When You Lend Someone Your Car, You’re Also Lending Them Your Insurance | O'Keeffe O'Brien Lyson Attorneys

When You Lend Someone Your Car, You’re Also Lending Them Your Insurance

In most states, including North Dakota, car insurance follows the car and not the driver, so when you give someone permission to drive your car, you’re also lending them your car insurance.

Primary Coverage vs. Secondary Coverage

When you lend a friend your car, your insurance will generally cover them as a permissive user unless:key-791390_1920

  • They are specifically excluded coverage under your policy
  • You do not have collision or liability coverage

Your insurance provides primary coverage, while your friend’s car insurance offers secondary coverage, meaning it will step in if your policy limits are exhausted. The circumstances surrounding the accident will determine coverage:

  • If you gave someone permission to use your car and they got into an accident, they will typically be covered by your automobile insurance.
  • If a friend or relative borrowed your car without your permission, their insurance would provide primary coverage, making your car insurance secondary. However, you will likely have to provide some type of proof that the person did not have permission to drive your car.
  • If a friend causes an accident while driving your car, you will have to file a claim with your insurer, and either you or your friend (or both) will have to pay the deductible to get your car fixed.
  • If your friend gets into an accident with your car but wasn’t at fault, you will have to file a claim for damages with the at-fault party’s insurance carrier.
  • If your car was stolen, you will not be liable for the damages caused to other vehicles and property in the case of an accident, although you may have to file a claim with your insurance provider to cover the damages sustained by your vehicle.

Named Driver Exclusions

While a few states don’t allow driver exclusions, North Dakota law permits the exclusion of specific drivers from a policy, and also allows the company to issue a policy with minimum limits of coverage for a specified driver while maintaining higher limits for all other drivers. A company is not required to exclude a driver, but may do so according to its underwriting program.

If you have questions about car insurance and accident coverage, contact a personal injury lawyer at O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Attorneys online, or call 701-235-8000 or 877-235-8002 (toll-free) today.

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