We’ve all driven someone else’s car before, but many of us have been doing so without really knowing if we are covered by the owner of the vehicle’s insurance or by our very own insurance. Of course this isn’t a thought that crosses our mind when we’re driving our own vehicle. It may not even be a consideration when we tell someone else to drive our car.
Driving Someone Else’s Car
According to Virginia law, the major difference of if insurance covers you in the event of a car accident is dependent on whether you have received permission to use the aforementioned vehicle. If someone has been granted permission to use another person’s vehicle, then the owner of the vehicle’s insurance has you covered under Virginia Code § 38.2-2204:
“any other person using or responsible for the use of the motor vehicle, aircraft, or private pleasure watercraft with the expressed or implied consent of the named insured” shall be insured by the vehicle owner’s insurance.”
If the person that has borrowed your vehicle happens to have their own car insurance, that policy would essentially provide coverage in addition to the vehicle owner’s own insurance.
That said, if someone uses your vehicle without your express consent, then the vehicle is considered to be under no insurance coverage. Now, if you let your cousin drive your vehicle to and from school, but then they decide to go on an impromptu road trip, your cousin will no longer be covered by your insurance as that is not the reason you allowed them to borrow your car. If you exceed this scope of permission on where you may take someone’s borrowed vehicle your own insurance will not cover you either. Your insurance can only play a role in the event of an accident or occurrence if you are granted express permission to utilize the vehicle in the way that you are using it.
So now lets run a different scenario. You let your cousin borrow your vehicle, and they decide to let one of their classmates use the vehicle. Typically this classmate is also covered in accordance to Virginia law. This can be tricky, but the legality of the classmate’s use of the vehicle is for the safety of others rather than their own. Essentially when the owner of the vehicle gives permission for their cousin to use the vehicle, that same permission applies to the classmate as well. In the event that the classmate gets into an accident, it would be extremely unfair for the victim or other party of the car accident if no insurance would cover their injuries or vehicle damage.
We know Virginia law can be complicated at times. If you are using someone else’s vehicle, our recommendation is to not let anyone else borrow vehicle you are borrowing. If you are unsure if the borrower of your vehicle is insured or not after they have gotten into an accident, you can contact the Parrish Law Firm for a free consultation to determine where you stand. You can call us at (571) 229 – 1800 or contact us here.