Frequently Asked Questions - Can Someone Who Is Not On My Insurance Drive My Car?
Picture this: You’ve just agreed to let someone borrow your car and as they drive away you wonder, “Can someone who is not on my insurance drive my car?” Most people just assume that it is ok, some overlook the possibility of anything bad happening, and others are just too afraid to ask. For the most part, yes, you can let someone who is not on your insurance drive your car. But there exists a more important question: is the person borrowing your car covered by insurance? While insurance policies vary, this question is usually answered by the section in your insurance policy that defines who an “insured person” is. In a policy without exclusions, an “insured person” will often include: you, a relative, or person using the insured automobile with your express or implied permission within the scope of your permission.
Typically family members will be covered unless you specifically exclude certain family members from your policy. Non-family members require your consent (express or implied) to drive your vehicle. On top of that, they will only be covered if the use of your vehicle falls under what you authorized them to use it for. For example, coverage may be denied if someone borrowing your car decides to take your car to the amusement park when you only gave express permission allowing them to go to the grocery store to pick up food and come right back home. On the other hand, implied permission is when you commonly allow someone, such as a roommate, to borrow your car and you give them access to your vehicle (ex. by leaving the keys on the counter for them).
The definition of an insured person in your policy answers the basic premise of our original question. But you, as the policy holder and car owner, should be aware of different circumstances that place you at greater risk. These various conditions shed light on important details to consider before you give up the keys to another person.
In the State of Florida, Statute 322.36 states that a person may not allow an unlicensed person to drive their vehicle. Not only would you be on the hook for $500 in fines or possible jailtime, an accident caused by you permitting an unlicensed driver drive your vehicle will most likely not be covered by your insurance policy. So before you let a person you don’t know quite well drive your car, it might not be a bad idea to ask to see their driver’s license to ensure it actually exists and that it is current.
It’s a good idea to have a basic understanding of the different types of insurance before you let someone drive your car. If someone driving your car has their own insurance, then their own personal injury protection coverage would initially cover their medical bills in the event of an accident. This is due to the fact that Florida is a no-fault state and everyone is required to have personal injury protection insurance (PIP). PIP covers yourself, your immediate household and people in your vehicle at the time of an accident if they do not have their own Personal Injury Protection. If the person borrowing your vehicle does not have their own insurance, then your PIP would begin to cover medical bills. It is important to keep in mind that a serious accident with significant injuries can eat through basic PIP insurance rather quickly. This is mostly due to the fact that Florida only requires drivers to have only $10,000 in PIP benefits. While $10,000 sounds like a lot, it is not uncommon for medical bills to go over $50,000. This is especially true when a surgery is involved.
Another risk to take into consideration is the potential lack of underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage. UM insurance covers you in the event you are struck by a vehicle that does not have sufficient bodily injury liability coverage or if you involved in a hit and run. Florida does not require uninsured and underinsured Motorist (UM) coverage so chances are you may not have the UM coverage necessary to cover a substantial accident. All of the details regarding PIP and UM coverage plays a part with regards to our original question. This is because if you lack UM coverage and an uninsured person driving your car gets into a serious accident, you may be held liable for the remainder of damages.
You’re probably wondering why you could be held accountable for someone else’s negligence while driving your vehicle. This is due to Florida’s “dangerous instrumentality” doctrine. The “dangerous instrumentality” doctrine basically states, that an owner of a dangerous tool is responsible for the damages that the tool causes while it was loaned to another individual. The “dangerous tool” in our case is your vehicle. If someone negligently drives your car and causes an accident, you can be held vicariously liable for damages. This is why it may be important to take into consideration your own insurance coverage before letting someone drive your car. As mentioned before, if the person borrowing your car causes a major accident with massive damages and there isn’t enough insurance coverage available, the injured parties may start coming after your own pockets.
Letting other people drive your vehicle is a normal life occurrence. As previously discussed, most insurance companies have made reasonable provisions in their policies to accommodate this very situation. Despite this, you should not let generosity and lack of knowledge blind you to the inherent risks of letting another person drive your vehicle. Compared to other states, Florida is quite lax in their requirements for automobile insurance. Bodily injury liability and underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage are not required. All that is required is $10,000 in personal injury protection and $10,000 in Property damage liability. As discussed earlier, these basic limits requirements do not necessarily fully protect the driver or owner of the car in the event of a serious crash. At the end of the day, its up to you to review your own insurance policy to ensure you have sufficient coverage and that the person you let drive your car will be protected as well.