Frequently Asked Questions - What Happens If Someone Borrows My Car And Gets in an Accident?
If you let someone else use your vehicle, there is a chance that they can end up in an auto accident, whether they hit someone else or someone else hits them. You should always make sure that your auto insurance is up to date and valid anyways, but especially if someone else is using your vehicle as that gives you peace of mind that your vehicle will be covered in the unfortunate event of an auto accident. In the state of Florida, you must have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and property damage (PD), which is considered as full coverage is that it is all the state requires for you to legally insure and register a vehicle. By letting someone else use your vehicle, you are essentially putting them in control of your vehicle but you are still financially responsible.
If someone gets into an auto accident in your vehicle and they do not own their own vehicle or live with anyone who has a valid insurance policy, your insurance company must afford them Personal Injury Protection coverage which pays up to $10,000.00. Their medical bills are paid at 80%, lost wages at 60%, and mileage and prescription reimbursement at 100%. If the person driving your vehicle has their own valid auto insurance policy or they reside with a relative who has their own valid auto insurance policy, that person must use their own insurance coverage or their relative's insurance coverage. This is sometimes confusing to people as their vehicle or their relative's vehicle was not involved in the accident so they do not understand why their own insurance has to be involved. In the state of Florida, auto insurance laws are quite complex and don’t always make sense, so it’s important to know how insurance coverage works or hire an experienced personal injury attorney who can explain this to you and fight for your rights and coverages you are entitled to. Quite often, insurance companies refuse to pay out coverages that you or anyone driving your vehicle are entitled to and you may not be aware of all of the coverages that could compensate you when you or someone driving your vehicle is involved in an auto accident. If you have been denied coverages that you feel you or the person driving your vehicle are entitled to, you have the option of fighting for your rights or hire a qualified attorney to help you.
If someone driving your vehicle is hit by an uninsured driver or a driver who has a very minimal bodily injury policy, they are legally allowed to claim compensation for their injuries through your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage if you have that coverage available on your auto insurance policy. This coverage is not required by law but it is there to cover you, your resident relatives, and anyone in your vehicle at the time of an accident. You can pick how much coverage you wish to have which ranges from $10,000.00 to over a million dollars. Even if the person driving your vehicle at the time of an accident has their own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on their own auto insurance policy or reside with a relative who has uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on their policy, the law requires them to use the uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage of the vehicle they were driving first, which would be your vehicle. If the person driving your vehicle files a claim against your insurance company and the entire uninsured motorist coverage limits are tendered to them, they can then look to any other uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that they are entitled to under their own policy or a resident relatives policy. Unlike Personal Injury Protection coverage, you must use the uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage from the vehicle you were driving first, and then you can use your own or a resident relative's uninsured/underinsured coverage. You can use as many Uninsured/Underinsured motorist policies as you have available to you. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage differs from PIP in being that you or the person driving your vehicle can only use the Personal Injury Protection coverage once. Even if you have your own Personal Injury Protection coverage, you are not allowed to then use the Personal Injury Protection coverage from the vehicle you were driving at the time of the accident. When the $10,000.00 is exhausted, you are not able to use another source of Personal Injury Protection but once an uninsured/underinsured motorist policy is tendered to you, you can move on to the next uninsured/underinsured policy available to you.
By law, you are required to inform your insurance carrier of everyone who resides in your household who is over the age of 14 years old. If you do not disclose this information and the insurance company finds out, they have a right to not pay out any of your coverages in the event of an accident but they will reimburse your premium payments to you. If you live with someone who has a bad driving history and their record will increase your payments, you have the choice to list that person as an excluded driver. This means that the person you select as an excluded driver must never drive your vehicle. If someone is driving your vehicle and they are listed as an excluded driver, again, your insurance company has the right to deny coverages. If the person driving your vehicle is excluded and they cause an accident that results in injuries to someone else, you will be financially responsible for the damages caused because it was your vehicle involved in the accident.
If someone else is driving your vehicle and they cause an auto accident, not only can you and your insurance company be sued, the person driving the vehicle and their insurance company, if they have their own insurance, can also be sued. If someone is driving your vehicle and you do not have auto insurance coverage on that vehicle, both you and the driver of your vehicle will be held legally liable for any damages caused. This can result in garnishment of wages, suspension of driver’s license, and having to file an SR-22 document with any future auto insurance carriers before you are legally allowed to register a vehicle.