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Auto Defects

Who is covered by your auto insurance?

reviewing auto insurance policy to see who is coveredAny car you own that is driven regularly needs to be insured against accidents. Each state sets its own minimums. In Illinois, the minimum liability coverage for an accident you cause is $25,000 for a single injury or death, up to $50,000 per accident, and $20,000 for property damages. The good news is that vehicle policies can be somewhat broad when it comes to who is covered on auto insurance policies.

As long as the car is properly insured, it’s likely that the coverage applies to anyone who drives it. Companies and policies may differ, so verify coverage with your insurance provider.

For assistance seeking the coverage you need to pay medical bills and other costs, contact the attorneys at Langdon & Emison. Give us a call at 312-855-0700 to set up a free consultation where we will answer your questions and point you toward legal options to recover your damages.

Who can drive my car?

In most cases, so long as the driver is licensed, they’re covered by your insurance. However, it may be a good idea to notify your insurer that someone else will be driving your car. They can be listed on your policy as confirmation that your coverage will apply to them when driving the car.

Generally speaking, if someone lives in the same house as you, they’re covered. Even still, it’s advisable to have everyone who shares housing with you on your policy, be it family members, children, boyfriend or girlfriend, or even roommates.

The key to knowing when coverage applies is the concept of “permissive use.” Drivers who have permission to use your car will be covered under your insurance. If someone steals your car or uses it without your permission, you won’t be liable for any damage they cause. 

What does insurance cover?

Different companies have different rules for other drivers not listed on the policy, and there’s really no consistent definition from company to company as to who is covered. That being said, most policies will cover other drivers to at least a limited degree.

Like with other accidents, who is at fault is important. If you know someone else will be driving your automobile, some particular additions to a policy are helpful. This includes:

  • Expanded auto liability coverage: Adding coverage can mean more money to pay medical bills for another person or vehicle damage caused by an accident, reducing the risk that you could be sued for the remaining damages.
  • Collision coverage: This can help pay for the cost of vehicle repairs after an accident where you are not eligible to file under someone else’s liability policy, such as a single-vehicle accident involving only your vehicle or an accident where you were at fault. You will, however, be responsible for your deductible.
  • Medical payment coverage: This provides coverage for medical bills of you, the person borrowing the car, or any of your passengers should you be injured in a car accident. This coverage applies regardless of fault.

Can I prevent someone from being covered by my insurance?

Yes. Just like anyone who is permitted to drive your car can be covered, you can refuse permission for specific drivers. This is called an “excluded driver” and essentially means you must specifically request they be officially exempt from your insurance coverage. If an excluded driver gets into an accident with your car, not only will it not affect your deductible, they will also be liable for any damages or legal repercussions.

For example, if your new roommate has a history of DUIs, you might want to exclude them from your policy. Even if they ask permission and get in an accident while intoxicated, you’re not liable for any damages. Generally, insurance that’s considered “comprehensive coverage” will follow the vehicle regardless of who’s behind the wheel, but you can still list specific people as not covered.

Factors for Someone Borrowing a Car to Remember

For someone who is a licensed driver but doesn’t own a car, there is no need to pay for car insurance. That being said, if you’ll be borrowing someone else’s car regularly, there are some things to keep in mind.

  • The owner’s policy may help provide coverage should you have an accident while driving their car, but it’s not guaranteed.
  • Depending on their insurance, you might be responsible for certain types of damage to another vehicle. If they don’t have collision coverage, for example, you might be liable for repairs to their car if you’re in an accident.
  • If the costs of damage to the car caused by your accident exceed the limits of their policy’s coverage, you might be responsible for the difference.
  • Your driving record could affect the costs of their premiums if you’re a regular borrower, so keep that in mind and consider contributing to the policy if this is the case.

Again, if you don’t own a car, you don’t have to buy car insurance. That being said, if you’re driving someone else’s car regularly, contributing to their premiums or even purchasing a separate policy just to cover you may be a solid idea. Some policies can be bundled, so check with your (or their) insurance company for details.

Verify With the Insurer Before Assuming There Will Be Coverage

It’s important to not just assume anything, especially when it comes to who is covered on auto insurance policies. Different policies have different specific rules on how much they’ll pay out for an accident involving someone other than the policyholder. 

To help navigate these issues or make an insurance company cover an accident when they should, talk to a qualified Chicago car accident attorney.

Langdon & Emison is there when you need help recovering your damages from an insurer. We only take cases we know we can win. If you have any questions call us today at 312-855-0700