If you have other drivers in your household or occasionally lend your car to others, it’s important to understand who is covered by your auto insurance policy and some of the considerations that come into play when someone else might be driving your car.
Most insurers expect the following people to be insured on your policy if they don’t have their own coverage:
• Licensed family members living in your household
• Unrelated licensed drivers living in your household
• Anyone who drives your vehicle regularly and who is not insured under another policy
Other people who might drive your vehicle usually fall into two categories:
• Drivers who have your permission to drive your vehicle
• Drivers who don’t have your permission to drive your vehicle
Your insurance may apply differently depending on which of the above situations apply. In most regards, the insurance follows the car. It’s usually fine for someone to borrow your car for a quick run to the store, assuming they are a licensed driver and that they don’t borrow your car regularly. As the owner of the vehicle, before you hand over the keys, you should also feel certain that the vehicle won’t be driven recklessly or operated under the influence.
Insurers usually want to see all licensed drivers in the household on an auto policy, whether it’s your policy or their own. The assumption is that the other licensed driver will likely drive your car at some point and the insurer wants to rate the risk accurately in your premium — unless the other driver is insured elsewhere.
Other drivers who borrow your car with your approval are also borrowing your insurance. If they are involved in an accident, the claim affects your policy and could affect your premiums going forward.
In the event of a driver who does not have your permission, like in the case of a stolen vehicle, you probably aren’t liable for damage caused to other vehicles, property, or persons — but you may have to use your insurance to repair damage to your own vehicle. In cases outside of theft, most insurers will usually assume that you’ve granted permission unless it’s clear that you’ve denied permission.
Are all the licensed drivers in your household covered? Reach out to your broker if you have questions or need to add someone to your policy to ensure proper coverage.