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What’s the real deal if you drive another car, insurance wise?

There are times when you’ll inevitably have to drive a car that’s not your own. Whether it’s a car that’s covered under your insurance policy, or that of somebody else, you might be wondering if it’s really a good idea to drive that car. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) more than 115 people are killed in vehicle accidents each day! What is even more interesting is a high percentage of the vehicle accidents are contributed by the fact the driver was not familiar with the vehicle or they were borrowing the car!

In order to give you a better understanding and peace of mind when it comes to how your insurance affects whether or not you can drive vehicles that aren’t your own, we’ve decided to tackle this issue.

giving the keys to borrow a carWe’ve all been in the situation where a friend asks us to take his or her car out to pick up food. The same can be said for when an elderly individual, be it a grandparent, parent, or other family member asks us to take their car out to pick up their medicine or groceries. In either case, what should you do? Clearly, you don’t want to say no, but will your insurance keep you covered if you do take the car out and get into an accident?

Let’s take a look:

Can I drive any car that’s listed under my insurance?

Most of us have more than one car covered by our insurance policy. Whether the car is primarily driven by a spouse or a teenage child, it has to have insurance coverage in order to be on the road.

Because the car is listed under your policy, you do have the right to drive it – even if you didn’t list yourself as the primary driver of the vehicle. That means that, if your car is in the shop, or you just want a change in pace, you can get behind the wheel of any car that’s listed on your policy.

It is important to note that you should not, under any circumstances drive any vehicle that is not covered by insurance of any kind. Doing so could lead to heavy fines, increased insurance premiums, or worse. If one of your cars is not covered by insurance, keep it off the road until you get it added to your policy.

Can I drive any car not covered by my insurance policy, but rather somebody else’s?

There is some debate regarding whether or not you’re able to drive a car that’s not covered under your policy, but is covered under somebody else’s. If you do feel that you may need to, at some point in time, drive another person’s insured vehicle, it is probably worth it to call your insurance company or the Insurance Commissioner for your State. Because policies vary from provider to provider, they’ll be able to give you the most accurate answer regarding how you will be covered. According to Progressive it depends on how much you use the vehicle and what for.

Aside from calling your own insurance provider, there are a few factors that could impact how your insurance will cover you should you get into an accident in a vehicle not listed on your own policy. These factors include:

  • How old are you?

  • How often do you drive the vehicle?

  • Why were you driving the vehicle?

  • Did you have permission to drive the vehicle?

  • Does your insurance or their insurance require additional coverage?

How old are you?

Just as with renting a vehicle, most insurance companies require you to be at least 25 years old to be covered whenvehicles driving a vehicle that is not your own. If you’re under 25, even with the permission of the car owner, you risk the possibility that insurance may not cover you or the car should you get into an accident.

How often do you drive the vehicle?

The frequency with which you drive the vehicle could very well impact whether or not you are covered by your insurance. If you only drive your friend or family member’s car once per month or less, then you should be covered under your insurance. If you drive the car more often than that, then you it would be best for you to talk to that individual about being listed on their policy as a driver of that vehicle.

Why were you driving the vehicle?

Believe it or not, the reason why you are driving the vehicle could impact your coverage. If you are simply running a personal errand to help out your friend or family member, then you have nothing to worry about, and should be covered. On the other hand, you would be required to get a commercial policy to guarantee coverage if you are driving their vehicle to conduct business (even if you are dropping off an order en route to running a personal errand).

Did you have permission to drive the vehicle?

Simply stated – if you did not have permission to drive the vehicle, then your insurance company and local law enforcement will likely believe that you stole the car. That means that you definitely won’t be covered by your insurance, and you could face severe consequences as well.

Does your insurance or their insurance require you to pay for additional coverage?

There are some insurance providers that require policy holders to pay an additional fee to allow someone else to drive their vehicle. At the same time, some providers may require you to pay a fee to ensure that you are covered should you drive someone else’s vehicle. For that reason, it is also best to contact your insurance provider before driving a car that is not yours.

Greg Fowler
I love to network, travel, and spend time with my children. When I am not doing that I am working on AutoInsureSavings or other websites. If I am working, the best way to reach me is via my Google+ Profile.

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