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Who pays when you borrow a car and crash?

If you borrow a loved one's vehicle, you may think that their insurance will cover you and anything that you do wrong. You're probably right. Car insurance does not follow the driver in the United States. Instead, it follows the vehicle.

That means that a vehicle is insured, sometimes regardless of the driver. The owner's car insurance is the primary coverage for the accident, while the driver's car insurance may work as backup, or secondary, insurance if it's needed.

There are times when a person lending out a vehicle may not be liable for damages caused by the driver. One is if the driver is excluded on the policy specifically. Another is if the car was taken without the owner's permission and then got into a crash. Reasons for excluding a driver from a policy include a history of bad driving or driving under the influence, for example.

If someone takes your vehicle without permission and gets into a crash, the likelihood is that you won't be held liable. However, if you know they're borrowing your vehicle and are intoxicated or doing something illegal, you could end up liable civilly and criminally. That's not a position anyone wants to be in.

Simply put, if you are involved in a crash with someone who has borrowed a vehicle, don't think you're out of luck. In fact, there should be two insurance policies to fall back on in best-case scenarios, which is great for any victims who are involved in a crash and get hurt. Your attorney can help you understand where you stand in this case.

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