What If?

What if my son, or friend, gets into an accident while driving my car?
What if I get into an accident while driving someone else's car?

Getting into an automobile accident can be pretty traumatizing for anyone, especially when it's someone other than yourself driving your vehicle. Not only is the emotional damage present, but an automobile accident can become quite costly as well. Hopefully the vehicle involved in the collision is equipped with the proper automobile insurance, however, a lot of times, this is not the case. While this is unfortunate for the driver, it also presents a problem for the vehicle owner as well because in this case, the owner is liable for the accident, not the driver. Whether the person driving your vehicle has the best insurance in the world or not, their insurance will not cover the accident caused by your vehicle.

Although laws vary from state to state, in most cases, comprehensive and collision coverage protects your vehicle regardless of who's driving it. In the event that the person driving your vehicle is not excluded from your policy, then your insurance coverage would primarily be liable for all damages. So if your son happens to cause an accident in your car then you will need to file a claim with your insurance company and pay the deductible. The downside is that your insurance premium could increase because of this. If the person who borrowed your car has his or her own insurance, then that person could very well be liable for any personal or medical expenses. If your insurance policy reaches its limit, then the driver who borrowed your vehicle may have their own insurance plan come into effect as a secondary coverage.

However, laws differ in no-fault states. For instance, if the person who borrowed your car is involved in an accident caused by another driver, then you have the ability to file a claim with the other driver's insurance without paying the deductible. If you live in a no-fault state, regardless of whose fault it is, you will still have to a file a claim with your own insurer. You could however, be liable for all damages if the person driving your vehicle has absolutely no insurance. In fact, if the accident cost exceeds your policy limit, then you risk the chance of being sued by the other parties involved.

Your automobile insurance policy comes with an "omnibus clause." This clause states that as long as you give consent to any driver, family member living with you, or children away at school, they can be covered under your insurance policy. In some states, however, these drivers will have a limited coverage while driving your vehicle. On the other hand, if your vehicle is taken without your knowledge or consent and is involved in an accident, you will not be held accountable for the damages of the other vehicle, but you will most likely be responsible for the damages to your own. In some states, the person who borrowed your car without permission can be held liable for the damage, but if that person does not have any insurance, then you'll have to use your own car insurance to cover all damages. Unless you can evidently prove that your car was taken without permission, you will most likely be responsible for everything.

In all states but Michigan, New York, Virginia, and Wisconsin, you're allowed to exclude specific drivers from your car insurance policy. This means anyone who poses a risk to your policy, for example, someone with multiple accidents, DUIs or a new teenage driver. By excluding these drivers, you may save big on your premium. However, excluding these drivers could also cost you some money if that driver happens to take your vehicle and is involved in an accident. It is in your best interest that you consider all family members in your household to be sure that you receive the maximum amount of insurance coverage.

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