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Can Someone Not on My Insurance Policy Drive My Car?

by Neil Kokemuller

The best way to know for sure how your auto coverage works is to review key terms with your agent. In general, liability auto insurance follows the driver of a vehicle, whereas comprehensive and collision benefits on the car protect it against damage caused to that vehicle.

Permissive Use Rule

Most car insurance policies have what is known as a "permissive use" guideline. This guidelines means that if you give someone infrequent permission to use your vehicle, the coverage you have for your car remains intact. If a visiting aunt drives your car to the store and hits a light pole, for instance, whatever comprehensive coverage you have on your auto likely still applies. Another perspective, according to esurance, is that you also lend your insurance when you lend your car.


The "Claims Journal" noted that many full-coverage auto policies already include immediate family, such as a spouse or child, as covered by the plan.

Regular Usage

Insurance companies normally treat regular usage of a vehicle differently than infrequent loans. If you have a family member, girlfriend, boyfriend or roommate who routinely uses your vehicle, the insurer likely expects that you include that person on your policy. Specific terms of coverage vary as to what constitutes "infrequent" versus "regular" use, but if the intent is that the person has consistent and ongoing access to the vehicle, adding the driver is the safest approach.

Liability insurance, personal injury protection and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage all typically follow the driver of a borrowed vehicle. Thus, if the person driving your car causes an accident that causes injury or promoting damage to a third party, his insurance benefits should apply. Knowing whether the person borrowing the car has liability protection is important. If not, you would likely have to rely on your own uninsured/underinsured motorist benefits to cover the third-party obligation.

Borrowing without Permission

If someone not on your policy drives your car without permission, other rules apply, according to esurance. If a thief takes the car and gets in an accident, you generally aren't liable. If a family member or close friend, such as an adult child, borrows the car without permission, your insurance is often treated as secondary in case the driver's insurance doesn't cover the entire obligation.

About the Author

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.

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