When Another Driver Crashes Your Car

If another driver crashes your car, in certain circumstances insurance follows the car or the driver. If you need to know what happens if someone else is driving your car and gets in an accident, you've come to the right place. It depends on whether the additional driver who crashed your car was at fault and if that driver had your permission. If your son was driving your car and had an accident, most likely he had your permission. Even if your son is uninsured and driving an insured car, the accident will be covered by your insurance if he was at fault and by the other driver's insurance if the other driver was at fault. If your car is used without your permission, your liability insurance would only apply if you were found negligent in allowing your car to be taken — like leaving the doors unlocked or the keys in the car. If your car is stolen, comprehensive auto insurance coverage would pay for damage to your car. Read on to learn more about what happens if another driver crashes your car.

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Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about auto insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, researching investigative pieces, and crafting detailed, data-driven features. His works have been featured on CB Blog Nation, Flow Words, Healing Law, WIBW Kansas, and Cinncinati.com. ...

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Reviewed by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent Rachael Brennan

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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So you let your friend or family member borrow your car, thinking that it’ll be a perfectly safe and harmless decision. A few minutes later, you get a dreaded phone call from them informing you that they’ve been in an accident while driving your vehicle.

So what do you do when another driver crashes your car? Even if you know how accidents change your rate when you’re in an accident, what happens when someone else is?

Can you file a claim with your insurance company? Will they honor that claim? Will your out-of-pocket expenses be higher than they would be if you had been the one behind the wheel? We have answers to all these questions and more.

To find the best rates on your car insurance, use our FREE rate comparison tool today.

When Your Insurance Coverage Follows the Driver

If you live in an at-fault state, then the liability coverage of the driver who caused the accident will likely pay for property damage and any medical expenses of the non-fault parties injured in the accident. This is true, even if someone you know was driving your car with your consent when the accident happened. For a clear explanation of when an insurance policy does and does not follow the driver, consider the following two scenarios:

Scenario number one: your friend borrows your car, and causes an accident. If your friend has liability insurance, their insurance company will pay for medical expenses and property damage to the other driver and their passengers. You will not be held liable for the other vehicle, it’s driver, that vehicle’s occupants, or damages to the vehicle. But you will have to file a claim with your insurance company to get your vehicle repaired. And it will likely count against your insurance score, eventually raising your rates.

Scenario number two: your friend borrows your car, and another driver runs a red light and T-bones him or her in an intersection. Since the accident was obviously the other driver’s fault, they will be held liable for damage and injuries to your car, your friend, and anyone else who was in the car at the time. You may still have to file a comprehensive or collision coverage claim, but the other driver’s insurance company will eventually pay to have your vehicle repaired. But no matter who’s found at fault or which insurance company pays for the damages, in the end, any claims you file will likely count against you and eventually raise your rates. You can see an example of this in the chart below.

Average Premiums Before & After A Non-Fault AccidentLegend: No Accidents On Record Not-At-Fault Accident Premiums AlabamaCaliforniaNevadaLouisianaGeorgia 20406080100120140160180200$127$150$164$194$112$132$164$194$183$216

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When Your Insurance Follows the Car

Most of the time, when it comes to collisions, your car insurance policy follows the car — not the driver. No matter who is driving your vehicle, any physical damage which happens to your vehicle as the result of a collision, theft, or an act of nature will be covered by your comprehensive or collision coverage.

As we stated earlier, the exception to this rule occurs when someone borrows your car and gets into an accident caused by the other driver. Liability coverage almost always gets paid out by the insurance company of the at-fault driver. If your car is severely damaged and needs to be repaired right away so that your life can get back to normal, you may have to file a claim with your insurance company first to get the ball rolling. But your insurance company will eventually recoup their losses for the at-fault driver’s insurance, even if they have to go to court and sue them for it.

Another scenario in which your insurance follows the car is if someone steals your vehicle and then gets into an accident with it. Regardless of who’s fault the accident is, your comprehensive coverage, which covers theft, will generally pay for damages to your vehicle.

Premiums Before & After Filing a Comprehensive/Collision ClaimLegend: No Claims Premiums Post-Claim Premiums AlabamaCaliforniaNevadaLouisianaGeorgia 20406080100120140160180200220$127$160$164$207$112$141$164$207$183$231

In theory, however, you could be held liable if you are somehow found negligent in protecting your car from theft. In such cases, your liability coverage may pay for any damages or injuries resulting from your car thief accident.

In extremely rare cases, your insurance company may deny your claim based on this negligence and make you 100 percent financially responsible for damages. Putting an anti-theft device in your vehicle, locking it every time you get out of the car, storing it in a secured structure, or any combination of the above will help protect you from such a scenario.

A Quick Word About PIP

PIP coverage is a form of medical insurance that pays out if someone is hurt it a no-fault accident. Regardless of fault, this coverage will pay for the medical expenses of the named driver and their immediate family. For example, if your teenage son gets into an accident, regardless of fault, PIP coverage will pay for any medical expenses if he is injured in that accident. But if it’s just a friend, non-related passengers in your vehicle, or anyone in the other vehicle involved, pip coverage will not honor the claim.

Non-Owner Car Insurance

If you or someone you know is constantly borrowing other people’s vehicles in order to get around, then non-owner car insurance may be an affordable way to protect yourself from liability in the event that you get into an accident while driving someone else’s car. But since it only covers liability, The car insurance policy of the vehicle’s owner will pay for damages when it comes to comprehensive and collision coverage claims.

If you’re the generous type who lend your vehicle out to needy friends or family, that it might be worthwhile to make sure you have a very comprehensive auto insurance policy. Without one, you could be stuck with expensive vehicle repair costs, financial liability in the event of a serious accident, or all of the above if your insurance company denies your claim. Unfortunately, the more comprehensive your policy, the more expensive your monthly premiums will be.

If you need more car insurance coverage than you currently have, your best bet is to shop around and compare quotes. And you can do that today with our FREE comparison tool.


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