A common question we get asks is, “What happens when someone else driving my car gets into an accident?” Depending on the circumstances, your Massachusetts auto insurance policy may or may not cover the damages. Here’s what you need to know before allowing someone else to drive your car.
Anyone within your household (living at the same address) must be listed as an operator on your auto insurance policy. Otherwise, they will not be covered in the case of an accident. If other household members have their own insurance, then it won’t cost you anything extra. However, you must still list them on your policy.
For others, outside of your household, your insurance policy will cover accidents. Insurance covers both your car and you as a driver. Policy limits do apply, so if an accident exceeds your limits, then the driver’s own insurance will kick in. This assumes that the driver has their own insurance and that their limits are higher than your own. Massachusetts requires all cars to maintain minimal coverage, but not all drivers. If someone doesn’t own a car, they are more than likely uninsured.
A Word of Caution
Although your insurance may cover damages in an accident, there are a few very important things to consider.
- Others involved in the accident can sue your insurance company and you, as the owner of the vehicle.
- If your policy limits are reached, you and/or the driver could be held personally liable for the difference.
- If you have multiple claims involving the same driver, your insurance company may refuse to extend future coverage.
- Your insurance premiums can increase in the future, depending on the circumstances of the accident.
- You can be personally liable for knowingly allowing someone to drive your vehicle if they are unlicensed, impaired, or are otherwise unqualified to drive.
Remember, When Someone Else Driving My Car Gets Into an Accident …
… you can still be liable to some extent because you allowed them to drive it or because you are the owner of the car. Therefore, think carefully before you let anyone drive your vehicle. And remember, every driver living at your address should be listed on your policy. Otherwise, you could be denied some or all coverage in an accident, which is a huge risk.