Whether it’s your cousin borrowing your vehicle while he’s in town for the week, your babysitter picking the kids up from school, or your roommate going out to grab last minute snacks before a party, almost all of us let someone else drive our car at some point or another. Chances are you probably didn’t give much thought to what would happen if the person who you lent your car out to had an accident. So what happens when you let your friend drive your car and you get a phone call from them saying they’ve been in an accident?
Missouri Insurance Laws
All drivers in Missouri are required to automotive liability insurance. The minimums of this insurance are as follows:
- $25,000/person for bodily injury;
- $50,000/accident for bodily injury; and
- $10,000/accident for property.
As a general rule, however, it is typically your own insurance policy that will be used as the primary coverage even if you weren’t the driver. The person you gave permission to drive your vehicle, the permissive driver, however, may need to use their insurance as secondary coverage if the damages were greater than the coverage offered by your coverage.
Insurance Coverage Follows the Vehicle or Driver?
Many drivers incorrectly assume that insurance follows a driver around. It is, in fact, usually the car that is being followed by the insurance. This means the most important information you need to know when lending out your vehicle is what exactly your car insurance covers. Because there are so many different types of policies out there, what is covered after an accident will depend entirely on your individual insurance policy. There are insurance policies that are only valid for the policy owner.
Comprehensive and collision insurance coverage, although it is more expensive, will usually cover any damages to the vehicle and cover any other drivers using the vehicle. However, other drivers using the vehicle must usually be listed on the insurance policy. For many plans, it is assumed family members, dependents, and people residing with the policy owner are covered.
Before lending out your vehicle, however, it is crucial you understand the specifics of your own policy. In addition, you should know whether or not the person you lend your vehicle out to has their own insurance. If someone who doesn’t have insurance borrows your car, you will be liable for all the damages if there is an accident.
Permissive vs. Nonpermissive Drivers
Any driver you give permission to use your vehicle would be considered a permissive driver. For these drivers, unless you have specifically excluded them from your policy, you would need to use your own insurance if an accident occurred.
If someone uses your car without your permission, however, they would be considered a nonpermissive driver and you would likely not be held responsible for damages. Unless your car is stolen, however, it can be difficult to prove the vehicle was taken without permission.
Contact An Attorney
If your car was in an accident with another driver, you may have a lot of questions regarding the damages. For help with these important liability questions, call Krause & Kinsman Law Firm. Our determined car accident attorneys have years of experience handling all types of car accident cases in Kansas City, Missouri. We will do our best to make sure you walk away with the best settlement possible.