When your friend wrecks your car: What Happens?

When your friend wrecks your car: What Happens? Featured Image

Your friend’s insurance covers the damage if your friend wrecks your car, right? The answer is more complicated than you probably realize. There are quite a few things to consider if you loan your car to someone else who wrecks it. Below, we discuss what you can expect if your friend borrows your car and causes an accident.

Whose insurance pays out if a friend causes a crash in my car?

Your liability insurance offers the primary coverage for any accident caused by the person behind the wheel of your car. Although it might seem counterintuitive, this is true even if your friend is driving at the time of the crash, and you were not in the car.

A number of factors determine how much your insurer will pay. This includes:

  • The specific language of the policy
  • Whether you gave your friend permission to drive your car
  • Whether there is shared fault between your friend and other motorists

Will my friend’s insurance company pay for any of the damage done?

If your friend has his own auto insurance policy, it should provide the secondary coverage for any injuries or property damage he causes. This means his policy may pay out to cover any damages above and beyond the limits of your policy.

It is important to know that there are maybe some limits on this type of coverage, and you need to check your policy before allowing your friend to drive your car or before driving anyone else’s vehicle.

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How can I repair my car if my friend crashes it?

If your friend causes the accident, you will need to rely on your collision coverage to repair or replace your damaged vehicle. Many people do not carry this type of coverage, which could leave you in a difficult spot. You can attempt to file a claim relying on your friend’s policy, ask your friend to pay for repairs, file a lawsuit against your friend to collect the damages or pay to repair your car out of pocket.

Of course, if another driver causes the accident and damages your car, her liability insurance policy should cover your property damage costs.

Could I be personally liable for an accident my friend caused?

If a friend caused an accident while driving your car, your insurance should pay out to cover the medical bills, lost wages, and property damage of the victims. Occasionally, though, you could be personally liable for the full amount. You may hear this referred to as owner’s liability or negligent entrustment, depending on the exact circumstances of your case.

This type of situation is rare, but may occur when: 

You Excluded the Driver from your Insurance 

Some people exclude family members or others living in their household from their auto insurance policy to save money. If you then loan that person your car, your insurance may not pay out if he causes a crash.

The Driver Is Unlicensed, Incompetent, or Irresponsible

Never loan your car to someone you know to be irresponsible, incompetent, or unlicensed. Your insurance company may deny your claim and/or the victims can file a lawsuit against you for negligent entrustment.

The Driver Is Drunk or Intoxicated 

If you know someone is drunk or under the influence of drugs — or has a habit of intoxicated driving — and you loan him your car, you are maybe putting your financial future at risk. You could be liable for any injuries or property damage he causes while driving your car.

A Vehicle Defect Caused the Crash

If there is an issue with your car that could cause an accident, you need to take it to a mechanic as soon as possible. Loaning it to a friend when it has a known issue means you could be responsible for any injuries that occur because of that issue.

To figure out the best way to approach this situation, call Hilda Sibrian.

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Do I need to call a lawyer after a friend wrecks my car in Houston?

Navigating the insurance claim process after a friend wrecks your car is a complicated process. There is no one-size-fits all answer because every car insurance policy is different. Give us a call as soon as you can after a Houston accident, and we can help you understand your liability policy, its limits, and how much you can expect your friend’s insurance policy to pay out.

Calling us early in the process is especially beneficial if you believe you might be in a situation where personal liability could fall on your shoulders. We can act quickly and aggressively to protect your assets and help you navigate the auto insurance claims process.

You can reach the Law Offices of Hilda L. Sibrian, P.C. today by calling 713-863-1515.

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