What Happens If Someone Else Is Driving My Car And Gets In An Accident?

Updated October, 2020
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Insurance normally follows the car, not the person. If someone else is driving your vehicle and gets into an accident, they'll be covered by your insurance in most cases. Make sure they know to file a police report right away after an accident occurs, as well as photograph the scene, damages, and any injuries sustained.

Am I liable if someone else gets in an accident while driving my car?

In most cases, the insurance follows the car, not the person. If someone else is driving your vehicle and gets into an accident, the at-fault driver's insurance is responsible.

If the at-fault driver is the other driver, their insurance covers damages, including any medical bills for the person driving your car. If the person driving your car is the cause of the accident, your insurance covers the damages.

Coverage may differ depending on your insurer and policy. If you're uncertain of anything, contact your insurance agent.

When does insurance cover an accident by someone else in my car?

Since your car insurance follows the vehicle, damages are typically covered no matter who's driving. However, there are some clear cut cases where the other driver is automatically covered.

Your spouse or another person on your policy

Spouses and family members usually are listed on the insurance policy with you. If they are, they receive the exact same coverage you do if they were to get into an accident.

A permissive driver

By giving someone (like a friend) permission to use your vehicle, they become a permissive driver. They receive the same coverage you do from your insurance. However, if they cause an accident, becoming an at-fault driver, your insurance only covers damages they cause up to your policy limits.

If the damages your permissive driver causes is more than your policy limits, the permissive driver is then responsible for paying the difference. If they have their own insurance, the extra damages are covered. If they don't have insurance, they may be on the hook financially to pay the remaining amount.

When does insurance not cover?

Below we cover some exceptions to the "insurance follows your car" rule.

Non-permissive use

If someone borrows your vehicle without permission, they're liable for any damages caused while driving your car. However, you need to be able to prove that they borrowed the car without your permission.

An excluded driver

An excluded driver is someone that you've intentionally listed as a driver you wish to exclude from your policy. This is usually done in the case of an inexperienced or high-risk driver (like your teen), to avoid an increase in your premiums.

If this is the case, your insurance won't cover them in any capacity, and they'll be responsible for paying any damages themselves— even if you gave them permission first.

Other exceptions

There are a few other instances in which your insurance is likely to refuse coverage when someone else is driving. This includes letting an impaired person drive your car or someone who doesn't have a license.

Steps you need to take after someone else wrecks your car

Accidents happen. If someone else wrecks your vehicle, don't waste time taking the proper steps to protect yourself and get your vehicle fixed.

  1. Contact a lawyer who specializes in accidents. Insurance companies do everything they can to pay as little as possible towards damages and medical expenses. An experienced attorney is able to fight for you (and the person who was driving your vehicle), ensuring all damages are covered and the person driving your car receives the medical care they need.
  1. Review your policy. Knowing the ins and outs of your policy coverage allows you to understand your rights towards any claims better. Your accident attorney can help with this too.
  1. Collect proof of the accident. After an accident occurs, the driver needs to file a police report immediately and collect all evidence of the accident that they can. This includes taking photographs of the scene, taking photos of the damage to both vehicles, photos of any injuries involved, and collecting statements from witnesses.

When the time arises, is my insurance going to be enough?

When it comes to car insurance, there are several factors to consider beyond monthly cost. A policy that covers you when you need it, has a low deductible, and offers several discounts can be hard to find - which is why we've done the work for you.

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