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Who can drive my car under my insurance?

Allowing others to drive your car is always a risky proposition, but it isn't uncommon. Before letting anyone else operate your vehicle, you should be sure you have the right level of insurance coverage to protect you.

Can someone else drive my car under my insurance? The short answer: Yes. Your auto insurance covers your car, not the person driving it. If someone borrows your car and crashes it, your insurance will cover the losses — however, your premiums may increase. But just because you can, doesn't always mean you should.

Let's take a look at the risks associated with allowing others to drive your car, how it impacts your car insurance and what you need to do to protect yourself.

Car Insurance applies to the vehicle

An insurance policy relates to the specific car you insure when you sign up for coverage. By law, a car must have insurance if it will be driving on public roads. A standard auto insurance policy follows the car, not the driver. If someone other than the car’s owner, or the person named on the policy, borrows the car and is involved in a collision, in most cases insurance will pay for damages. Of course, only if the car is being driven legally. If the car is stolen, or the driver doesn’t have a license, or if it’s being used for illegal activity, coverage will likely be voided.

Impact on your car insurance premium

When you share your car, you also share your insurance. If they crash and are at fault, your insurance will cover the damage. However,  your auto insurance premium will likely climb, especially on renewal. With your insurance, anyone can borrow your car, so long as they have permission, a valid licence, and are using it legally. If you find your premium going up, you can always compare car insurance quotes from other providers to see if you can find it for less.

Adding other drivers to your car insurance policy

Your insurance provider will want to add a regular, but occasional, driver to your policy. A friend who borrows your car once every few months will not need to be named on your policy. However, a friend who uses your car every Monday to do their shopping is a regular driver. Inform your insurer to ensure coverage. If you add them, know their personal information and driving history is required. Also, if your insurer views their driving risk escalates the risk, expect to pay more to cover additional named drivers. Again, if the premium goes up, evaluate a few new auto insurance quotes since different auto insurance companies will weight this differently.

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Driving someone else’s car (non-owner driver insurance)

It is possible to modify, or add to an existing policy to give a driver the same policy terms they enjoy on their own car when they drive other cars — such as borrowed cars and rentals. This is called “non-owner coverage.” In provinces such as British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, a driver can buy this as a standalone policy. In other provinces such as Ontario, you can only buy this insurance as an add-on to your own auto insurance policy.

Drivers who rent or borrow cars regularly might consider this option if they want to carry more liability coverage. Let’s say you visit a friend in BC, and you’re from Ontario, and you borrow their car and are in a car accident. If the damages cost more than their car insurance policy limits, the remaining costs will fall on the you. In such cases, additional non-owner coverage would be beneficial as an endorsement to your Ontario car insurance quotes.

Driving someone else’s car in Ontario

In Ontario, you need to make sure you have specific Ontario Policy Change Forms (OPCF) on your policy. Usually, it comes standard on a comprehensive policy, but it’s worth double checking if you want to drive someone else’s car.

OPCF 27 is the big one that covers “Liability for Damage to Non-Owned Automobile(s) and Other Coverages When Insured Persons Drive, Rent or Lease Other Automobiles​.” In layman’s terms, this covers you when you against damages to someone else’s car and more specifically helps you avoid paying rental car insurance when at the car rental counter.

Ask your auto insurer – Can someone else drive my car under my insurance?

Of course, insurance rules can vary by policy, provider, and province. If you have specific questions about your policy, you should speak to your insurer before loaning out your car.