Being in a car accident is always stressful, but it can be even more stressful when the car in the accident is not your own. Because the driver and the owner of the car are different in this case, the situation may be more complicated than an accident between two drivers who owned their cars; you and your friend are likely to both have insurance, and both policies are likely to come into play.
The most important element of determining consequences of a car accident is who was at fault, regardless of whether or not they were driving their own car.
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident and you were not driving your own car, contact the car accident lawyers at Zinda Law Group today at 888-439-2710 for a free case consultation.
WHAT DOES PERMISSIVE DRIVER MEAN?
Many insurance policies allow car owners to let other people occasionally use their car while being covered by their insurance policy, even though the other person is not listed on the car owner’s insurance. This is called permissive use.
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WHEN DOES PERMISSIVE USE NOT APPLY?
Permissive use does not apply if you are driving a car without the knowledge or permission of the owner. If the owner does not give you permission, you cannot invoke permissive use and you are not likely to be covered under their insurance.
Permissive use also can only be used when the car is driven only periodically by the individual who is not on the insurance—some insurance companies specify less than 12 times a year.
If you are driving your friend’s car regularly, it may not qualify as permissive use and it could be more beneficial for your friend to add you to her insurance.
WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMEONE ELSE DRIVES MY CAR AND GETS INTO AN ACCIDENT?
Car insurance is meant to protect the car, regardless of who is driving it.
Although it depends on the terms of your auto insurance policy, if the driver is driving with your permission, it is likely your insurance will deal with the accident.
WHAT IF YOUR FRIEND DRIVES YOUR CAR WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION AND CRASHES IT?
If your friend did not get your permission before driving your car, it is unlikely that your insurance will cover any damages caused, and instead the at-fault driver will be responsible.
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WHO PAYS IF SOMEONE CRASHES YOUR CAR?
Payment depends more on who the at-fault party is than whether or not the driver of the car was also the owner. Although it depends on the laws of your state, it is likely that your insurance will pay if someone crashes your car.
INSURANCE OPTIONS IF SOMEONE CRASHES YOUR CAR
There are several auto insurance options that provide coverage against various situations that may come up. Most states make it mandatory to have some level of auto coverage, but that level varies from state to state.
Liability insurance is mandatory in almost every state in order to legally drive. Liability insurance covers any damages you may cause in an accident.
UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE
While it is illegal to drive without insurance, not everyone obeys this law. Others have insurance, but not enough to cover an accident.
Not all states make uninsured motorist coverage mandatory, but this insurance will cover damages caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION
This insurance is to cover the medical costs of the insured individual and any passengers at the time of an auto accident.
This insurance will cover the damages that are caused to your own vehicle in the event of an accident, regardless of who caused the accident.
Comprehensive insurance provides coverage for situations that aren’t vehicle collisions. If your car is lost or damaged by theft, vandalism, hitting animals, fire, flood, or in another non-collision way, comprehensive insurance is what will cover repairs.
WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMEONE WRECKS YOUR CAR AND YOU DON’T HAVE INSURANCE?
If you do not have insurance and another driver wrecked your car, the driver’s insurance may be used to cover costs.
If neither of you have insurance, it is likely the driver of the car will have to pay out of pocket for the damages incurred, and an individual who drives without insurance may also be cited by police if they have not taken the necessary steps to drive without insurance (usually paying a fine to the DMV).
THE DRIVER’S INSURANCE USUALLY PLAYS A SMALL ROLE
If you gave someone else permission to use your car, it is likely your insurance will cover the accident.
If you did not give permission and someone still used your car and crashed it, they will likely have to pay for it.
However, when someone gets in a crash while driving someone else’s car, their insurance may be used as a secondary source if the driver’s insurance is maxed out or is not enough to cover the damages, but only after the car owner’s insurance has been exhausted will the insurance of the driver be used.
UNINSURED DRIVERS DEPEND SOLELY ON THE CAR’S COVERAGE
If a driver is not insured, then the insurance of the car owner is the only insurance that can be considered in the situation.
INSURANCE RATES AFTER AN ACCIDENT
Your insurance rates may rise after an accident, even if you were not the one driving your car when the accident occurred. Insurance companies may say that you’re entrusting someone else to drive your car demonstrates carelessness on your part.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF SOMEONE ELSE GOT INTO AN ACCIDENT WITH MY CAR?
If someone else got into an accident with your car, you should contact your insurance company to inform them of the accident.
You may also want to consider contacting a lawyer if the accident was serious, if you have questions about the extent of your responsibility, or if the other party involved threatens legal action against you.
WHAT IF YOUR FRIEND DRIVES YOUR CAR AND CAUSES AN ACCIDENT WITH MINIMAL DAMAGE TO ONLY YOUR CAR?
If your friend causes damage to your own car but no other car, it depends on your insurance coverage whether or not your insurance will pay for repairs.
For example, liability insurance only covers damages you (or another permissive driver) causes to other cars, not your own car. If you have comprehensive coverage, damage to your own car is likely to be covered by that, as this is not a collision.
HOW DOES MY CAR INSURANCE COVER OTHER DRIVERS?
If you have a friend who uses your car too regularly to be called a permissive driver, you may want to consider adding them to your insurance policy.
If you drive other people’s cars regularly but are not on the insurance policy, you could consider non-owner car insurance, which covers individuals who do not own a car but regularly drive other cars.
OTHER SCENARIOS WHEN YOUR CAR IS CRASHED BY ANOTHER DRIVER
YOUR CAR IS STOLEN AND THEN CRASHED
If your car is stolen, you are unlikely to be responsible for the accident. When you discover your car stolen you should contact your insurance company right away, and if the car subsequently gets into an accident you should inform your insurance company of this as well.
The individual who stole the car, in this case, would be the one responsible for the damages caused. However, car thieves often do not have insurance, in which case the other driver in the accident may be able to receive compensation from his uninsured motorist coverage if he has it.
PERMISSIVE DRIVER WAS DRUNK
If you allowed someone to drive your car while they were intoxicated, you may be held responsible for the injuries or damages that they occur. In some states, if you allow someone to drive your car and they incur a DWI, you will face all the standard penalties for a DWI regardless of the fact that it was not you driving.
In addition, your insurance rates are likely to rise, as you will be marked as a dangerous driver even though you were not driving.
EXCLUDED DRIVER CRASHES YOUR CAR
In some cases, you may not want a specific member of your household on your car insurance, perhaps because their accident history would raise rates or for another reason.
In some states, you may exclude such a member of your household from your insurance policy, the idea being that this person will not be driving the covered automobile, so you do not need insurance for them. Obviously, that means that this person is not supposed to be driving an automobile that they are excluded from the coverage of.
Your insurance is unlikely to cover accidents caused by an individual who was specifically excluded from your policy. Note that being excluded from a policy and being removed from a policy are two different things: exclusion means that insurance will not cover that individual, whereas removal is likely to still cover the removed driver as a permissive driver.
GET HELP FROM CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS
If you or someone driving your car has been in a crash, you may want to contact a car accident attorney. Multiple people and insurance policies being involved can make a car accident claim much more complicated, and this only increases if one of the parties involved was underinsured or uninsured.
The car accident lawyers at Zinda Law Group have extensive experience with car accident cases and communicating with insurance providers. In addition, their No-Win, No-Fee Guarantee means that you will not pay anything in your case unless you receive a favorable verdict. Contact Zinda Law Group today for a free case consultation.