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Sticky Scenarios- Borrowing Insurance

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susan_harr6 years ago

In a perfect world, everyone would have their own car and their own insurance policy. This, however, is not a perfect world- people get involved in crashes in their friend’s cars, lend rental cars to family members, and borrow cars and crash into people who have no insurance.

There is an endless array of types of auto accidents, and many of them do not involve two parties who own their vehicles and have insurance. So what happens when your best friend wrecks your rental? Or when you crash your step-dads truck? Even if all parties involved had permission to be using said vehicles, the outcomes are different based on the situation. Information below compiled from,,, and

Terms to Know:

Vicarious Liability: When someone lends you a car, or when you lend someone your car- the lender is taking on what is known in insurance-speak as “vicarious liability.” In other words, the person lending out the car is responsible for any bodily injuries or damages to property resulting from an accident involving their car. If the lender has insurance, their insurance will cover those damages.

Pro rata: Cases in which two people (or their insurance policies) share the cost of the accident are known as “pro rata.” This usually happens if the person driving the car is not the owner of the car and the damages exceed the insurance policy of the person who owns the car, and so the driver of the car must utilize his/her insurance to cover the rest.

Some Sticky Scenarios

You let your friend borrow your rental car and he/she was involved in an accident:

Most likely, the rental agreement listed the persons eligible to drive the car. If someone not listed crashed the car, it might not be covered. That means that you are responsible for damages your friend incurs.

Someone borrowed your car and was involved in an accident:

Most insurance coverage is connected directly to the car, so if someone else borrows your car occasionally, he or she should be covered under your policy. Why? Because your auto policy insures your vehicle plus “you, any relative, and anyone else using your car if the use is (or reasonably believed to be) with your permission.” In other words, you are taking on vicarious liability when you lend someone your car.

You borrowed someone’s car and were involved in an accident:

When you borrow someone else’s car and are involved in an accident, his or her insurance will kick in first. Once the limits on that insurance policy are exhausted, your insurance will kick in. This is an example of a Pro rata case.

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Thomas J. Henry is a personal injury law firm with offices in Corpus Christi, Texas and Houston, Texas representing accident victims nationwide. Our priority is to provide our clients with the best legal representation. Our experienced trial attorneys are committed to defending your rights in personal injury matters including auto accidents, trucking accidents, maritime accidents, and other catastrophic accidents. Contact our offices day or night, 24/7.


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