The old saying, "Never a borrower or lender be," applies to lending or borrowing a vehicle. What may seem like an innocent thing to do, such as lending a car to a friend, may expose you to excessive liability when something goes wrong, and they have a car accident while driving your vehicle. The reverse is also true, you may borrow another person’s car, and then when you get in an accident have all kinds of unexpected problems, when you are without adequate auto insurance coverage.
Here are some important considerations, when borrowing or lending a vehicle, recommended by Strack Insurance Services:
- Check Auto Insurance Coverage – Auto insurance policies are very specific about what they cover and what they do not. It is important to read the policy language carefully in regards to what happens when another person is the driver instead of the primary insured person(s) named in the policy.
- There is Difference Between an Occasional Driver and a Driver that Must Be on the Auto Policy – Most, but not all, auto insurance policies cover the use of a vehicle by an occasional driver. The definition of "occasional," differs for each insurance company and may be subject to interpretation. Any use of a vehicle on a regular basis, even if infrequent, is not an occasional driver. Typically, this issue comes up, regarding parents letting their teenagers "borrow" the car. Teenagers who use the family car need to be on the auto policy as designated drivers. This causes auto premiums to go up, but you need this coverage if you let any teenager drive your car.
- My Friend Wrecked My Car, Can I Be Sued? – The answer is yes. Because Texas is an "at-fault" state regarding auto accidents, the owner of a vehicle may become a party in any lawsuit when the vehicle is involved in an accident caused by the driver of the vehicle, no matter who that person is.
If you have trouble understanding your auto insurance policy regarding these issues, ask your insurance agent at Strack Insurance Services to explain the details.