage

It is a common and expected that an automobile owner will permit a guest, family member or friend, to drive their vehicle. As one can imagine, mistakes occur which may lead to accident and this could lead to insurance coverage concerns. The question becomes, to what extent does your auto insurance policy cover the driving actions of your family member or friend whom you permitted to drive your car? Are you (and your vehicle) protected in case of an accident? Does your insurance only apply to your car or the driver of your car or both?

Does your insurance cover your Car or the Driver?

Generally, your insurance coverages can follow you or your car but it may vary from insurer to insurer and policy to policy, depending on a variety of considerations including but not limited to the covered drivers listed on your policy, the names of driver excluded from coverage on your insurance policy, the state where you live and whether you gave permission to your guests to drive your car.

Can My Car Insurance Cover Other Drivers Who Drive My Car?

This also depends on a variety of factors. First, your automobile insurance generally covers all drivers who are listed on your insurance policy which usually includes your spouse, children, and/ or other persons living in your household such as your parents, etc.

With respect to any other drivers who are not listed in your insurance policy, it mostly depends on whether you gave consent to your friend or guest to drive your car. This could apply when other family members visit you and borrow your car or when driving on a long trip and take turns driving for safety purposes.

What scenario may lead to the policy owner or another driver not being covered by my insurance policy?

There are various situations where your insurance company could deny coverage when another driver of your car was involved in an accident as follows:

  • Ride share: If your car is used to drive for Uber, Lyft or any ride share type activity (door dash, uber eats, etc), your personal auto insurance will not cover the accident if it occurred during the ride share activity. To avoid liability risks, you should obtain additional auto insurance coverage for commercial driving activities.

  • Renting your car to the public: If you rent out your car to the public either privately or through a third party enterprise such as Turo, your auto insurance company will likely deny coverage of any accident which occurred during the course of the rental activity. most cases, your insurance will not extend to other drivers if they’re paying to use the car (for example, you’re renting it out to a car-sharing company). You will likely need an additional, specific auto insurance policy to cover this activity. To avoid liability risks, you should obtain additional auto insurance coverage for commercial auto rental activities.

  • Excluded drivers: Any drivers who are expressly listed on the policy as "excluded" will generally not be covered when an accident occurs.

Can My Car Insurance Cover Me When Driving or injured as a passenger in Another Person's Vehicle?

This depends on a variety of considerations as follows:

  • When renting a vehicle from a rental car company.

  • When injured as a passenger in another vehicle (private or rides share).

Every Case Is Different

Because every auto insurance policy is different, the actual coverage you’ll have when driving a borrowed car (or lending one to someone) can vary greatly. It will depend on the exact terms of your policy, the state you live in, the driver in question and the type of loss suffered.

Notwithstanding, you should carefully read your policy - usually the declaration page of your insurance policy - to understand the limits of your auto insurance coverage in order to avoid any surprises following an accident. If you have any further questions regarding this topic, do not hesitate to contact our law office for a free phone consultation.


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