What happens if I let someone else drive my car?
Woman driving a borrowed car

Think about these questions... Do you know what happens if the person you lend your car to gets into an accident? Or, who’s actually allowed to drive your car in the first place?

There are situations when it might be convenient and helpful to lend your car to somebody else. Say, if your babysitter kindly offered to take the kids to the local pool, or your in-laws are visiting town and want to explore while you’re at work. It’s pretty common to occasionally let someone else drive your car, but it’s also pretty common to be unsure of the impact it could have on your insurance.

Will my insurance cover someone else to drive my car?

Generally, your car insurance should cover your vehicle when its being driven by someone that’s not on your policy, as long as the following things apply:

  1. The driver is licensed to drive in Canada and legally allowed to drive in the province or territory.
  2. You’ve given your permission (either verbal or in writing) that the person can drive your vehicle.
  3. The driver sticks to the rules of your policy. So, if your policy is only for private use, the driver can’t use your vehicle for a pizza delivery job.
  4. The driver is using your vehicle on an infrequent basis (more on this below).

How often can someone drive my car before they should be named on my policy?

Every insurance company will have a slightly different stance on this. Legally, there isn’t an exact amount of driving time required before someone should be on your policy. As a safe answer, the driver should be using your vehicle less than once a month. So, if your friend is asking to borrow your vehicle to get to his twice-weekly karate lessons, he should likely be added onto your policy.If the driver has a learner’s permit, this can be an exception to the rule. Some insurance companies don’t require a learner driver to be added on to a policy, as they must be supervised by a driver with a full license.In any case, it’s best to reach out to your insurer for more information. Remember, your insurance is based on your vehicle and your driving record. If someone else gets into an accident, and it turns out they drive your car quite frequently, the claim can be denied. Check out your insurer’s guidelines on other people driving your car before you let someone behind the wheel.

What happens if someone gets into an accident while driving my car?

A common misconception is that the driver would be covered under your insurance, but that your driving record wouldn’t be affected. Unfortunately, this is only half correct. Your insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver, but this also means the claim will appear on your record. A claim on your record can affect your claims and driving history, and cause your premium to increase.Even if the driver isn’t responsible for the accident, you’ll still need to pay your deductible towards the claim.If you’re trusting someone to borrow your vehicle, you’re also trusting them to borrow your insurance policy. So, if you’ve worked hard to protect your squeaky clean record, be sure you lend to someone who’ll try just as hard to protect your car as you do.

Would my record be affected if someone got a ticket while driving my car?

Unlike car accidents, traffic tickets fall at the responsibility of the driver– not the owner of the vehicle. If you accidentally lend your vehicle to someone who is bad at sticking to speed limits, the ticket would impact their driving record. It’s unlikely that your driving record would be affected by their ticket unless their slip-up caused damage to your vehicle.

What should I do before I let someone borrow my car?

Before you hand over the keys to someone you trust, there are a few things you can do to minimize risk to your ride (and the driver).

  1. Make sure the person you’re lending to has a valid license.
  2. Confirm the 3 Ws: where your car is being driven, what it’ll be used for and who will be a passenger.
  3. Double check that the important functions are working, such as the lights, windshield wipers and signals.
  4. Show the driver where the proof of insurance and registration details are kept inside the car.
  5. Check the odometer before and after the trip. Sure, it should be expected that the driver will stick to the agreed use, but it can’t hurt to confirm it.
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