How You Can Be Liable For Loaning Your Car to Someone

handing over car keysGreg Coleman Law discusses scenarios that may occur when you allow others to drive your car, including whether you may or may not be liable for damages if an accident occurs.

One of the first steps after any collision caused by another’s negligence should be to call an experienced lawyer. A member of our firm's legal team is available to take your call 24/7. We can arrange for you to get answers to your legal questions in a completely free car accident consultation. If we determine you may have a case and you hire our services, there are no upfront costs to pay. We collect no fees unless we recover compensation for you first.

Car Insurance Goes With The Car

If you loan your vehicle to someone, you may be surprised to learn that you could be held liable for any damages that driver may cause to others while behind the wheel of your car. At the very least, this type of accident will likely cause a rate increase in your insurance premiums.

The reason for this is that insurance follows the vehicle, so if you lend your car, you are also, in effect, lending your insurance coverage as well. However, what will or will not be covered is more complicated and is based on multiple factors.

Who Pays For What?

Your auto insurance policy is designed to cover you, as the insured, but other scenarios involving the use of your car could include:

Members of Your Immediate Household

If a member of your household has an accident while driving in your car, and he or she is not listed as an excluded driver on your policy, the same coverage is provided as if you were driving the car. 

Permissive Use

If you gave “one-off” permission to a friend or someone else that is not an immediate member of your household, and they cause an accident, your insurance should still provide coverage for the damages. However, you need to prove that you gave permission for this person to drive your vehicle and that he or she does not use your car regularly.

If insured, your friend’s own policy should cover his or her medical expenses, up to the limits of that policy, and your insurance would provide secondary coverage. Additionally, if the accident was severe, and your policy limits are not sufficient to cover the medical costs of the other driver, then the at-fault driver of your car, if insured, may have to kick-in for the damages.

Listed Exclusions

If you have a family member or friend that you do not want to drive your car, you can list them as an exclusion on your policy. This protects you if he or she takes your car without your knowledge, however the reverse is also true. If you allow an excluded driver to operate your vehicle, then you may be liable for any damages he or she may cause in an accident.


If someone steals your car and causes an accident, you are not liable for the damages caused to others. However, you will still have to rely on your policy’s comprehensive or collision coverage to repair or replace your own vehicle.

Non-household Drivers

If you have a babysitter or other employee who may run errands on your behalf, you can add them to your insurance as a covered driver under your policy. However, different policies may determine what your liability might be if this individual’s negligence causes an accident while he or she is driving your vehicle. In this scenario, it is important to discuss the details with your insurance provider to understand what liability you could be assessed.

In all of these situations, fault is also a consideration. This is why you should contact an attorney after an accident involving your vehicle. Having legal representation on your side helps to ensure your best interests and legal rights are protected and that you are not assessed more liability than is appropriate.

Contact an Experienced Attorney For Legal Help After an Accident

At Greg Coleman Law, our Knoxville auto accident attorneys are available to provide answers to your legal questions following a car crash, even if someone else was driving your car, due to another’s negligence. We are prepared to determine whether you may have a valid case and if you do, we can represent you with no out-of-pocket costs. Since we operate on contingency, you pay no fees for our services unless we recover compensation on your behalf.

Call Greg Coleman Law. Free consultation: (865) 247-0080