Lending Your Car to an Uninsured Driver Can Be Problematic

An uninsured driver can drive your insured car, as long as they have a driver's license and you have informed your insurance company that they will be driving. If you don't tell your insurer and that person gets into an accident, your claim may be denied.

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Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about home, life, and car insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, researching investigative pieces, and crafting detailed, data-driven features. His works have been featured on CB Blog Nation, Flow Words, Healing Law, WIBW Kansas, and C...

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Written by Chris Tepedino
Insurance Feature Writer Chris Tepedino

Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent Laura Walker

UPDATED: Jun 23, 2022

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The Rundown

  • Car insurance follows the car, not the driver, so your auto insurance will likely cover an accident caused by someone else driving your car
  • Lending your car to an uninsured driver can cause problems if they are in an accident 
  • If an uninsured driver isn’t listed on your policy, your liability coverage will likely pay for damages sustained by other drivers and accident victims, but it may not pay for the uninsured driver’s personal injuries or repairs to your car

Someone asks to borrow your car, and you have car insurance, but they don’t. You want to help out, but the question that immediately pops into your head is: Can an uninsured driver drive an insured car? Find out how to make sure you have the coverage you need in order to let someone else drive your car.

Can someone else drive your car? 

Yes, other people can drive your vehicle. But you need to be careful when lending out your car to uninsured drivers because of the potential liability to you as the car owner.

So, before you let someone else get behind the wheel of your car, you should do two things to make sure that person is covered by your policy.

First, make sure the driver has a valid driver’s license.

Second, check that the driver has their own insurance. If they don’t, you have to notify your insurance company. The person who wants to drive your car needs to be licensed and will need to be listed on your car insurance policy in order to be covered. 

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Does insurance follow the car or the driver?

Auto insurance generally follows the car, not the driver. That means, depending on who’s driving and the type of policy you have, someone else can drive your car and be covered by your insurance.

Who’s driving?

Your car insurance will cover your automobile if it’s being driven by family and other household members. Most policies require that licensed drivers who live with you or who have regular and periodic access to your vehicle be named on the car insurance policy.

Occasional and one-time drivers, however, typically don’t have to be listed on the policy in order to be covered, but the extent of the coverage depends on the type of policy you have. 

What type of insurance coverage do you have?

The type of vehicle insurance you have has a lot to do with the level of coverage.

Standard general liability auto insurance covers the accident victim’s personal injuries and property damage, but will not pay for injuries of the person who operated your car or repairs to your car.

Collision and comprehensive car insurance are two separate add-on policies that pay for the injuries of the person who drove your car, as well as for damage to your vehicle.

Medical payments insurance is another option for covering uninsured drivers. If you want to make sure that authorized drivers have medical coverage if they get injured in an accident they caused, this coverage may help pay for their medical bills.

There is also a kind of policy called non-owner car insurance for people who drive someone else’s car. Non-owner car insurance policies tend to be cheaper than regular insurance because non-car owners typically drive less than car owners. 

Can you be liable for loaning your car to someone?

If an uninsured driver has an accident while driving your car, you could be liable for damages that aren’t covered by your insurance. If the driver who borrowed your car is legally licensed, your insurance company may provide coverage for things like bodily injury.

However, if you loaned your car to an unlicensed driver, you may end up paying out of pocket for damage to the other driver’s car because your insurance company is not obligated to cover drivers not listed on your policy. That’s why it’s so important to notify your car insurance company if someone other than the people listed on your policy will be driving your car.

You should also consider underinsured/uninsured coverage. This type of coverage is an add-on policy, which costs extra but may be worth it because it covers personal injury and property damages caused by an uninsured driver.

What happens if you let someone drive your car without telling your insurance company?

It is likely a serious breach of your auto insurance policy if you fail to tell them that another person will be driving your car. Your carrier has the right to deny a claim, or worse, cancel your policy. 

The last thing you want to happen is to have your policy canceled. The first consequence is you won’t be able to drive because it is illegal to drive uninsured.

It is harder to find insurance after you’ve been canceled by your former provider. You can also expect your rates to increase, and you may have to pay a deposit along with a reinstatement fee to get new coverage. 

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Final Thoughts on Lending Your Car to an Uninsured Driver

When you lend your car, you need to think about insurance. If the person borrowing your car doesn’t have auto insurance, it’s important to notify your carrier that someone new will be driving your car. 

It only takes a simple phone call or email to protect yourself from liability if the person driving your car causes an accident, to prevent your policy from being canceled, and to keep your insurance rates from going up. It’s so easy to pick up the phone to add a new driver to your policy, and save yourself from the consequences.

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