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Letting Someone Drive Your Car Equals Bad News

  Lets say your 15 year old daughter goes for a joy ride in your car, or you loan it to your best friend and she lets her drunk nephew drive. Would your insurance cover you in case of an accident? Auto accidents involving someone other than the cars legal owner can be tricky to file insurance claims on.

In some situations the cars legal owner can be held responsible for damages to their own vehicle and anyone else's in the accident. This includes all types of damages such as personal property and injury. Most often insurance policies only cover the cars owner and any licensed drivers in the household.

Occasionally there are extenuating circumstances. For instance, someone temporarily injured may list a person on their insurance who does their shopping and runs errands for them. For someone to use your car without permission however, is when insurance problems arise. It is all dependent upon whether the unauthorized use is simply that – unauthorized- or if it is in fact stolen.

Car insurance analyst, Penny Gusner, explained that if a car is stolen the owner is not held responsible for damages to their own vehicle under most comprehensive plans. However, if only a liability policy is held none of the damages to the owners car are covered. Unfortunately, even if the their has coverage of his own it will not cover illegal actions. 

The problem is that the line between stolen and unauthorized use is thin and blurry. Especially in situations where the thief or a family member or friend who had access to the keys. It becomes a gray area in the insurance world.

According to Gusner, if the keys are left in plain sight and a drunk with a previous record happens to be in the house, spies the keys and goes for a joyride, the car owner can be sued for negligence. Even if the insurance company does not pay for damages and the owner presses criminal charges.

One of the very worst situations is when a child steals the car keys for a joyride and according to Gusner, it s a insurance nightmare. Children cannot be given permission to drive and even if they did it unknowingly, parents are always responsible for the damages they cause.

Many states require drivers to carry PIP insurance and many more are considering it. PIP insurance is personal injury protection not only for the driver but also for the passengers. While the idea is a good one, even these types of policies will not cover an unauthorized driver. 

Health care providers have went so far as to sue insurance companies to provide payment for health care services rendered to unauthorized driver who are injured in a car accident. Supreme courts all over the nation have sided with insurance companies in their battle to deny responsibilities in those types of cases.