First and foremost I want to wish you a happy and safe Thanksgiving. In the agency, we truly appreciate the relationships that we have built with all of you over the years.
This month, I wanted to take moment to provide some detail about an insurance myth found in one of our blog posts in early November.
The myth I want to focus on is that the auto insurance runs with the driver and not the vehicle. As we travel and make plans, instances might arise where someone ends up using your vehicle. It is important to note that the liability for operating the vehicle lies with the titled owner of the vehicle and not the driver. Many believe that lending someone a vehicle creates a situation where the driver is then responsible but that is not the case. Bottom line, be careful who you lend a vehicle to, because the titled owner of the car is responsible for any liability that arises. Your insurance policy describes this situation as permissive use. As long as the named insured has given permission to a driver, the coverage on that policy would transfer to the permissive driver while actually protecting the liability of the named insured.
In the event that you are driving someone else’s vehicle, your auto policy would provide secondary coverage. The most likely scenario here is that if you take your friend’s vehicle which is uninsured for some reason (creating a liability), your carrier would respond to cover legal liability that you become responsible for. It is important to note, that only the liability is covered for the vehicle you are driving and subsequent damage to that car itself would be the responsibility of the owner.
Keep these things in mind with family events as well. As kids move away from home and title vehicles in their own names, they definitely need their own insurance policy. There are many tricky things that come up in the transition process and may need to be addressed.
Some of the factors that come into play are:
- Where the absent household member is living.
- Is that residence permanent?
- Does that household member reside at home for some of the year?
- How the vehicle is titled.
- What state the household member is licensed in.
All of these things can play a role in determining how to cover the liability appropriately. The best thing in this situation is to give your agent a call and work through the facts to determine the best thing to do next.