I got in a crash in my friend's car. What do I do?

Here's what you should do if you get in a crash when you're driving someone else's car.

I got in a crash in my friend's car. What do I do?

It finally happened. You got called for jury duty. Groan. You borrowed your best friend’s car to get to the courthouse, but on the way there some guy banged a Boston left at a light and clipped the front of your friend’s car. Oh noooooooo. What are you supposed to do now?

Call 911 if anyone is injured or there’s more than minor damage to the vehicles. Take photos of the vehicles if you can, then move them (and yourself!) off the roadway if possible.

What To Do If You Get in an Accident

Accidents happen, especially in the Boston metro area. Embarrassing fact! Boston was ranked the 198th safest driving city in the United States in 2019, with the average driver having an auto insurance claim every 4.9 years, compared to the national average of a claim every 10.57 years. Our IQ’s may be above average in Boston, but our driving skills are definitely not.

So, what do you do if you get in an accident?

Photo of a damaged car after an accident
Credit: Clark Van Der Beken via Unsplash

Right away:

  • Stay at the scene. You don’t want a hit and run charge added to your police report (and missed jury duty. Because that would really be a bad day).
  • Call 911 immediately if anyone is hurt. This will dispatch both the ambulance and police to the scene.
  • If no one is hurt but there is minor damage to the vehicle(s), call the police through their local number or 911.
  • If it’s safe to do so, photograph the vehicles. The photos help the insurance companies decide who is “at fault” (caused the accident).
  • If the vehicles are drivable, get them off the road ASAP.
  • Get yourself off the road while you’re at it.
  • Exchange license plate, driver’s license, and insurance information with the other driver
  • If necessary, call a tow truck.
Photo of a car disassembled at a mechanic's repair shop
Credit: Tory Bishop via Unsplash


  • You might want to call your friend to break the bad news to them. Groan.
  • Have your friend call the insurance carrier to report the accident. The insurance carrier information (telephone number and policy number) is usually on the vehicle registration and insurance documents, normally kept in the glove compartment.
  • File a police report if they weren’t at the scene.
  • The insurance company will talk with your friend to make sure they gave you permission to drive their car.
  • Give your statement to the insurance company describing what happened. You might want to write out your statement beforehand, because it will be recorded. This information is used to decide who is “at fault.”
  • You should arrange for your friend’s vehicle to be inspected by an adjuster or body shop provided by the insurance company. The adjuster will estimate the dollar amount of damage to the vehicles and decide which driver is at fault. The same process will take place for the other vehicle.
  • You can bring your friend’s vehicle to a body shop approved by the insurer to have the damage repaired (if it’s fixable). You might be able to take the vehicle to an out of network body shop instead and ask the insurer to pay you the dollar amount of damage determined by the adjuster.
  • You should pay any deductible amount on the property damage liability before the insurance coverage kicks in if you were at fault.
  • Depending on the dollar amount of damage and who is at fault, you may have points put on your license. Noooooooo. Unfortunately, yes.

It’s a lot to remember, especially if you’re a responsible driver and have never or rarely been in an accident. And you’re gonna have to reschedule that jury duty too. Groan. If anyone was injured in the accident, you’ll have a parallel process for resolving the medical claims. While your friend’s insurance should cover you, there may be some situations when it won’t.

Do the Right Thing and Take Care of Yourself

It would be great if jury duty and banging a Boston left were both illegal (well, one out of two isn’t bad). That’s never going to happen, though, so you’ll still have to show up for jury duty and make sure you’re prepared to drive there safely. We at Surround are on a mission to help you be covered for the way that you move, work and live. Imagine having the coverage you need every time you borrow a car, whether that’s from your friend or Zipcar, without worrying what will happen if you are in an accident.

With Surround Insurance, that can be a reality. Surround’s  monthly subscription includes non-owned auto insurance, with property damage liability, bodily injury liability, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. The latter would cover you in the case that the other driver is found at fault and they had no/not enough liability coverage. The Starter Pack also includes renter’s and professional liability insurance so that you feel secure and protected for the way you live your life.

We can’t catch everyone who bangs a left, but we can help you feel secure and protected for the way you live your life. Even on the roads of Boston.

This is general information based on questions our customers ask us. It may not be right for your specific situation. You should get some advice from a licensed insurance agent (like us!) before you make a decision on your own insurance.