What happens if you get in a car accident and you are driving someone else’s car? Whose insurance do you put the accident through, the driver or the vehicle? It might seem logical that the insurance follows the driver- but in fact the opposite is true.
The general rule of thumb is that insurance follows the vehicle. This would mean that as long as you had “a reasonable belief that you were entitled to drive the car”, the insurance policy on that auto would be the primary insurance. But a person must have permission to drive another person’s vehicle. If you do not have permission then essentially, you would be stealing the vehicle. In that case the insurance policy of the car would not be responsible for damages and the driver’s insurance policy would be the primary insurance.
Of course, in most cases a friend or family member who has borrowed your car would have been given implicit consent, so pressing charges of theft can be an awkward situation. Even though it may not seem right to be held responsible for an accident you may not have had any part of (except to lend the car) the owner of the vehicle is the one who’s responsible. Personal auto insurance policy of the driver would come into play if the driver had permission to drive the car and only after the vehicle’s policy limits were exhausted.
As a way to safeguard yourself from such liability, it is always a good idea to have uninsured motorist coverage on your vehicle. Uninsured motorist coverage provides coverage for your car if you are in an accident with another car that doesn’t have insurance.
The Law Offices of John T. Carroll is happy addresses any questions you may have relating to personal injury or auto accidents in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Southern New England. If you or a loved one has suffered personal injuries from a New England auto accident, and are unsure about how to proceed, seek the legal advice of Attorney Carroll.