When you let a friend drive your car, a car accident can be a nightmare scenario. If your friend gets into an accident in your car, your liability insurance might not cover the damages. Comprehensive and collision insurance, however, are tied to the car and not the driver. If you let friends drive your car, you can save your friendship and your wallet by ensuring you have comprehensive and collision insurance.
Liability Insurance Basics
Liability insurance protects you from legal and financial liability for someone else's injuries. This means that it covers the other driver in a car accident, not you or your friend. For example, if you rear-end another driver and she sustains injuries or her car is wrecked, your liability insurance covers the damages. Every state establishes its own minimum liability coverage requirements.
Liability Insurance Coverage
Your liability coverage covers only you and any other drivers you have listed on your policy. It won't cover a friend. If your friend gets into an accident that is the other driver's fault, this won't be a problem as long as the other driver has insurance. But if the collision is with an uninsured motorist, your friend is at fault or your friend is the only driver in the accident, your friend's liability coverage will have to cover the damages. If she doesn't have this coverage, you might be stuck with no insurance policy that will pay for your car.
Collision and Comprehensive Insurance
If you have collision or comprehensive insurance, your policy is tied to the car, not the driver. As long as your friend is not specifically excluded from your policy and you give her permission to drive your car, your insurance will cover her for injuries she sustains as well as damage to your car.
Primary, Secondary and Other Issues
Sometimes one insurance policy isn't sufficient to cover all of the damages of an accident. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, it will cover damages if your friend gets into an accident with someone who doesn't have enough insurance. Similarly, if you have collision or comprehensive coverage but the coverage doesn't cover all of your damages, then your friend's insurance -- if she has collision or comprehensive -- is the secondary policy that covers the remainder of the damages.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.