Sleeping With Money: Baby, You Can Drive My Car, But Let’s Talk Insurance
It’s summer, and here come the road trips. On a recent excursion down the Pacific coast with Zac and some friends, I started thinking about a Sleeping With Money lesson that never happened. What if I got into an accident while driving a car belonging to the guy I was dating?
In my single days, most guys didn’t have a problem with letting me drive their car. If there was a long road trip, or they were incapable of driving at the moment, then I would help out with the driving. There was also this strange guy who gave me free reign of his truck while he was out of town, even though I had only known him for a week. In these instances ranging from everyday occasions of driving someone’s car to carefree car lending, there was never any mention of insurance.
To keep your relationship happy and healthy, here are a few things you should know about driving your mate’s car. By knowing what’s at stake each time you lend or borrow a car in a relationship, and coming to agreement of the consequences, hopefully you’ll avoid a huge fight down the road. No pun intended.
Insurance Follows the Car, Usually
According to CarInsurance.com, “In general, auto insurance coverage actually follows the vehicle, not the driver.” Therefore, “If your car is involved in an accident, the car typically receives the full coverage provided by the auto insurance policy, regardless of who is driving. Some factors could affect the coverage:
- Did you give permission?
- Does the policy have an exclusion for that driver?
- Are there other policy exclusions that exist on the policy that would disallow coverage?”
As the driver of the borrowed car, you may want your policy to kick in first if there’s an accident, but that’s not going to happen in most cases. Be prepared for possibly making your sweetheart’s rates go up.
There are several instances though in which the driver’s insurance will kick in or become primary in an accident. FreeAdvice.com explains you should “beware of driving someone’s car if he or she has little or no insurance as your policy could be triggered once their limits are exhausted.”
This is why couples should talk about respective insurance policies. You don’t want to wait until you’re in an accident to find out you’re driving an uninsured car. The owner of the car will face penalties, and you’re putting your own policy and/or assets at risk as the driver.
To see other cases in which the driver’s insurance becomes primary, check out CarInsurance.com’s related question section. The best source of info, however, is checking with your own insurance company to see whose insurance coverage is triggered and when.
Non-Car Owners and Insurance Coverage
Typically non-car owners like me don’t think about auto insurance except at the counter of a rental car agency. I’ve always been curious about the issues involved with driving someone else’s car without my own car insurance. Here’s what I found out.
CarInsurance.com explains, “You do not need insurance coverage [if] you do not own a vehicle unless you are in a situation where the courts (or state) require you to carry financial responsibility coverage, but you don’t own a vehicle.
“If you drive someone else’s vehicle, their insurance will cover you as long as you have permission, unless a specific exclusion applies.” But if you’re living with someone, the owner of the car, ” should contact their insurance company to determine if you are covered.”
You may you want to consider the potential financial impact of frequently borrowing your partner’s car. FreeAdvice.com cautions owners (and borrowers indirectly) that, “your insurance company bases your premium not only on your car, but on the ‘primary’ driver of that car — you. If someone else starts driving your car more than you do, contact your carrier and have them added to your policy. If your insurer finds out that you are no longer the primary driver, they may claim that you provided false information on your application and deny your claims.”
Now if you’re often borrowing a car because you don’t have your own, a nonowners policy sounds like a good option. CarInsurance.com explains that “Nonowner policies typically include liability, medical payments, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverages.” Furthermore, “[If], for example, [an] accident was your fault and the damage to the other driver’s property exceeded the liability limits on your friend’s policy, your nonowners insurance policy would cover the excess (up to policy limits).”
In short, car owner and car borrower should each protect his or her self, and there are plenty of ways to accomplish exactly that. Ask your insurance provider if your partner is covered under your policy, and to what extent. Be clear about the consequences, come to agreement, and there will be one less thing to worry about for your car and your relationship.