Insurance: Do You Need Insurance to Drive Someone Else’s Car?


If you’ve needed to borrow a friend’s vehicle, you’ve probably wondered if their insurance policy covers you. Depending on your state and the terms of the policy, you could be covered under the car owner’s insurance policy if they have comprehensive insurance. But if you find yourself borrowing a car frequently, you might want to acquire your own policy so you can drive others’ vehicles with confidence. Learn what type of insurance you need if you find yourself frequently borrowing someone else’s car.

Does Insurance Follow the Car or the Driver?

Most full coverage auto insurance policies are written to follow the vehicle instead of the driver, so if you’re borrowing someone else’s fully insured car, you’ll likely be covered under their insurance. However, what is covered under their policy will vary depending on what type of insurance they have.

If you have insurance on a vehicle of your own and borrow someone else’s vehicle, some elements of your insurance might extend to the borrowed vehicle—check your policy.

What About Liability Coverage?

If you have car insurance and drive someone else’s vehicle, it’s common for liability insurance to pay for claims that occur in vehicles you don’t own up to the policy limits. If you have standard insurance, then your liability insurance will usually protect you to a certain extent if you get into an accident in an uninsured borrowed car, or if the driver of the other vehicle attempts to sue you.

If you’re not personally insured and borrow a vehicle that has liability coverage, you might be covered under their policy if you’re temporarily driving the vehicle with permission.

What About Physical Damage to the Borrowed Car?

If you’re an insured driver borrowing someone else’s car, damage to the car will potentially be covered by insurance if the vehicle qualifies as a temporary substitute for your car. Depending on your policy, you and the car likely need to meet, at a minimum, the following definition and requirements of a temporary substitute auto to be covered by your collision and comprehensive insurance.

A “Temporary substitute auto” means an auto that is a substitute for a covered auto while that covered auto is not in use due to breakdown, servicing, repair, loss, or destruction. Substitute autos are:

  1. Rented by you or an insured driver under a written contract from a business engaged in renting motor vehicles;
  2. Used with the express permission of the owner of that auto and within the scope of that permission
  3. Not owned by you, a family member, or any insured driver.

An auto ceases to be a “temporary substitute auto” when the first of the below happens:

  1. The covered auto it was replacing is repaired, restored to service, or replaced;
  2. The auto being rented is returned
  3. 30 days pass.

If you’re uninsured and borrowing an insured vehicle, then the vehicle owner’s insurance should cover property damages you incur while driving, but it depends on the language of the policy and the limits selected.

What Iif You’re Borrowing or Renting Someone’s Car?

If you find yourself frequently borrowing or renting a vehicleyou might want to consider purchasing non-owner car insurance—insurance meant for drivers who don’t own a vehicle but still drive occasionally. Non-owner car insurance typically includes liability coverage, uninsured motorist protectionand personal injury protection, but excludes collision and comprehensive coverage.

Insurance: Do You Need Insurance to Drive Someone Else’s Car?

What If You’re Lending Someone Else Your Car?

If you have comprehensive and collision coverage, then your insurance will typically follow your vehicle and extend coverage to whoever is driving your car with permission. Remember that a policy in your name means you’ll be liable for the deductible and any additional fees the driver sustains in an accident.

Things to Consider When Lending Someone Else Your Car

If you’re lending your car to someone regularly, you should notify your insurance carrier to see if any restrictions apply to your coverage. Your insurance company will want the name and driving history of whoever’s borrowing your car. If the borrower has a poor driving recordthere is a chance your premium could increase, or your insurer could deny them coverage.

If you’re looking for quality insurance coverage of your own, join the millions of drivers that are happily insured with The General. Get a free car insurance quote in under two minutes or read more about car insurance 101 on our blog.

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