Am I Covered if I Drive Someone Else’s Car?

People drive each other’s cars all the time. A sober person may drive a friend home because they have been drinking alcohol. A relative may drive a family member home after they have surgery at the hospital. Someone may borrow their friend’s truck for moving day. Or, someone may borrow a friend or family member’s car because theirs is in the shop – the possibilities are endless.

Whenever you drive someone else’s car or when someone asks to borrow yours, you may ask yourself, “If someone drives a car that doesn’t belong to them, is it covered by insurance if it’s in a crash?”

When You Drive Someone Else’s Vehicle

Let’s say you borrow your friend’s car because yours is at the dealer getting a recall repaired. If you cause a car accident while in your friend’s borrowed car, your friend’s car insurance policy will pay the claim.

However, if your friend does not have valid auto insurance, or if he or she doesn’t have enough money to pay for the injuries and other damages that you caused, your personal auto insurance policy will kick in because the policy is secondary to the owner’s policy.

In other words, car insurance follows the car, not the driver. If you cause a collision in a borrowed car, your friend or family member will be required to pay the deductible (deductibles are often $500 to $1,000), and even though YOU caused the accident, your friend’s auto insurance could go up and he or she will have to deal with the rate increase.

“If you don’t own a car, but borrow a car often, you can buy a nonowner liability policy. A nonowner policy pays for the damages and injuries you cause to other people while driving a borrowed car. It doesn’t pay for your injuries or damage to the car you’re driving,” according to the Texas Department of Insurance.

Next: Should I Buy Auto Insurance When I Rent a Car?

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