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Yikes – I let someone borrow my car, am I covered?

May 20, 2015

We’ve all been there…A friend or relative asks to borrow your car, and naturally your first reaction is to just toss them the keys, with maybe a passing thought on whether they will be considerate enough to put gas in the tank. You’re a good person, why wouldn’t you let them use your car, they’d do the same for you, right? And then it dawns on you, what happens if they get into an accident, are you still covered?

The good news is that the coverage follows the car and not the driver. As long as you give permission to the person borrowing the car, they will be covered under your policy. The bad news is, it will show up on your policy as a claim.  Some carriers – not all – will raise premiums when a claim occurs.  More often than not that raise in premium is triggered by the loss of the “loss free discount”.

A few other important points to keep in mind are:

Don’t loan out your car to anyone who doesn’t have a license or who has a suspended license. Your policy may deny iStock_000003313784XSmallcoverage in an accident if you knowingly allowed them access to your vehicle and you could be sued or face criminal charges or BOTH.

If someone is going to be a regular driver of your vehicle, like a nanny or roommate, you should contact your insurance company to see if they need to be added to your policy.

Make sure the person you are loaning your vehicle to is responsible, and the vehicle is not being used for illegal or dangerous reasons. If you know someone is a bad driver, think twice or even three times before letting them get behind the wheel.

It’s not just your motor vehicle that you should be careful when lending out, but also any recreational vehicles like boats, snowmobiles, and jet skis.

Loaning your car out is inevitable, especially if you own a fun convertible that everyone is always drooling over, or the always functional 8 person SUV that’s perfect for transporting home the new Big Screen TV. We tend to form an emotional bond with our vehicles even giving them names. So the next time Cousin Jimmy asks to borrow “Bernard” (your beloved, rough and rugged Jeep Wrangler), make sure his license is valid and his reason is legitimate. The only thing left to figure out is, how to get him to put gas in your tank…and maybe a trip through the car wash!

Still have questions regarding your auto policy?  That’s what we are here for – give us a call!  860-482-3506

Laurie Fisher

Personal Lines Account Manager

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