Does Insurance Cover Someone Else Driving Your Car?

Sam Boyer
by Sam Boyer February 22, 2018 / No Comments

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.

Car Insurance applies to the vehicle

An insurance policy relates to the specific car you insure when you sign up for coverage. A standard policy follows the car, not the driver, because the vehicle is required by law to be insured if it used on public roads. 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 will kick in and pay for damages — so long as the car is being driven legally. If the car is stolen, if 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 — and, consequently, your insurance premium will likely climb. Anyone can borrow your car and be covered by your insurance, so long as they have your permission, have a valid licence, and are using it legally. If you find your premium going up, you can always compare car insurance from other providers to see if you can find it for less.

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Adding other drivers to your car insurance policy

If a friend or family member uses your car regularly, your insurer will require them to be added to your policy as a named driver. A friend who borrows your car once every few months will not need to be named on your policy, but a friend uses your car every Monday to do their shopping, for example, will be deemed a regular driver and your insurer will want to know about them. Their personal information and driving history will need to be recorded — the possible drawback here is that your insurer could decide to charge you more to cover additional named drivers, if the insurer evaluates their driving risk as higher than your own.  Again, if the premium goes up, evaluate a few new auto insurance quotes since different auto insurance providers will weight this differently.

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

It is possible to modify or add to a policy, to allow 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 — if you visit a friend in BC,  and you’re from Ontario, and you crash the car you borrowed from them, and the damages incurred are higher 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.

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 your situation changes or you have specific questions about your policy, you should speak to your insurer or broker before loaning out your car.

Photo: Matthew Henry (Burst)

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