Can Someone Else Drive My Car?

Ever Lend Your Car to a Friend?

Man having a car mishap

There are times in life when we need to let someone borrow our car, but we hesitate allowing them to use it because we don’t know if we can, or if we should. We wonder:

  • Can my babysitter use my car to drive my kids to the swimming pool?
  • Can my brother-in- law or other family member borrow my car for the weekend?
  • Can I borrow a car from a friend?
  • Will my friend’s insurance cover any damages I cause while driving their vehicle?
  • Do irregular drivers need to be added to my policy?

At the heart of it, we want to know, “If we give them permission and they get into an accident, is it covered by my insurance? Is it legal for someone to drive my car who is not on my insurance policy?”

"Generally, it's not a problem if they're driving with your consent," says Jeanne Salvatore, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and consumer spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute. "If it's an occasional use, say I borrow your car to go pick up milk, and as long as permission has been verbally granted, you'll typically be covered."

But, borrowing a car under other circumstances may not be as clear-cut. It depends on your insurer and your particular policy. For example, coverage rules and regulations may be different if the driver lives in your household and could, or should, be listed as a named insured on your policy, but is not; or, if the driver is listed on your policy as excluded. Those more complicated situations would need to be discussed with your agent and claim representative.

Typically, even if the person driving your car has his or her own insurance, your insurance will be the primary payer for damages caused by your vehicle; but, the person driving your car has to be found legally at fault before your insurance will pay. The driver's insurance may cover some personal injury or medical expenses. It may also supplement your insurance coverage, if the cost of damages caused by your vehicle is higher than the amount your policy can pay.

"When you have someone you employ, such as a nanny or a nurse, who will be a regular, additional driver in your household, contact your insurance agent about your policy," Salvatore recommends. "He or she may need to be added to it."

Because the policy terms and state laws can vary widely, always contact your insurance agent before loaning out your car, or other motor vehicle, such as: a motorcycle, boat, personal watercraft, snowmobile, ATV, or RV.

"Anytime you have a question about your policy, call your insurance agent first," says Salvatore. "You always want to let the insurance company know the circumstances. Get their advice."

As with anything else, use good judgment and common sense. Make sure you are fully aware of the liability you may be opening yourself, and your auto policy, up to before handing over your keys. "Don't be cavalier about lending your car," adds Salvatore. "If you know someone isn't a good driver, think twice about giving your permission. Any crash they're in could go on your insurance record.”

disclosure

State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates) is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites hyperlinked from this page. State Farm has no discretion to alter, update, or control the content on the hyperlinked, third party site. Access to third party sites is at the user's own risk, is being provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any of the products which may be referenced on such third party sites.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.