If you get into a car accident while driving your own vehicle, the situation is pretty cut and dry. If you have auto insurance, you would file a claim with your insurance company to pay for your damages. If you were at fault in the accident and the other driver suffered injuries or property damage, your insurance also would cover their damages.
However, what happens if you get into an accident in someone else’s car? This scenario is a little more complicated. As a general rule, car insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver. That means the owner of the vehicle would file a claim with their insurance to cover any damages.
There are exceptions to this rule, though. For instance, if you did not have permission to drive the other person’s vehicle, or if the other person specifically excluded you as a driver on their insurance policy, you might be personally liable for the damages in your accident.
For help navigating the insurance claims process in a situation like this, contact the car accident lawyers at Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. We can help you pursue the money you need to pay for your losses. Call 800-550-0000 today for a free consultation.
Will the Vehicle Owner’s Insurance Policy Cover My Damages?
As long as you had permission to drive the other person’s vehicle, their insurance should cover the accident. If the total damages exceed their policy limits, you would then file a claim with your own insurance company for the remaining costs.
Who has permission to drive someone’s else vehicle? Generally, one of three situations must apply. Either you are a member of the same household, you are specifically listed on their policy as a covered driver, or the car owner expressly permitted you to drive their car.
Members of the Household Have Coverage
Most auto insurance policies automatically cover anyone living in the primary driver’s household. For instance, if you are a licensed driver and you were driving your spouse’s or parent’s car at the time of the accident, you are likely covered under the policy on the vehicle. In this case, you can expect the car owner’s insurance to cover your damages.
If you were driving the car of someone you live with but are not related to, such as a roommate or long-term guest, the situation can be trickier. One of our car accident attorneys can help determine coverage.
Drivers Listed on the Insurance Policy Have Coverage
If you are not a member of the vehicle owner’s household, but you drive the vehicle often, the owner can elect to list you on their policy as a covered driver. For instance, imagine you work for someone as a personal assistant and often need to drive their vehicle to run errands. Even though you are not related and do not live with them, they can add you to their policy. That way, if you have an accident while driving their vehicle, the owner’s policy covers it.
Drivers With Express Permission to Borrow the Car Have Coverage
The third scenario in which you have permission to drive the owner’s vehicle is if they expressly gave it to you. Even if their insurance policy does not list you, you are generally covered as long as the owner permitted you to drive the vehicle in the capacity you were operating it when the accident occurred.
For instance, if you asked to borrow the vehicle to run to the store to pick up food and you had an accident on the way, the owner’s insurance policy should cover you. However, if you took a detour along the way and drove to a nearby town and the accident occurred there, the owner’s insurance might deny the claim. We can help you sort out situations such as these.
Are There Situations Where the Car Owner Can Exclude Someone from Coverage?
In addition to including certain drivers on an insurance policy, a vehicle owner can also exclude certain drivers. This situation could occur if a parent elects to exclude one of their children from their policy due to reckless driving behavior. If the child then borrows the vehicle and has an accident, the child—and their insurer—would be liable for damages.
If someone else crashed your car, such as an excluded child, contact us today. We can help protect you from liability for the related damages.
Do You Need Help With a Car Accident Claim? Call 800-550-0000 for a Free Attorney Consultation.
The legal team at Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C., focuses on car accident law and can help protect you from liability after a car accident. We can determine which insurance policy is likely to cover you before we file a claim for compensation for your injuries and property damage. We will negotiate directly with the insurer in your case until we secure a fair financial settlement for you.
To set up a free consultation, call 800-550-0000 today.