Can Someone Borrow My Car Without Insurance?

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man passing car keys to a woman who is borrowing his car

You’re home from college and crashing at a friend’s home. You’re visiting family over the summer, and your mom’s car is the only one available. What do these two scenarios have in common?

In both situations, you’re faced with the question: Can I borrow someone’s car without car insurance? While drivers borrow each other’s cars all the time, you should consider the impact this can have on your car insurance.  

This article will explore borrowing a car without car insurance and lending a car to someone without insurance. We’ll also consider some options for frequent car borrowers to ensure you’re always covered when driving a car that isn’t your own. 

Can I Borrow A Car Without My Own Car Insurance?

It is legal for you to drive a borrowed vehicle even if you don’t have your own car insurance. As long as you obtain permission, of course. Your license must be considered valid where you live. 

However, if the person lending you a car has their own insurance, you should be covered under their policy. When you borrow a vehicle, you’re borrowing their insurance too. Their insurance policy will be the primary coverage for any damages. Car insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver. 

If you borrow a friend or family member’s car now and then, you might not need your own car insurance policy. However, if you take someone else’s car for a spin every weekend, you should consider getting your own insurance.

Let’s say your sister visits from out of town a couple times a year and you want her to run a few errands for you in your car. Since she’s not a regular driver, and you know she’s driving your car, it shouldn’t be a problem. If she does get into an accident, she should be covered under your insurance policy. 

This is permissive use, and you should be covered under their insurance while diving it.  

However, if you’re uninsured and borrow cars often, consider purchasing non-owners car insurance. Keep in mind that non-owners coverage is secondary to the primary insurance policy since a policy covers the car, not the driver. The owner of the car is still assuming liability for the driver of their vehicle and understand that if their auto policy is exhausted in a claim, the driver’s non-owners policy would be secondary only. 

Non-Owners Car Insurance for Borrowers 

Purchasing non-owners car insurance is one way to secure insurance for any borrowed vehicle. This form of insurance covers bodily injury liability and property damage liability. This coverage includes:

  • Cost of damage to the other driver’s vehicle 
  • Cost of damage to property (ex. fences, garage doors)
  • Medical expenses (only if you have a medical expenses coverage policy)
  • Legal fees 
  • Compensation for lost income 

Non-owner insurance is a good choice if you often borrow cars and want to protect yourself and the car owner from financial risk. It’s also helpful if you’re between vehicles and want to avoid a lapse in car insurance coverage. 

What Kind of Car Insurance Do I Need to Let Someone Borrow My Car?

This is entirely up to you. Some drivers only choose to insure their car according to the state minimum insurance requirements. If you plan to let people borrow your car often, it may be better to increase your insurance limits. At the very least, you should consider having the following forms of coverage: 

  • Liability Insurance: The most basic type of car insurance, liability insurance pays for injuries in an accident where you are at fault. It also covers the cost of property damage.  
  • Collision Insurance: Collision coverage protects your car when it’s damaged after a collision with another vehicle. This covers anything from the borrower hitting another car to them driving your car off a cliff.  
  • Comprehensive Insurance: Comprehensive coverage protects your vehicle from any damage caused by something other than a collision. It covers theft, vandalism, fire or explosion, animal damage, or falling branches. 

What if Someone gets into an Accident While Borrowing My Car?

Your insurance can cover the accident if someone borrows your car and gets into a collision. But, depending on your policy’s coverage limits and the driver’s insurance policy, their insurer could cover some or all of the claim.

Let’s say that your friend borrowed your car to drive to the local supermarket and got in an accident on the way there. They’re hit by another driver who’s found to be at fault. In this situation, the other driver’s insurance will kick in and pay for the damage to your vehicle. They will also pay for any injuries sustained by your friend. 

On the other hand, imagine that your friend is the one at-fault. Your policy will pay up to the maximum limits for bodily injury or property damage caused. If the costs exceed your policy, your friend’s insurance should step in to pay the rest. If not, you both run the risk of being sued for damages.

However, many people run into problems with friends regarding who will pay the deductible. For example, if your friend borrows your car and falling branches damage it, your comprehensive insurance should cover it. But if the cost of the damage is $700 and you have a $500 deductible, will they pay for it? You’ll need to think about these various scenarios before agreeing to let someone drive your car. 

There are some scenarios where your insurance company may refuse to cover the accident of a borrower:

  • The borrower failed to ask for permission: Failing to ask for permission to borrow a vehicle is known as non-permissive use. In this scenario, the driver’s insurance is liable for covering the cost of damages from the accident. If the borrower doesn’t have auto insurance, they will personally be held responsible for the damages. But, here’s the important part, you might have to take certain actions in order for the insurance company to be satisfied with the non-permissive use claim. This might include filing charges against the person who drove your vehicle without permission. Then, if the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you’ll still need to put a collision claim through your policy in order for damages to your vehicle to be fixed. 
  • The accident was not the borrower’s fault: If the person driving your car isn’t found at fault, the other driver would be responsible for the damages. 
  • The driver is excluded from your policy: You may choose to exclude a driver from your policy if they are a high-risk driver. For example, they may have filed an SR-22, had a DUI, or suspended license. These drivers will not be covered in the event of a collision. 

Questions to Ask Someone Before Letting Them Borrow Your Car

Before handing your keys over to someone who asks to borrow your car, ask them the following questions:

1. Does the borrower have a license? 

It is illegal for someone to drive your vehicle without a license — even with your permission. If the borrower does have a license, make sure it’s valid where they will be driving. For example, a friend visiting from another state should be fine to drive your car. If you have friends or family visiting from abroad, they may need an International Driving License to drive legally in your state.

2. What will they use your car for? 

Don’t assume why someone needs to borrow your car. When someone borrows your car, they’re borrowing your insurance as well. Depending on what they use your vehicle for, your insurance company may or may not cover them. For instance, a simple shopping trip should fall under your insurance’s protection. Using your car to deliver food as a rideshare driver? Probably not. 

3. What does your own insurance policy currently cover, and is it up to date?

This is the perfect time to double-check that your insurance policy covers someone else driving your car.  It’s also a good idea to ask them if they have their own insurance policy. You should also check and ensure that your insurance is up to date. The last thing you want is to deal with a lapse in auto insurance and an uninsured driver. 

4. What does the borrower’s driving history look like?

This is often the first thing you think about when someone asks to borrow your car. You might be more inclined to lend your car to your friend with impeccable driving than to your cousin with three accidents. 

Questions to Ask Before Borrowing Someone’s Car 

But what if you’re the one in need of some wheels? If you plan to borrow someone’s car, be sure to ask these questions before driving off:

1. Do you have their permission to drive their car?

If you fail to ask for consent before getting behind the wheel, you’ll be on the hook for any damages if you’re in a collision. This could mean thousands of dollars in medical bills and property damage.

2. What are my state regulations about borrowing a car?

Since you’re the one driving the car you’re borrowing, you need to know the state regulations about driving. For example, what are the local laws about licenses, speed limits, and right turns on red? Ask them about their insurance policy and if you’ll be covered in an accident. If they don’t have the right coverage, it’s best not to borrow their car. 

3. What kind of gas does their car need?

This seems like a simple question, but you could damage a vehicle’s engine by filling it up with the wrong type of gas. In addition, they were kind enough to let you borrow the car. Returning it to a full tank of gas is the least you can do to show appreciation. 

4. Is it okay to have food in your car? 

If you get hungry while on the road, you might want to pull over to the nearest drive-through. But, before you do, ask the owner if they’re okay with having food and drink in their car. The last thing you want to do is ruin the upholstery of the borrowed car. 

What Should I Do if a Person Regularly Borrows My Car?

If the person borrowing your car does so regularly, like a close family member or babysitter, consider listing them on your insurance policy. Ensure the person who borrows your car is not someone you’ve excluded from your car insurance policy. If they are, your insurance company may not cover damages incurred by their driving. 

FAQs

Can I drive someone else’s car without insurance?

Driving someone else’s car involves more than just asking for permission. First, you must be aware of the driving regulations and requirements where you are driving. Depending on your state, you may be legally required to have insurance to drive. Additionally, you should ensure their insurance policy allows non-named drivers in case of an accident or damage.

Can someone else drive my car for commercial purposes? 

When someone borrows your car, they also borrow your car insurance. So if you don’t have commercial or rideshare insurance on your car, they won’t be covered if they’re in accidents during work times. 

Do I need to ask someone for permission before driving their car?

You should always ask for permission before driving another person’s car. If you’re in an accident, their insurance company won’t cover the damage to your or the other party. 

What should I do if I regularly borrow another person’s car?

If you regularly borrow someone’s car, see if you can get added to their car insurance policy. If you rent or borrow cars frequently, you should consider non-owner car insurance to protect yourself further.

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