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Does My Car Insurance Cover Me While Driving Someone Else's Car?

Car Insurance CoverageIf you’ve ever found yourself taking the wheel of somebody else’s car, one question in particular might have crossed your mind: If anything happens to me or this car before I get where I’m going, will my auto insurance cover me?

The answer to that is simply this: It depends on the terms of your auto insurance policy.

Your Coverage When Driving Someone Else’s Car

Although auto insurance policies can differ in numerous ways, all do offer some form of liability insurance, and with the exception of New Hampshire, each state insists that you carry it. When you find yourself behind the wheel of someone else’s car, this is the portion of your auto insurance that normally should protect you.  Unfortunately, “should” and “will” are two different animals. Your insurance policy’s exclusions will spell this out in greater detail.

For example, although your coverage will likely include the use of a replacement vehicle for as long as your own is under repair, it may decline to do so under any other circumstances. Should your use of that car become long-term, coverage may no longer apply.

Some policies are even more specific. For instance, your liability insurance might cover your use of a neighbor’s four-door sedan but not your use of his truck. Then, there are always those policies that refuse to cover you when behind the wheel of any car other than your own.

When Somebody Else Wants to Use Your Car

If you’re a Las Vegas resident, you are sure to have noticed the attraction of your home to out-of-town visitors. Some of these people will arrive by train or plane, and once they start missing their own car, yours will start to look increasingly appealing.

Don’t be too quick to hand over the keys. Before you let your visitor or anyone else climb behind the wheel, you might want to check your policy. Will it cover any damage that your vehicle might suffer when somebody else is driving it?

The answer to that is probably yes, but only if your comprehensive and collision are up to the task.

The Limits of Comprehensive and Collision

Whereas liability insurance is said to follow the driver, comprehensive and collision normally follow the car. Nevertheless, while this section of your policy should cover any damage to your vehicle, it may do so only when the name of the person driving it is spelled out in the policy. The fine print will tell you whether the driver’s identity at the time of any potential mishap will or will not make a difference.  In addition, if a friend who’s been borrowing your car should decide to move in with you for an extended period, your insurance company will probably refuse to continue coverage until you’ve added his name to your policy.  Again, it is vital to read the small type. If your comprehensive and collision should ever fail to apply, your liability might.

When a Family Member Comes to Call

Your auto insurance policy may provide limited coverage to a visiting family member, even if he or she is not specifically listed on the policy. Again, all policies are different. Some will insist that if you want this person covered at all, you’ll have to add his name to the policy.

Substandard Policies

The quality of your coverage will normally rise or fall in accordance with how much you paid for it. The cheapest policies will often pose far stricter limits, refusing to cover certain claims and, in most cases, agreeing to protect only those drivers whose names appear on the policy. While some substandard insurance does provide limited liability coverage to permissioned drivers, it will often be inadequate and come with far higher deductibles.

How Do I Know What I’ve Got?

To know for sure the quality of your coverage, you can either read the policy, fine print and all, or speak to your insurance agent. This is particularly important if you expect to be spending any time driving other people’s cars or lending your own to others.

Above all, don’t be caught short. Your auto insurance exists for a reason. If you should find your coverage inadequate for your needs, it will be to your advantage to increase it.

If you have a question about the specifics of your car insurance policy, call our insurance agents at 702-534-4697 or fill out our contact form. We’ll be happy to help!