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What Happens If Someone Who Isn’t on Your Insurance Crashes Your Car?


We let people borrow our cars all the time, and we usually don’t think much of it. We trust them and assume they will take care of our vehicle while they’re driving it. But what happens if someone who isn’t on your insurance crashes your car?

The quick answer is…it depends.

Your car’s insurer has to factor in who was at fault for the accident and if you gave the driver of your vehicle permission to drive it at the time the accident occurred.

In most cases, your insurance will cover whatever damage happens to your vehicle, no matter who is driving it. We’ll give some insight into what factors auto insurance companies look at when a non-policy driver wrecks your car.

Permissive vs Non-Permissive Use

When you agree to let someone else drive your car, that is something called permissive use. In general, car insurance companies will cover damages in an accident if you permit someone to drive your car.

However, different insurance companies may have different rules, so it is always best to check with your insurer before allowing someone else behind the wheel of your vehicle. Most insurance companies have exclusions for immediate family and members of your household, meaning that those immediate family members are considered part of your policy, even if they’re not listed.

Again, you should give your insurance company a call to find out the specifics.

Non-permissive use is when someone uses your car without your express permission. This could be a friend who had borrowed your car before but didn’t have permission to use it again.

If someone crashes your car in this scenario, your insurance company likely will not cover the costs of damages or repairs.

Will Your Car Insurance Company Pay for Damages?

Generally, car insurance policies follow the car, not the driver, so in the case of permissive use of your vehicle, your auto insurance policy should cover the damages. If the friend borrowing your car is not responsible for the accident, then the at-fault driver’s insurance should cover the damages to your vehicle.

However, if your friend is the at-fault party for the accident, your insurance company should cover the damages as long as you have collision coverage.

Additionally, if your policy has an Unlisted Resident Driver Exclusion (URDE), and the driver of your vehicle lives with you and isn’t listed on your policy, they may not be covered by your insurance in the case of an accident.

What If the Car Is Stolen?

If your car is involved in an accident after being stolen, most insurance companies will not hold you, the car owner, responsible for any damages that occur and will not pay out for such damages.

The car thief won’t be listed on your insurance policy, and they weren’t permitted to take your vehicle. Therefore, you’ll likely need to file a claim with your insurer.

Any damages and injuries resulting from the theft and crash will need to be filed by the people involved through their own insurance as an uninsured motorist claim or through their own health insurance to care for injuries.

However, if it can be proven that the theft of your car was foreseeable, you may be held liable for any damage that occurs in an accident. An example of this would be if you left your keys in the car, or in plain sight near your car, and then left your car unattended, and there is eyewitness or video camera evidence showing that this was the case.

What If the Driver is Not Licensed?

If the friend you allowed to drive your car does not hold a valid driver’s license and crashes your vehicle, your insurance will not cover any damages, nor will the insurance of any other drivers involved in the accident, regardless of who is at fault.

If it comes to light that the driver of your car is unlicensed, not only will that person likely get a fine or a ticket, but they will have to use their insurance policy to cover the cost of repairs.

If an unlicensed driver doesn’t have an auto policy, you might have to claim with your insurance or pursue legal action to cover the cost of any damages.

Other Issues That Arise After an Accident Involving Your Car

If your friend borrows your car and gets in an accident, there are other concerns beyond the immediate damage to your vehicle.

When your vehicle is involved in an accident, regardless of who was driving or who was at fault, your auto insurance rates may go up when your policy is up for renewal. Additionally, if your friend has regularly been borrowing your car and you haven’t been upfront with your insurer about this, your rates may rise even more, and your insurer may cancel your policy. If you knew the driver of your car wasn’t fit to drive and you gave them the keys anyway, you may be held liable for damage and injuries in connection with the accident your car was involved in.

Also, if the driver of your car was texting while driving, or otherwise distracted or breaking the law, your auto insurance company may deny your claim for damages and injuries.

Be Selective About Who Drives Your Car

As stated before, it’s always a good idea to check with your insurance company before allowing anyone not on your policy to drive your vehicle, even immediate family members or members of your household. Get as many details as you can about who and what is and isn’t covered by your policy.

Each situation and each insurance company are different, and what happens after an accident when someone who isn’t on your insurance is driving varies case by case.

The bottom line is to be picky with who you allow behind the wheel of your car and make sure your car is covered.

In the unfortunate event that your car has already been involved in an accident by a driver not listed on your policy, know that our team at Shrager, Sachs, & Blanco has the experience to help with your case, and we offer free consultations to discuss your concerns.

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