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I’m borrowing my friend’s car … am I covered?

 Most people have an idea of what’s covered and not covered under their various insurance policies. But at Point Insurance, we get a lot of questions about borrowing or loaning a car.

You might be looking to borrow your neighbor’s truck for a home-improvement project or a trip to the local landfill; we thought it was a great time to provide a little more information.

Generally, insurance coverage follows the vehicle rather than the driver. So in most instances, as long as the car owner has insurance, it’s covered even if someone other than the owner is driving it — as long as they have the owner’s permission.

The borrower’s insurance is considered secondary, meaning that in the event of an accident, it could apply if the owner’s insurance is insufficient to cover the damage entirely.

It’s important to note that there are some exceptions to what is called “permissive use” coverage. For example, permission must be given by the owner unless the borrower has a reasonable belief that they are allowed to use the car. However, the borrower cannot permit someone else. So if your teenager allows one of their friends to drive your car to Gillette Stadium, your coverage likely won’t apply.

Coverage might also be denied if the borrower operates the vehicle negligently or criminally. And if the borrower is using your car for business purposes, your personal auto policy likely won’t cover that.

If you have a regular long-term arrangement to either borrow or lend a car, the borrower should probably be added to the owner’s personal auto policy. Those who don’t own a car but often borrow one might consider “named non-owner coverage,” an endorsement that provides bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motorists coverage, and more.

Ultimately, it’s usually safe to loan your friend your car for occasional errands or projects. And the same goes for borrowing a car. Just make sure it’s for “normal” use. You’ll want to confirm that the car has coverage and that your insurance, whether you’re the owner or borrower, will apply.

Feel free to call us if you have any questions; you don’t want to wait until after an accident to get answers!