Auto insurance is a crucial aspect of owning a car. It provides financial protection in case of an accident, theft, or damage to the vehicle. However, there is often confusion over whether auto insurance covers the car itself or the driver operating the car. The truth is, your auto policy covers both you and your car, but in different ways. In this blog post, we will discuss this common question and provide some insights into what is covered by auto insurance.
Instances When Car Insurance Follows the Vehicle
When you rent a car, the rental company’s insurance typically covers the vehicle itself, not you as the driver. Their policy protects them if anything happens to the car while you’re renting it.
The same goes if you borrow someone else’s vehicle. Say you need to move some furniture and your friend offers to lend you their truck. If there’s an accident, their auto insurance will handle the costs for repairs or replacement of the truck. .
- To protect yourself in these situations, consider purchasing non-owner car insurance. This provides liability coverage that travels with you, not the vehicle. It can give you peace of mind when driving a rented, borrowed or temporary vehicle.
- If you frequently rent cars for business or leisure, non-owner insurance may save you money versus paying for rental car company insurance each time. Just check that the policy covers rental vehicles before purchasing.
- When borrowing a vehicle from someone you know, non-owner insurance supplements the owner’s existing policies Liability. Their insurance still covers the car itself, while your non-owner policy provides coverage for you as the driver.
The bottom line is that standard auto policies protect the vehicle, not necessarily the person behind the wheel. Why risk it—your financial and legal security is worth the investment!
Same goes if you have to drive a rental car for work. Whether it’s a short business trip or you’re temporarily relocated, your auto insurance will transfer to the rental for liability and physical damage coverage. The rental company’s policy will only kick in if your own coverage is insufficient.
If you sell your car, your auto insurance coverage will end when the new owner takes possession. However, if you’re between vehicles for a short time, most insurers will extend coverage to rental cars or vehicles you borrow, for up to 30 days. This prevents a lapse in coverage in case you’re involved in an accident.
In all these situations, the vehicle owner’s policy may also provide some coverage, but your own auto insurance is primary. However, you must ensure to have adequate coverage limits on your own policy in case you ever need to rely on it while driving another vehicle. Your insurance follows you, so choose wisely!
Does Full Coverage Insurance Cover Other Drivers?
When you purchase full coverage auto insurance, it covers the policyholder – meaning you, the driver – not the actual vehicle itself. So if you lend your car to a friend or family member and they get in an accident, your insurance policy will not provide coverage for the damages.
- Your auto insurance covers other drivers specifically named on the policy. If someone else is driving your car and gets in an accident, their insurance (if they have a policy) would be responsible for the damages, not yours.
- The only exception is if the other driver has your explicit permission to drive the vehicle. In that case, your full coverage may extend to them, depending on your insurance provider and policy details.
Allowing an Unlisted, Uninsured Driver to Use Your Vehicle is Risky
Loaning your car to someone not listed on your insurance policy is risky because if they get in an accident, the costs could fall on you. Their insurance likely won’t cover damages to your vehicle, and your insurance won’t cover an unlisted driver. You could be left paying for repairs or even replacement of your car out of pocket.
- The safest option is to only allow listed, insured drivers to operate your vehicle. If you do loan your car to someone else, check that they have their own valid auto insurance first. You may also want to consider temporarily adding them as a driver to your own policy.
- While it may seem inconvenient, protecting yourself financially is worth the extra effort. Paying for uninsured damages or medical bills after an accident could end up costing you thousands of dollars.
When in doubt, contact your insurance provider to make sure you understand exactly who and what is covered under your full coverage auto insurance policy. It’s better to double check before an accident happens rather than risk being left with bills to pay.
Permissive vs Non-permissive Use: What is the Difference?
With a permissive use auto insurance policy, any licensed driver you give permission to drive your car is covered under your insurance. This means friends, family members, or anyone else you lend your keys to is covered in the event of an accident. The coverage and limits on your own policy will apply to the other driver.
A non-permissive use auto policy only provides coverage for the specific named insured driver(s) listed on the policy. If you lend your vehicle to another driver and they get into an accident, your insurance will not provide any coverage for them or the vehicle. You would be solely responsible for the damages. This is the more restrictive option but can save money on premiums since the insurance company is taking on less risk.
- Permissive use is more flexible but typically costs more
- Non-permissive use only covers named drivers so is cheaper but less flexible
- Consider how often you lend your vehicle to others when choosing
- Certain states mandate permissive use, check with your local regulations
Will My Car Insurance Cover Me in Another Car?
In most cases, your auto insurance policy will not cover you when driving another vehicle. Coverage usually follows the vehicle, not the driver. So if you borrow your friend’s car and get in an accident, your own auto policy will not provide coverage. However, there are a few exceptions and additional details to keep in mind:
- Liability coverage will not transfer to the vehicle you’re driving. The insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver.
- The coverage limits on the vehicle you’re driving will apply. If the other vehicle has lower coverage limits than your own policy, you’ll only receive up to the lower amount.
- Regular drivers of the vehicle you borrow still need to be listed on the insurance policy. If you frequently drive another vehicle, you’ll want to be added as a named driver to ensure proper coverage. Anyone living in your household needs to be listed on your policy or excluded.
- Exotic or high-value vehicles may not be covered under a standard auto policy. Check with your insurance provider beforehand if borrowing a pricey sports car or luxury vehicle.
- Coverage will not apply if you rent a vehicle for commercial purposes or operate a vehicle without the owner’s consent.
If I Get Hit by Someone Without Insurance, Am I Covered?
Unfortunately, if an uninsured driver hits you, your own auto insurance policy typically won’t cover the damage to your vehicle unless you have full coverage. However, there are a few options you can explore to recover your costs.
File a claim with your own insurance
Even though your insurance won’t pay for repairs if you have liability only, filing a claim will document the accident. This establishes an official record of the incident which may help with the other steps below. Your insurance company may also be able to provide advice for next steps to take. You should consider purchasing uninsured motorist property damage if purchasing liability only. UMPD covers your car’s damage if a known uninsured motorist hits your car. If it’s a hit in run the UMPD coverage will not cover your car because it has to be a known uninsured motorist.
Sue the other driver
You have the right to pursue legal action against the other driver to recover damages. You can file a lawsuit against them to force them to pay for repairs and medical bills if anyone was injured. However, this option can be time-consuming and expensive. If the other driver has no insurance, they may have limited ability to pay a legal settlement.
See if your own policy has uninsured motorist coverage property damage
If you purchased uninsured motorist property damage coverage with your own auto insurance, it may help in this situation. This coverage reimburses you for damage caused by an known uninsured driver. However, it typically only pays out if the other driver is identified and proven to be at fault. Check your specific policy details to confirm if you have this coverage and what the requirements are to use it.
Key Takeaways: Auto Insurance in Illinois – Protecting Your Vehicle and Yourself as a Driver
When it comes to driving in Illinois, protecting yourself and your vehicle is of the utmost importance. Liability coverage protects you from the financial strain of injury or property damage caused to others. And, by not overlooking uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you can protect yourself in the event of an accident with an inadequately insured driver. Drive with confidence and peace of mind by choosing the right auto insurance tailored to your needs. Don’t wait until it’s too late, take action today to secure the protection you deserve for yourself and your vehicle.