Are you in a situation where a friend or someone else crashed your car -- or wondering about how your insurance company would handle such a situation? Take a look at these different categories of third-party accidents, and how insurance may apply.
Just Between Friends
So maybe you have a friend who has insurance and already drives a vehicle, but he or she just needs yours to make a short run. What's the downside of handing your friend the keys?
The good side of this equation is that your friend would have insurance. That means that he or she would most likely be on the hook for part of the cost if an accident occurs. But it doesn't mean that you can't be held liable in some ways, and you may find yourself sharing some of the cost or liability, or seeing your insurance rates rise afterward. So it's generally not a great idea to just let people borrow your car, unless they are specifically listed on your own auto insurance policy as additional drivers.
Your "Wild and Crazy" Friend
Then there's a situation where an uninsured driver crashes your car. The big consideration here is whether or not you give that driver permission.
If somebody borrowed your car without your knowledge, you're much less likely to be liable. But if you handed the keys over to an uninsured driver, you're going to bear all of the related costs if your liability insurance or other policy doesn't cover them. This can land you in a lot of hot water, and even endanger assets such as your home or other vehicles. This resource from Insure.com goes into more detail about the "uninsured friend" situation and how that might play out.
Car Theft and Third Party Accidents
But what if a thief steals your car?
Courts and insurance companies cannot generally hold drivers responsible if their cars are stolen and then used in an accident. This becomes part of the criminal case. You may see some problems with your insurance rates, or loss of insurance coverage, (and that in itself seems unfair), but nobody's generally going to come knocking on your door to cover vehicle damage and personal injury costs, unless there is some kind of issue where you didn't have your car secured in a reasonable way. The biggest thing you often have to look out for in car theft is impound fees. Police will generally collect your car and hand it over to an impound lot. At some point, you'll be notified. But unless they contact you the same day, your vehicle is racking up impound lot fees which can quickly top several hundred dollars.
Although these cases are not often litigated, they happen all the time. It's important to keep on top of any situation where your car is stolen, so that you'll be notified quickly if it is found.
Think about all of the above, in relation to the liability you might have from third party accidents, depending on your car insurance policy and the car or other vehicle that you drive. Contact Winder Insurance Center for more information.