Does My Car Insurance Cover Other Drivers?

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Does my car insurance cover other drivers: friends traveling using a car

It’s always nice to lend a helping hand to friends or family members, which sometimes means letting them borrow your car. You try not to imagine the worst-case scenario, but you wonder in the back of your mind, “Does my car insurance cover other drivers? Just in case?” 

It’s a common question for many car owners who share their vehicle with those around them. Before you toss the keys to another driver and tell them to buckle up, find out who and what is covered.


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Does My Car Insurance Cover Other Drivers if They’re Driving My Car?

The short and most basic answer is yes. Your own insurance covers other drivers up to the policy limits listed on your declarations page. However, that answer comes with a few stipulations and caveats listed in the fine print of your policy. Before lending your car to someone, you should always read your policy to ensure they’re able to drive the car.

Typically, other drivers are covered on most insurance policies under what’s called permissive use. This means that you verbally gave someone permission to use your car. The only way that they wouldn’t be covered is if they’re specifically listed on your policy as an excluded driver. In general, excluded drivers are those with poor driving records, and more specifically, DUIs and reckless driving charges. An excluded driver could also be someone not explicitly listed on your policy, so again, it’s worth checking over your policy to make sure.

If you didn’t give someone permissive use of your vehicle, they’re likely not covered by your insurance policy. In this scenario, the insurance of the person driving your car may cover the medical and repair costs incurred by the other driver.

In some cases, you may give someone permission to drive your car who’s uninsured. That’s perfectly fine, and your coverage still applies up to your coverage limits, as long as it’s not expressly prohibited in your policy. However, you may have to pay out of pocket if the damage or medical bills exceed the limits on your policy. It’s a risky move, so giving them a ride is probably the best option.

Let’s get into some examples with specific insurance coverage types.

Liability Coverage

If you have liability insurance, the protection for the driver of your car is limited. Their medical bills or any damage to your car would not be covered if they’re determined to be at fault for an accident. It only pays for vehicle damage and medical expenses for the other driver, their passengers, or any pedestrian hurt in the accident. 

If the person driving your car is not at fault, typically the other driver’s insurance kicks in to cover their medical bills and any damage to your car.

Comprehensive Coverage

If you have comprehensive insurance coverage, the same idea of permissive use and excluded drivers applies. Comprehensive claims pay out for car theft, vandalism (aside from the driver using the car), natural disasters, animal damage, and falling objects. You can file a comprehensive claim if someone else is driving your car, but you still need to pay the deductible and you may see an increase in your car insurance costs in the future.

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage also covers other drivers if they’re not part of an exclusion and you have a permissive-use policy. In the event of an accident caused by the driver of your car, your policy covers damage to your vehicle, but not the medical bills of the person driving your vehicle.

Collision coverage protects your vehicle in instances such as a single-car accident, the driver of your car hitting another vehicle, or other collision-based scenarios where damage to your own car occurs. As long as you gave your permission for them to be driving, you shouldn’t have any issues filing a successful claim with your insurance provider or insurance agent.

But just as you would with comprehensive coverage, you still need to pay the deductible and may see a rise in your insurance rates during your next renewal period.

Full Coverage

Since full coverage is liability, comprehensive, collision, and other types of coverage combined under a single auto insurance policy, all of them would apply to the other driver. However, you would be on the hook for paying the deductible under a comprehensive or collision claim.

Does Car Insurance Follow the Driver or the Car?

Two women happily riding a car

Car insurance almost always follows the car, not the driver. However, the policy terms dictate which drivers are covered.

People listed on your policy are always covered when driving your car. Drivers not listed on your policy may be covered under certain circumstances. For example, letting your friend borrow your car for errands with your permission would be covered. The same goes for alternating drivers during a road trip.

If you let someone else drive your car, the only people who don’t get coverage are those specifically excluded and any others who don’t meet the terms and conditions of your auto insurance policy. Still, it’s not uncommon for an insurer to not renew your policy if someone not listed on your policy causes a crash.

Hopefully, this answers the burning question, “Does my car insurance cover other drivers?” If not, refer to your policy or call your insurance agent for more details.

What if Someone Driving My Car Was in an Accident That Wasn’t Their Fault?

If someone is driving your car, and they are involved in an accident that wasn’t their fault, the liability for the accident typically lies with the at-fault party’s insurance. The at-fault motorist’s insurance should cover the vehicle damages and injuries resulting from the accident, although you typically have to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to receive compensation.

However, if the at-fault party is uninsured, you may have to file a claim with your own insurance company or pursue compensation from the uninsured driver. State laws also dictate minimum coverage requirements. If the at-fault driver doesn’t have adequate coverage limits to pay for your medical bills and car repairs, you may have to cover the additional costs out of pocket or pursue litigation. For this reason, you may want to add uninsured/underinsured coverage to your policy.


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A Quick, Easy Solution: Non-Owner Car Insurance

If you have a friend or family member who frequently uses your car, you may want to discuss non-owner car insurance. This is a liability-only policy that provides secondary coverage on top of the owner’s existing policy. It’s usually cheaper than a traditional policy and can provide peace of mind knowing that their financial liabilities are lessened or covered completely if they’re deemed at fault in an accident.

Can I Get My Car Insured Under Someone Else?

Unfortunately, you typically can’t get your car insured under someone else. To obtain any type of policy coverage, most car insurers want to see the car owner’s name on the policy — not a third party.

With that said, someone else can pay for your policy or add you to their policy without issue. As long as you have a driver’s license, it’s just a matter of working out the financial details.

Will My Rates Go Up if Another Driver Gets a Speeding Ticket?

Although insurance follows the car and not the driver, this is one case where insurance isn’t tied to the vehicle. If you allow someone to use your car and they get a speeding ticket, their rates may increase in the future. Your rates won’t.

Insurers use your driving history to formulate your insurance rates, so it’s one of the many factors that can affect your rates. Since you weren’t driving, you have nothing to worry about.

Can My Child Drive My Car Without Insurance Coverage?

Driver smiling at the camera

Most of the time, your child needs their own insurance policy to get behind the wheel of your car. While licensed, uninsured drivers are OK to drive your vehicle with permissive use on occasion, your teenager will probably want to drive regularly (and you’ll be glad to not have to give them a ride).

Because they’re most likely a frequent driver and live at the same address, you can add them to your insurance coverage. This is almost always cheaper than buying them their own policy.


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Can I Drive My Friend’s Car if I Have Insurance?

If you have insurance, you can certainly drive your friend’s car. The same scenarios listed above apply, and your friend’s insurance coverage would pay for damages if you’re in an accident.

Nevertheless, you may still want to discuss how you’re going to split the deductible should an incident occur that requires your friend to use their collision or comprehensive coverage.

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