What Happens if I Crash and it’s Not My Car?
Motor-vehicles are often essential for many people that need them to commute to work, run errands, pick people up, etc. which can lead to situations where a vehicle may be lent to someone else that has need of it. This is not at all unusual and most reading this can think of at least one instance in which either they drove a vehicle that did not belong to them or they allowed someone else to drive their vehicle. Most of the time there is nothing wrong with this and the driving of the vehicle encounters no issues but there are occasions where someone driving a vehicle that does not belong to them gets involved in a car accident. This can add a layer of confusion to an already stressful event since questions of liability and compensation can become much more complex.
Misconceptions Surrounding Car Lending and Accident Insurance
Say you have a car that you have lent to a family member. They drive the car one day and are involved in an accident. How does the insurance work since it was not you driving the vehicle? Contrary to popular belief, most car insurance policies do not center around the person taking out the policy but rather the vehicle the policy is meant to cover. Most car insurance policies will cover family members n your household that drive the vehicle in question. The insurance company will often try to everyone in your immediate family able to drive your vehicle listed in the policy. If they aren’t then that’s fine. Most policies will cover those you give permission to drive your vehicle in the event they are involved in n accident while driving your car.
Permissive Use and Car Accidents
Car insurance companies are more than aware of how people commonly lend their vehicles to others. This is why they have a term known as permissive use that may be part of your car insurance policy which means that those you overtly or tacitly allow to use your vehicle are covered by your insurance despite the fact they may not be a family member in the event they get in an accident while driving your car. At the end of the day, it all depends on the specific language of your car insurance policy. Everybody is not going to have the same policy which means some will not have permissive use while others will require you to have those you allow to drive the car named in your policy otherwise they won’t provide coverage. So make sure to double-check what your situation is when it comes to your insurance coverage.
Fault and Accident’s Where the Driver is Not the Vehicle’s Owner
Florida is what is known as a no-fault state which means that in the event that someone is involved in a car accident, they are expected to go through their own insurance coverage rather than seek coverage from the person at-fault for the accident. Florida drivers are expected to at-least have personal injury protection coverage when driving their vehicles.
If your friend borrows your car and gets involved in an accident that was someone else’s fault then they would actually go through your insurance first if your policy includes permissive use because of no-fault and insurance coverage prioritizes the vehicle first and driver second. If they suffered severe injuries that your coverage and their personal coverage cannot handle then they would seek coverage from the at-fault party. If the accident was their fault then you will also have your coverage used not only for your friend, whose own coverage would only kick in once yours is exhausted but also for those injured by your friend in the accident once their insurance coverage is exhausted.
Exceptions to Car Accident Insurance Coverage When the Owner isn’t Driving
Just because you have insurance coverage that would typically handle the damages caused by an accident your friend was involved in while driving your vehicle, there may be some exceptions that can either change the amount of coverage or eliminate it altogether. These exceptions can include:
- Cases, where you have explicitly, excluded a certain person in your household from your insurance policy’s coverage and that person is involved in an accident.
- Your car is stolen and is involved in an accident. You won’t be held liable for any damages your vehicle may have caused but your insurance may cover damages to your vehicle.
- A friend or family member not of your household uses your vehicle without first obtaining permission. Your insurance will likely only provide coverage once the driver exceeded their own coverage.
- If the person in question that used your vehicle doesn’t have car insurance, your insurer would be liable.
Injured in a Car Accident? Contact a Clearwater Car Accident Lawyer at Dolman Law Group
Suffering an injury at the hands of a neglectful driver can rack up medical expenses, lost wages, and many other costs that deserve compensation. Consider Dolman Law Group as your legal representation in your pursuit of compensation with a car accident claim. Our lawyers have the experience needed to ensure that your case receives the best chance of success so that you can focus on recovery and getting your life back to normal.
If you were involved in a car accident, our lawyers at Dolman Law Group will investigate your case, and may help you obtain the compensation you need for damage done to your person and property. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Dolman Law Group attorney, please contact us at (727) 451-6900, contact us online, or visit us at one of our three office locations in Florida. We look forward to hearing from you and will vigorously advocate on your behalf for the compensation you deserve.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765