There are many scenarios when having someone else take the wheel of your car can be a real game-changer—or the other way around. There’s a good chance that at some point, you’ll need to borrow someone’s vehicle, or they’ll have to borrow yours. Here are some common concerns and questions you might have before handing over or borrowing the keys, including one of the most important: does insurance follow the car or the driver?
Will my car insurance cover other drivers who use my vehicle in Texas?
According to Texas car insurance regulations, most auto insurance policies will cover you, your family, and anyone else listed on your insurance policy. This means that for many policies, including liability insurance policies, the answer to if the insurance follows the car or the driver is that the insurance typically (but not always) follows the car.
My friend crashed my car. Are they covered by my insurance?
There are many times when someone not included in the liability insurance policy could drive your car, like a sober friend offering to drive you and your car home after a late night. Are they covered by your car insurance provider? Here are a few of those scenarios.
Case 1: The driver didn’t get permission from you to drive your car
Imagine this: your friend borrows your car without asking, and there's an accident. Their liability insurance policy might come to the rescue, but it's not all fine and dandy. Their insurance costs could spike, and because they didn’t get permission from you to drive your car, they won’t be covered by your policy.
Case 2: The driver got permission from you to drive your car one time
Another friend did the right thing and got the green light from you to drive your car while theirs is in the shop. In this case, if there’s an accident, your insurance follows the car, and not the driver. But your insurance bill is likely to shoot up because of your accident history, even if you weren’t driving the car.
Note to self: You know the friend who’s always on their phone, blasting music louder than your eardrums can handle, and drives 20 over the speed limit? Maybe don’t let that friend drive your car.
Case 3: The driver got permission and they regularly drive your car
This situation is a little different. Let’s say your neighbor borrows your car every weekend to do their grocery shopping. Unfortunately, if they get in an accident, your policy probably won’t come to the rescue, because they regularly drive your car. The insurance company wants everyone who drives a car regularly to be listed on the policy so they can charge the right rate.
If you’re not sure whether someone is using your car occasionally or regularly, your best bet is to ask your insurance agent or insurance company. They can help you sort out what to do before you hand the keys over.
Does my insurance cover me when I’m driving someone else’s car?
What are the policies for rental car insurance in Texas?
Let's chat about rental cars. Most auto insurance policies in Texas have your back when you or a fellow policy holder are driving rental cars.
Rental agencies offer two kinds of coverage: damage waivers and liability policies. The damage waiver isn't an insurance policy. It's more like a promise from the rental pros that they won't charge you for scratches and bumps on the rented ride.
While the damage waiver might be a reasonable buy, especially if you don’t have comprehensive and collision damage on your own insurance policy, most renters don’t need to buy their liability policy. Your own auto insurance policy kicks into gear when you're driving a rental for personal use. But it is important to note that if you’re driving a rental for work, your policy probably won’t cover accidents in the car. Check your company’s policies if you have questions. If you’re confused about what specific policies you might need when driving a rental car, read another one of our articles on rental car policies.
What are the insurance regulations on borrowed cars in Texas?
Imagine you're driving a friend's car, and you get into an accident. Their insurance will step in to handle the expenses. However, if your friend doesn't have insurance or the funds to cover the costs, your insurance provider comes to the rescue. See another one of our articles for more detailed information on the specific circumstances of borrowing a friend’s car.
Now, if you're not a car owner but find yourself borrowing vehicles often, here's one way to protect against any possible damage: a non-owner liability policy. This policy covers the damage and injuries you might cause to others while driving borrowed cars. Just remember, this non-owner liability policy won't take care of any injuries to you or the car you’re borrowing.
Speaking of borrowed cars, if you borrow one from a repair shop and something goes awry, your liability insurance takes charge. It handles any damage to the car and even helps pay for injuries and damage to others if you're at fault in an accident. It's a good idea to check your liability limits to ensure they're sufficient to cover potential damage.
Does car insurance follow the car or the driver? A new answer to the oldest question in the book
In Texas, the liability insurance policy you have will generally follow the car rather than the driver. This means that if you lend your car to someone, your insurance provider usually covers the car and any mishaps that might happen, regardless of who's driving. This is sometimes different, such as in the case of rental cars.
But generally, it's more about the wheels than the person behind the wheel. Just make sure to chat with your insurance provider to get all the nitty-gritty details before you hit the road!