Movies may portray it but America’s need for speed, and lots of it, is a fact. In 2020 alone, there are 286.9 million cars registered in the Land of the Brave. With the population currently at over 328.2 million, that’s almost one car per capita. A little math tells you many families have more than one car to make the most of. Such availability of cars should translate to faster arrivals. But on one end of the spectrum, it also speaks of greater responsibility.
Why Simply because all that speed means a car can wreak havoc on an innocent street bystander like a young child would crush a box of matchsticks with one pound of his first. To note, super-fast cars today such as the Bloodhound Supersonic Car (SSC) are already designed to hit 1000 MPH, faster than a speeding bullet. Imagine how much damage it can inflict if the machine goes berserk on the road.
So we surely can understand your worry when you lend your car and it gets into an accident. You’ll most likely want to be updated on the progress of the event minute by minute.
Fortunately for you, there are certain protocols that are observed when accidents befall motorists on the road. So long as your car is duly registered with insurance, you may not worry sick about the incident. To help ease your fears, we’re giving you key takeaways on what to expect when your car driven by someone else meets an untimely accident.
Does My Car Insurance Apply?
Top of the list that will give you jitters is how much responsibility you’ll have to take for such an incident. Are you responsible? By allowing your friend to drive your car, does it make you culpable if meet an accident?
And how about your friend? Are you responsible for his injuries because of that accident?
Well, here’s the thing. Many times, people have a misconception when a close friend or a relative drives their car. They conclude that the insurance applies only to the owner of the car. But the truth is: The insurance is applicable not to the owner but to the vehicle. So even when someone else is driving your car, your insurance plan is still applicable should an accident happen.
But as you know with any insurance, there are distinctions that have to be made. It may not be much of a big deal if no one is injured and it’s but a minor accident. But the situation can get ugly pretty fast if it’s a major accident and serious injuries are incurred.
That also tells you insurance matters while behind the wheel. It’s why if you’re on the road but driving without mandatory insurance coverage, you may be asked to get SR- 2 car insurance by traffic cops should you be flagged and ticketed. This allows you to meet your state’s minimum insurance requirements.
The Devil is in the Details
The bone of contention here lies in who is at fault when the accident happened. That’s why you see traffic cops take pictures and draw diagrams of the scene to get to the bottom of things.
You should breathe a sigh of relief if your driver friend who’s driving is not at fault. It will be the insurance of the at-fault driver that will cover costs and damages.
But if your friend is at fault, it’s another story altogether. If there was no injury of the parties involved, your insurance should be able to cover the property damages. That’s assuming your insurance has collision coverage. If not, you’ll have to pay for the damages to your vehicle and the insurance deductible.
If the said accident has caused bodily harm (and your friend is at fault), your insurance answers for the medical bills after needed personal injury protection or PIP coverage is applied. However, if the injuries incurred are serious and your insurance can’t cover all the costs, then your friend’s insurance will have to be factored in.
But this is where it gets tricky. If your friend does not have any insurance at all, and your insurance fails can’t cover in full, then you could be held responsible. That means you will have to cover the rest of the injury expense out of your own pocket.
It’s therefore wise to discern first hand if your friend has an insurance policy before you lend your car. Letting them drive without knowing these details can be financially damaging on your part.
It Pays to Know
Now, it’s a different story altogether if a thief stole your car and drove it to smithereens. Your insurance will still cover damages to your car but you will not be held liable for any injuries no matter who’s at fault.
Now, if a friend of yours steals your car and meets an accident while driving it, you will have to prove that you didn’t actually give permission to your friend to not be responsible.
A good way to be free of the worries of a tight situation is to not let any of your friends or family borrow your car. But sometimes, especially in emergency cases, you might have to do just that.
In which case, you should know that taking time to talk to your insurance agent about the details of your policy is wise. It can spell tons of greater convenience on your part.