Friends, Family, & Fender Benders: Who Is Covered by My Insurance Policy?
The holidays are best spent with family and friends. But let’s say you send someone out for an emergency gallon of milk and they get in a fender bender while driving your car. What happens? Here’s what you need to know about who is, and isn’t, covered under your car insurance policy.
1) Learn more about your current level of coverage. Find out what level of insurance coverage you currently have and assess what you may need. When you initially selected your policy, maybe you were just looking for the minimum legal requirement to get the cheapest car insurance available. However, your priorities may have changed since then. Talk to your insurance agent to see if your auto policy still meets your needs.
2) What about a teen driver? Per mile traveled, teenage drivers are more likely to be involved in a crash than all but the oldest adult drivers, reports the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. You should check your liability limits to be sure you are comfortable with the amount of coverage you have. If you don’t already have it, you might want to consider adding Collision coverage, which you might be able to purchase at a fairly low cost. Collision coverage would help pay to repair or replace your car if your inexperienced driver crashes into a car or other object (like a mailbox, guardrail or tree).
Depending on where you live, your state may not require a driver with a learner’s permit to be individually covered. According to DMV.org, some car insurance companies will extend the parents’ policy to include the permitted teen. When your teen is ready for their learner’s permit, call your insurance company and ask about their policy for a household driver with a learner’s permit. You never know unless you ask!
3) What if a friend or visiting relative is driving my car? Now, what if a driver not on your policy has an accident while driving your car? Assuming that your friend is not specifically excluded on your auto policy and no other exclusions apply, when a friend borrows your car he or she would be covered under your auto insurance policy for most coverages. If your friend has his own auto insurance policy, that may also cover damages if they exceed your limits of liability. Your friend’s policy would also be the primary policy for coverages such as personal injury protection (PIP).
Even if you have comprehensive and collision, you’ll still have to pay your deductible amount before your insurance company will begin to pay for damages to your vehicle after a car accident. Typical deductibles range between $100 and $1,500. If your friend wrecks your car, you might want them to help out with this cost!
Speaking of a deductible, interpreting exactly what makes cheap car insurance cheap can be difficult to determine. How you choose to set your deductible on coverages like comprehensive, collision, or personal injury protection could impact your car insurance rate. Typically, the higher your deductible, the lower the premium will be for that coverage. If you have enough savings to cover the unlikely event of a mishap, you could consider keeping your deductible high for that lower premium.
If you know that a friend or family member will be borrowing your car when they visit, your best option is to call your insurance provider and ask about the kind of coverage your policy provides when you permit another person to drive your car.
Be sure to stay warm, spend time with your loved ones, and keep out of risk’s way this holiday season. As always, safety first – second, all the holiday goodies!
And as always, you should check around different providers’ options and find which one will offer you the best deal on car insurance accompanied by the best personal service. The process may take a little extra effort, but will pay off if anything should happen to your vehicle.