Yes, drivers are responsible for their passengers. Drivers are expected to act reasonably and safely on the road in order to ensure their passengers’ safety, and if they don’t, they’re responsible for covering any injuries that a passenger sustains in their vehicle. Specifically, when a driver is at-fault for an accident, their bodily injury liability insurance will cover their passengers’ medical expenses unless they’re members of the same household. Passengers who live with the driver are only covered by the driver’s personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments (MedPay) coverage.
Even if a driver isn’t at-fault, their PIP or MedPay coverage can pay for their passengers’ medical expenses. But these types of insurance are optional in most states, so if a not-at-fault driver doesn’t have either, passengers will have to rely on their own health insurance or the at-fault driver’s liability insurance.
If someone else is driving your car and gets in an accident, your car insurance will likely cover any resulting damage. Car insurance generally follows the car instead of the driver, so the car owner's insurance will cover the crash, even if someone else is driving. On the other hand, if your car is taken without permission or the driver is not licensed, the driver is responsible.… read full answer
Insurance Options When Someone Crashes Your Car
Remember, using your insurance means you are liable for paying your deductible, even if it’s a friend (and not you personally) who crashes your car. Fortunately, your friend’s insurance can help if the damage exceeds your coverage. For example, if your policy covers up to $45,000 and the damage is $55,000, the driver's insurance can cover the final $10,000.
However, that isn’t the case if you’ve specifically excluded the driver from your policy. You might choose to leave someone off your insurance because they are a high-risk driver and expensive to insure - like a new driver with multiple speeding tickets, or someone with DUIs on his or her driving record. If that excluded driver crashes your car, your insurance company will refuse to cover the damage.
Insurance Rates After an Accident
Unfortunately, an accident can affect your insurance rates even if you aren’t driving. One accident won’t necessarily raise your premium by itself. But if you were in another accident not too long before someone else crashes your car, your company is likely to raise your premium, retract your safe-driver discount, or even drop your policy.
At the end of the day, one of the best things you can do is consider adding people to your insurance if they regularly use your car. You don’t want to end up with a huge bill if your insurance company denies your claim because of who was driving. Also, make sure your friends have a valid driver’s license and car insurance if they’re using your car.
Car insurance follows the car, not the driver, in most cases. There are a few situations where car insurance follows the driver, though, such as when the car’s insurance limits are exceeded, in which case the driver’s coverage can be used to fill in the gaps. There’s also some disparity from company to company – your policy might provide less coverage for other drivers, or even no coverage at all.… read full answer
It’s advisable to review your insurance policy before letting someone else drive your car. It also helps to ask if the other driver has insurance before they get behind the wheel in your vehicle. And don’t forget to confirm coverage before you drive someone else’s car, too.
The driver’s insurance usually plays a (small) role
In most situations, the driver’s insurance plays a role regardless of whose car they are driving and who caused the accident. That is true regardless of whether a state has at-fault or no-fault laws because no-fault insurance only applies to medical payments. So fault still matters for property damage, at least, and the at-fault party needs to pay up.
However, the driver’s insurance can end up being negligible. If you are insured and you cause an accident in a friend's car, the primary coverage is their insurance, not yours. Instead, your car insurance is the secondary source of coverage. If your friend's coverage is exceeded by the collision, your insurance picks up the slack.
Uninsured drivers depend solely on the car's coverage
If you don’t have insurance and you drive your friend's car, your friend is on the hook for whatever damage you cause. But if the damage exceeds your friend’s insurance coverage, the other driver(s) could sue you and your friend, who also could sue you to cover his or her share!
This is assuming your friend gives you permission to drive. If you don't have permission to drive someone's car, insurance gets a little more complicated.
Permission matters - but it's hard to prove
If a friend with no insurance takes your car without permission and crashes it, you're liable for the damage they cause. That’s because it’s very difficult to prove you didn't give your friend permission to use your car. And in situations where you let your uninsured friend use your car, your insurance needs to cover any damage they cause.
However, the responsibility can fall on the friend who takes your car if they have their own car insurance. If they cause damage in that situation, their insurance policy would be the primary coverage, while yours would be secondary – again, as long as you can prove that you did not give them permission to use your car. In that case, your insurance would only need to kick in to cover gaps in their insurance policy, or if their insurance maxed out before the damage was covered fully.
If it’s not a friend who takes your car, things are different. Should someone steal your car, you're generally not liable for the damage they cause to others' property. But you need your own insurance for repairs to your vehicle if they vandalize it.
Check your policy to see who and what is covered.
Keep a copy of your car insurance information in your car, in case you're not there when an accident occurs.
Make sure your friends have a valid driver's license and car insurance before you let them drive your vehicle.
Add people you live with to your car insurance, as well as other people who use your car regularly.
If you don’t own a car, you can get non-owner car insurance to make sure you’re covered when you drive someone else’s vehicle.
WalletHub Answers is a free service that helps consumers access financial information. Information on WalletHub Answers is provided “as is” and should not be considered financial, legal or investment advice. WalletHub is not a financial advisor, law firm, “lawyer referral service,” or a substitute for a financial advisor, attorney, or law firm. You may want to hire a professional before making any decision. WalletHub does not endorse any particular contributors and cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of any information posted. The helpfulness of a financial advisor's answer is not indicative of future advisor performance.
WalletHub members have a wealth of knowledge to share, and we encourage everyone to do so while respecting our content guidelines. This question was posted by WalletHub. Please keep in mind that editorial and user-generated content on this page is not reviewed or otherwise endorsed by any financial institution. In addition, it is not a financial institution’s responsibility to ensure all posts and questions are answered.
Ad Disclosure: Certain offers that appear on this site originate from paying advertisers, and this will be noted on an offer’s details page using the designation "Sponsored", where applicable. Advertising may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). At WalletHub we try to present a wide array of offers, but our offers do not represent all financial services companies or products.