Your friends are your lifeline and your support structure, and sometimes you need to lean on one another to accomplish a goal or get out of a jam. In some cases, this means borrowing your friends’ cars. But what about the issue of insurance coverage?
Fortunately, if you are wondering if you are insured to drive your friends’ cars, you are in luck. Insurance generally follows the car. This means that when an insurance policy is taken out on a vehicle, the car is covered regardless of who is behind the wheel.
You are not insured to drive your friends’ cars if you are an excluded driver on their policies. For example, maybe you got into a wreck when borrowing Bob’s car last year, and in exchange for covering the accident his insurer named you as an excluded driver.
This means that if Bob lends you his car, the car insurance company won’t cover any damage you cause while behind the wheel. He can lend you the vehicle, but if you get in trouble the risk’s on you.
It is true that you are insured to drive your friends’ cars, but only if your friend gives you permission. If you take the car without Bob’s knowledge and rear-end a truck on the interstate, the insurance company might not be prepared to pony up the cash for repairs.
This usually doesn’t matter unless you and your friend are in some sort of argument, because Bob must tell the insurance company that he didn’t give you permission. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to obtain consent before borrowing friends’ cars.
You might be insured to drive your friends’ cars, but it’s never a good idea to take a vehicle without knowing the whole story. You should ask what type of coverage is included on the vehicle and who actually owns the vehicle before you slip behind the wheel.
Let’s say, for example, that you borrow Bob’s car to run a personal errand, and you rear-end that nefarious truck on the interstate. The cops are called, the damage is assessed, and citations are levied-then you discover that Bob doesn’t own the car after all. It’s his father’s car, and Dad is none too pleased.
Failing to gather information before you borrow a friends’ car can have disastrous consequences. You are better off catching a bus or asking Bob to run you around town than risking financial devastation for a joy ride.
In some cases, you might be insured to drive your friends’ cars under your own car insurance policy. There are riders and addenda that permit the coverage of a driver no matter which vehicle he is driving, though these coverage options are usually expensive.
Talk to your insurance agent if you plan to drive friends’ cars on a regular basis. Find out what options you have, such as a non-owner car insurance policy, so you don’t have to worry about putting yourself in a bind.