Does a permissive driver have obligations in auto accidents?

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2021 | Car Accidents |

When you’re a good neighbor or nice friend, you let others occasionally borrow your car. To the insurance, you are a permissive driver. Besides that, Washington’s insurance policies may give you some added obligations in auto accidents.

When you drive the car, the insurance covers you

If you rear-end another driver, your car insurance policy has provisions to pay for the damage you caused. It depends on the coverage options you selected how the policy pays out.

When someone else drives your car, your insurance is on the hook

It’s a common misconception that the other person’s insurance company follows them to the driver’s seat of your car. This isn’t the case. If you lend your car to a friend, and if this friend ends up in an accident, your insurance coverage has to foot the bill. To clarify, insurance follows the car and not the driver.

Know your insurance policy’s definition of “permissive driver”

When dealing with your insurance in auto accidents, the policy’s definition supersedes your personal understanding. For example, did you know that most policies limit you when it comes to lending a car to someone?

For example, your policy might limit you to 12 times or fewer per 365-day period. If you let your friend drive the car more often, the insurer wants you to add them to the policy. Of course, this costs more money.

Another wrinkle is the coverage reduction

Washington is one of the states that might reduce coverage for occasional drivers. While this might not be a big deal in a minor fender-bender, it becomes a significant financial headache in a major crash. In fact, it might actually mean that the other motorist comes after you and your property to make them whole. If you’re in this type of situation, meeting with a lawyer could be in your best interest.