Published May 20, 2021|4 min read
Policygenius content follows strict guidelines for editorial accuracy and integrity. Learn about oureditorial standards
and how we make money.
Car insurance generally follows the car, not the driver, so in most cases, anyone behind the wheel of your car would be covered by your insurance if they get into an accident. Plan to add any licensed drivers who live in your household to your policy. Any other drivers who borrow your car occasionally would be covered (even if you’re not in the car with them) as long as you gave them explicit permission to drive your vehicle.
Ready to shop car insurance?
If someone else gets into an accident driving your car, your car insurance would be the primary insurance to cover the damage. But if the person driving your car also has their own car insurance policy, their insurance could be tapped as the secondary insurance if more coverage is needed. If the person borrowing your car gets into an accident caused by another driver, the at-fault driver’s insurance would be responsible for paying for the damage.
If you let someone borrow your car, your car insurance will cover them if they get into an accident
Any other drivers who live in your household should be listed on your policy, but friends who borrow your car occasionally don’t need to be added
If someone borrowing your car gets into an accident caused by another drive, the at-fault party’s insurance would be responsible for paying for any damage to your car
Car insurance covers you, any other drivers named in your policy, and anyone to whom you’ve given permission to operate your vehicle. If you lend your car to a buddy and they get into an accident, your car insurance will generally cover them just like it would cover you if you were the one driving.
This is called permissive use, meaning your car insurance extends to other drivers as long as you gave them permission to drive your car. There are plenty of situations in which someone borrowing your car would be covered by your car insurance, including:
A friend visiting from out of town
A relative using your car for an errand
Your adult child borrowing your car occasionally
Most of the coverages in your policy will translate directly to whoever was driving your car. Your liability coverage will cover the damage they cause in an accident, and your collision coverage will cover damage to your own car if they crash it.
Some coverages, however, follow the person, not the car. Medical payments, or “med pay,” typically follows the person, so if the friend who borrowed your car has their own car insurance policy, their med pay would cover their injuries, although yours could extend to cover them if they don’t have car insurance.
It’s important to keep in mind that not all car insurance policies will cover other drivers. Some policies only extend coverage to drivers named in your policy while others may only provide coverage on a limited basis. To find out whether other drivers would be covered by your policy, you should reach out to your insurer directly.
Ready to shop car insurance?
If someone driving your car gets in an accident caused by another driver, then the at-fault driver’s insurance would be responsible for paying for the damage, just like if you were driving and were hit by another driver. Your insurance may also kick-in to cover the damage if the at-fault driver’s coverage limits are not high enough to sufficiently cover the costs.
Car insurance generally follows the car, not the driver, so if someone else gets into an accident with your car, you would file a claim with your insurance, not theirs. When you lend out your car, remember that you’re also lending out your car insurance policy with it. But there are some cases where car insurance follows the driver, and the person borrowing your car might need to rely on their own car insurance, assuming they have their own policy.
If someone with their own car insurance policy borrows your car, their insurance can act as secondary insurance in case damage from an accident exceeds your coverage limits.
Say your friend gets into an accident that causes $60,000 of property damage. If your property damage liability limit is $50,000, then your friend’s insurance company should cover the extra $10,000 that exceeded your coverage limits.
Similarly, the medical payments portion of your car insurance will generally follow you, even if you’re a pedestrian and you’re hit by a vehicle. So if the person driving your car has their own insurance and they get into an accident in your vehicle, their med pay coverage could help pay for any injuries.
Yes, as long as the person who’s lending out their car has a valid car insurance policy, any licensed driver should be able to drive their car and be covered by their car insurance policy. Almost every policy extends coverage to drivers who borrow cars occasionally, whether or not they have their own car insurance policy.
If you borrow a friend’s car and cause an accident while you’re driving it, their liability coverage will cover any injury or property damage you’re responsible for, just like if they were the one driving.
If you’re loaning out your car for money through a car sharing service or app, your car insurance will most likely not extend to cover the driver renting your vehicle. Many policies exclude some of all of your coverage while you’re renting it out for money.
But if you decide to use a peer-to-peer car sharing service like Turo or Getaround, the company will provide coverage when your car is being lent out. Make sure to check with your insurer before you start renting out your car for money, however, since some insurers may raise your rates or even refuse to renew your policy if you participate in a car sharing service.
Yes, you don’t need insurance to borrow a friend’s car, but you can drive your friend’s car if you have car insurance. If you’re in an accident in their car, their insurance would be the primary insurance covering the damage. But if the damage after an accident exceeds your friend’s insurance coverage limits, your insurance may need to step in to cover the remaining costs.
If your child has a learner’s permit, they’ll typically be covered by your car insurance without you having to officially add them to your policy, but you should check with your provider to confirm. If your teen has a license and will be driving your car, however, then they need to be listed on your policy.
Typically, the person who owns a vehicle and the person who insures a vehicle have to be the same. Some car insurance companies may refuse to write a policy for someone who isn’t the owner of the car they’re insuring. Similarly, it’s difficult to be added to someone’s car insurance policy if you don’t live in their household.
If you’re someone who often rents or borrows cars, non-owner insurance is a limited type of policy, typically just liability coverage, that can offer extra protection for drivers who are often behind the wheel of cars they don’t own. If you don’t need a traditional car insurance policy because you’re in between cars but you’re still driving frequently, a non-owners car insurance policy can help you avoid a gap in coverage so your rates don’t increase when you go to apply for a new policy.
How to tell if you should buy your own car insurance.