What Do You Do if Your Friend Borrows Your Car and Crashes It?
This is a sticky situation for your friendship and your auto insurance. Read on for answers to 10 Frequently Asked Questions.
The expression, “No good deed goes unpunished,” is rarely more accurate than when you let a friend borrow your car . . . and they crash it. While the health and safety of your friend, passengers, and other drivers, will be your immediate worry, your auto insurance should be your next concern.
In general, AUTO INSURANCE FOLLOWS THE VEHICLE, not the driver. So, even if you are not driving your vehicle at the time of an accident, your insurance will be involved.
No doubt, this is a complicated situation. So, we’ve assembled a few of the most frequently asked questions when a friend borrows your car and has an accident.
If your friend borrows your car and has an accident whose insurance covers it?
Yours. Auto insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver. So, you are responsible for covering the accident, whether or not the driver of your vehicle has their own policy. But it’s important to note that the person driving your car has to be found legally at fault before your insurance will pay.
Your collision coverage should cover the damage to your car. If your friend caused an accident that damaged another car, your liability coverage should cover damage/injuries to the other car/driver.
What steps do I need to take if my friend crashes my car while borrowing it?
As the vehicle owner, you need to report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Knowing what your policy covers will be beneficial, and depending on the accident’s severity, you may need an attorney.
If my friend crashes my car, who pays the insurance deductible?
This is a personal matter between you and your friend. You (the owner) are the ultimate responsible party for your insurance (collision) deductible, but the at-fault driver can agree to pay some or all of the deductible.
What if my insurance doesn’t cover all the costs?
Your friends insurance is the secondary coverage if the damage exceeds the coverage of your policy. If the driver (your friend) is uninsured and the costs of their accident have exceeded your policy’s limits, then you will be entirely financially responsible.
What if my friend borrowed my car without permission and crashed it? Am I still responsible?
In the event that a driver does not have permission to borrow your car, but they take it anyway, and there is an accident, you will not be held responsible for the accident. The driver and their insurance company will be responsible for covering any resulting damages.
What happens with my auto insurance if my friend is in an accident while driving my car, but they are not “at fault” for the accident?
Generally, the party responsible for the accident is financially responsible for the damages. But be aware that some insurance companies will seek ways to reduce their costs and may pay out less than you deserve, so be prepared to contact an attorney if necessary.
What if my friend is borrowing my car for a few months?
If someone is going to be regularly borrowing your car (i.e. a nanny, or relative who is living with you) contact your insurance provider to see if you should add them to your policy. Most insurance policies will allow for you to let others drive your car from time to time. However, if the borrower is driving your car on an ongoing, regular basis, most insurers will want you to add them to your policy.
Can I get in trouble if let my friend borrow my car and they crash it?
Possibly. If you knew that your friend was impaired due drugs or alcohol, or that they had a history of reckless driving and traffic violations, you could be held responsible for putting them behind the wheel of a vehicle and be in legal trouble
If my friend causes an accident while driving my car, will my insurance rates go up?
Assuming your friend was legally at fault for the accident, and your insurance policy was invoked to cover damages, you can be assured that your rates will go up at your next renewal.
What can I do to protect my own interests when a friend asks to borrow my car?
Be choosy. Only let a friend borrow your car if you believe they are a responsible, safe driver and will be traversing simple roadways. When you let the wrong friend borrow your car, you may end up paying for it long after the car is repaired.
Have questions about your auto insurance coverage? Reach out to one of your experts at 610-422-3530.