If you allow someone else to drive your car and they get into an accident, you will need to know whose insurance will cover the damage. So, does car insurance cover other drivers or not? This answer can be a bit complicated because a few different factors determine who and what your insurance will cover.
The state of Georgia requires all car owners to obtain insurance that meets the law’s standards, though different plans will still cover varying levels of accidents. Below, one of our experienced Atlanta car accident lawyers at The Angell Law Firm will discuss all of the nuts and bolts surrounding whether or not insurance covers other drivers.
Does Car Insurance Cover Other Drivers?
Before answering this question, you must understand the different types of policy coverages.
Georgia state law requires that your auto insurance plan is adequate to keep you and other drivers on the road safe. All Atlanta drivers must have liability coverage that takes care of another person’s property damage or medical bills. Liability coverage may be the only legal requirement, though it does not cover your own body or car.
The following policies can help you if someone else drives your car:
- Collision coverage: Collision insurance pays for your personal vehicle damage, though you must meet a deductible. Typical car repairs cost a pretty penny; luckily, this policy can save you from plenty of financial pain.
- Underinsured motorist coverage: This insurance protects you when an uninsured driver hits your car so that you do not need to pay for damages.
- Medical bills coverage: If you or your driver causes an accident and gets hurt, this coverage can help pay your medical bills.
- Gap coverage: If you total your car and its value rings up lower than the amount you still owe, gap policies can cover the cash difference. This coverage is essential when you lease or receive a loan on a car.
- Comprehensive insurance coverage: Comprehensive policies include all of the above and more, making it the top recommendation for all drivers.
Now that you know the different aspects of what car insurance covers depending on the policy, let’s answer the key question: Does car insurance cover other drivers? In general, yes.
When a family member or friend drives your car, your car insurance company will still be on the hook for almost anything. Liability coverage will pay for the other driver’s damage. Assuming you have collision coverage, you can also repair your personal vehicle.
Keep in mind that some policies might only cover specified family members and exclude drivers who you do not include.
Is It the Car That Is Insured or the Driver?
Car insurance is named “car” insurance, not “driver” insurance, for a reason. Many assume that auto insurance only insures the policyholder, though this is not true.
Your insurance company is responsible for anything that happens behind the wheel of your car. The only exception here is if you are not the at-fault driver. The insurance company of the person who caused the accident is usually responsible for some, if not most, of the damages.
Determining fault is not simple. In Georgia, accident fault is not a fixed fact; it’s more like a fraction. In many cases, each driver will assume a portion of fault.
For example, if someone merges into your lane and hits your car, you still might be 30% responsible for the accident if you were speeding or distracted.
If someone else drives your car, your insurance will cover what happens, though if the accident is not their fault, the other driver’s insurance must at least partially cover the damage.
Does Auto Insurance Follow the Car or Driver?
Insurance follows the car, not the driver, though exceptions may arise when you file a claim.
- Policy limitations: If someone else drives your car and has an accident, your insurance will pay for any at-fault damages, though if these damages exceed your policy limits, the driver’s insurance may also need to chip in. In this scenario, your friend’s insurance company becomes responsible for the driver, not the car, to pay the spill-over amount.
- Reimbursement: Sometimes, your insurance might try to contact the driver’s coverage company to receive a refund.
- Permission: If you did not grant permission to the person who drove your car, you might be able to avoid any payment or damage. The person who used your car will likely become responsible for the damages they caused, though if they do not have insurance, you still may need to file your own claim.
What Happens if Someone Drives My Car Without Insurance?
Most people who don’t have cars also do not have car insurance. If an uninsured driver uses your car and has an accident, they will need to pay any amount that your insurance will not cover.
If someone steals your car without insurance, you still need to file a claim with your own insurance company. Your claim adjuster will go through the process of determining what the driver owes.
Angell Law Firm: Find a Car Accident Lawyer to Represent Your Case Today
Typically, insurance companies do everything in their power to pay as little as possible, which can place you in financial trouble if you do not fully understand the legalities surrounding your claim.
If another driver has an accident in your vehicle, you should contact a car accident lawyer to represent your case. A professional attorney will advise you on how to proceed with your insurance claim so that you do not pay more than you need to.
Insurance claims are already complicated enough, though when you add in additional drivers, they become even more complex. Answering the question “Does car insurance cover other drivers?” includes many moving parts that can land you in trouble if you don’t know what your particular policy covers.
At The Angell Law Firm, we want to help you avoid the unfair costs and headaches that arise when someone else damages your car. Call one of our experienced car accident lawyers in Atlanta today at (770) 217-4954 for a free consultation to discuss your case.
Bryce is considered a highly esteemed trial lawyer and a passionate client advocate amongst his peers in the Atlanta legal community. Never afraid to go the extra mile for his clients, Bryce Angell works tirelessly to ensure that each client’s personal injury case gets the attention that it deserves.