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Whose policy covers you when you borrow someone’s car?

By SmartCoverage Team on November 15th, 2017

In life, there are many occasions that could lead you behind the wheel of someone else’s car. Your car may be in the shop, or you are the designated driver after a night out, or maybe you are on a road trip and switching off driving duties with your buddies.

No matter the reason, it is important that you understand the rules of insurance when you are driving a car that is not your own. While it may not be at the front of your mind, knowing whose insurance covers who is important, especially if you find yourself in an at fault accident.

The insurance follows the car

The general rule of thumb is that the insurance is attached to the car. If you borrow someone’s car, their insurance is the one at stake in the event that you get into an at fault accident. The insurance policy is registered to a specific car, and therefor follows the car and not the driver.

As the car owner

When you lend your car to someone, keep in mind that you are also lending them your insurance and the driving record that you have established with that car. If you are a driver who strives to maintain a good driving record, then giving someone else the keys to your car runs the risk of putting a blot on your record.

It is important that you know the driving habits and history of whom it is you lend you car to, and trust them not to tarnish your record. If they get into an accident with your car, even though you were not the one driving, it is your record that will be impacted and your insurance premiums that will rise.

As the borrower

If you are borrowing someone’s car, before you get into the driver’s seat, ensure that they have up to date insurance. If you find yourself involved in an accident and the car does not have valid insurance, you could be on the hook for the cost of all involved parties damages, and any other costs involved. And, in some cases, even if the car you borrow does have insurance, you could be on the hook if the cost of damages exceeds that which the insurance covers.

Adding a secondary driver

If you borrow someone’s car frequently, then it may be worth your while to look into adding yourself as a secondary driver. The cost is relatively low to add a secondary driver, especially if they are over the age of 25 with no prior infractions. By adding your name to a policy you gain the peace of mind that you have proper coverage while driving someone else’s car. If this is an option you wish to explore, speak to your insurance broker and see what they have to offer.

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