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I’m borrowing my friend’s car – am I covered?

Most people have a vague idea of what it and isn’t covered by their insurance policy, but what about those issues that come up and make a gray area of coverage? Fortunately, your agents at O’Connor Insurance are prepared to answer these questions. During the summer months, we get a lot of questions about borrowing or loaning a car.

Now that warmer weather is here, you might be looking to borrow your neighbor’s truck for a home-improvement project or a trip to the local landfill, but what happens if you have an accident or damage the bed of the truck?

Generally, insurance coverage follows the vehicle rather than the driver. So in most instances, as long as the owner of the car has insurance, it’s covered even if someone other than the owner is driving it – as long as they have the owner’s permission. Make sure you have the owner’s explicit permission to use the vehicle, and give them specific details about where you will be travelling. This can go a long way in protecting both of you later on.

The borrower’s insurance is considered secondary, meaning that in the event of an accident, it could apply if the owner’s insurance is insufficient to fully cover the damage.

It’s important to note that there are some exceptions to what is called permissive use coverage. For example, permission must be given by the owner, unless the borrower has a reasonable belief that they are allowed to use the car (a spouse or child, for example). However, the borrower cannot give permission to someone else. So if your teenager allows one of his or her friends to drive your car to the zoo, your coverage likely won’t apply.

Coverage might also be denied if the borrower operates the vehicle in a negligent or criminal manner, or if the borrower is using your car for business purposes. This is why it becomes so important to fully trust those that borrow your vehicle.

If you have a regular long-term arrangement to either borrow or lend a car, the borrower should probably be added to the owner’s personal auto policy. Those who don’t own a car, but often borrow one, might also consider “named non-owner coverage,” an endorsement that provides bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motorists coverage and more.

Ultimately, it’s usually safe to loan your friend your car for occasional errands or projects. And the same goes for borrowing a car. Just make sure it’s for normal use. You’ll want to confirm that the car has coverage and that your insurance, whether you’re the owner or borrower, will apply.

Feel free to give us a call at 314.434.0038 if you have any questions after all, you don’t want to wait until after an accident to get answers!

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