Whitney Russell
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Who Is Liable When a Friend Crashes Your Car

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A car's rear bumper with a dent in it from a collision
Who pays the damages when a friend crashes your car? Some of it depends on whether or not your friend is insured
Photo: The News Wheel

Hopefully, you won’t ever need to know what to do after another person gets into an auto accident while driving your car. But if you do experience this unfortunate situation, here’s what you should know.

Know the Cost: Estimate your monthly payment on a new car purchase

Who pays for damages?

Per Insure.com’s Mark Vallett, car insurance typically follows the car involved in the accident, rather than the driver. So, in a scenario where your friend crashes your car, it’s likely that you’ll be the one responsible for paying the damages.

If you have collision insurance, you’ll need to pay the deductible before your carrier covers the rest of the damages. It’s worth noting that your friend’s insurance policy could help cover any damage costs that go beyond the amount that your policy will cover, as WalletHub’s Winslow Arizona confirms.

What if the friend is uninsured?

An envelope of U.S. dollars next to an automatic gear shifter.
Letting a friend borrow a car can be an expensive mistake…especially if they’re uninsured and get into an accident
Photo: The News Wheel

If your friend who crashed your car doesn’t have auto insurance, then you should prepare to pay for any damages not covered by your insurance policy. For instance, you might have to pay for medical and property-damage expenses for the other person involved in the accident.

This can take a heavy toll on your personal finances, including your retirement fund and personal savings. It could also jeopardize your ability to pay your mortgage.

When should you add a friend to your policy?

Most car insurance policies give you the freedom to let others occasionally borrow your car even if they aren’t on your policy. This type of occasional use is referred to as “permissive use.” Per Vallett, the majority of insurance companies define a permissive driver as someone who uses another person’s car less than 12 times in a year.

So, if you have a friend who frequently uses your vehicle, it’s usually best to add them to your policy. This will help ensure that an insurance carrier, not you, pays for damages if they get into an accident while borrowing your car.

Find out how to make a car insurance claim after an accident. Then discover what insurance extras you should add to your policy.

Need to Repair Your Car After an Accident? Schedule an appointment with our collision/auto body shop