Who’s Liable if You Loan Your Car to Someone …
… and They Have an Accident
Car insurance can be tricky, especially when you start talking about accident liability when the car isn’t in your possession. So what happens if you loan your car to a friend and they get into an accident? Does your insurance pay or does their insurance pay? Will you be liable for any damages they incur if they hit another car or someone else’s property? Fears Nachawati, a San Antonio auto accident law firm, has handled many liability cases in which insurance providers fought who should be held liable in such instances. Here’s what to expect if this happens to you.
When You Can Be Liable
Does car insurance follow the driver or the vehicle? That’s a common question we get, and one that is often misunderstood. In fact, your car insurance policy follows the vehicle, not the driver. That means if you lend your car to someone else to drive and they get into an accident with another car, it will be your insurance that has to provide primary coverage.
What does that mean for you? Well, you will have to file the claim with your insurance company, and you will also have to pay the deductible. It also means you will have to accept any possible rate hikes that happen because of the accident.
Now, if the accident causes so much damage that it exceeds your insurance policy’s limits, then the insurance company that your friend has will actually have to provide secondary coverage.
Of course, if your car is stolen or someone is driving it that did not have your permission, you will not be liable for damages to any other vehicles or property. Damages to your own car will be covered by your insurance policy, though. One thing to remember is that it might be difficult to prove that a person did not have permission to drive your car.
Understand Your Insurance Coverage
Take a close look at your insurance policy to understand what is and is not covered for your vehicle, including other drivers. You might even consider talking to your agent and ask him several different scenarios to figure out the terms of your coverage. If you do not have collision coverage, that most likely means that if the other drive was at fault, and your car was damaged, you will have to pay for the repairs yourself.
Contact a San Antonio Auto Accident Law Firm
If you find yourself in this situation, contact a San Antonio auto accident law firm, like Fears Nachawati at (210) 858-5383, for a consultation.