From time to time, we all find ourselves in a position where we need to borrow or lend a car to someone. You may need your parent’s car to get to university a few days a week, or perhaps you’re lending your Land Cruiser to a friend for the weekend. Whatever the circumstances may be, letting someone else drive your car comes with some doubts and responsibilities.
Now, having the right car insurance can give you peace of mind when you’re driving your own car. But, one may be unsure how to answer the question, “does car insurance cover the car or the driver and can someone else drive my car?”
Several factors influence whether the answer to this question will be yes or no. Because of this, one must do a thorough comparison of car insurance quotes and policies before deciding on an insurance policy or handing over the keys to your vehicle.
Does Car Insurance Cover Other Drivers?
To answer this question, several factors must be considered. In terms of the vehicle insurance policy, one has to take into account the type of plan chosen as well as the designated regular driver for the car. Additionally, one has to consider the actual driver and, in the case of an accident, who will be responsible.
What is a Regular Driver and How Does This Affect Your Car Insurance?
A regular driver is considered to be the person who drives the motor vehicle most frequently. This title comes independent of whether this individual owns the car.
Naming the correct regular driver is vital as the insurance company will build a risk profile for the regular driver. This profile will be influenced by the regular driver’s age, experience, and more. The risk profile is used to determine the insurance premiums to be paid each month.
What Happens if you Haven’t Named the Correct Regular Driver?
There are several possible outcomes in cases where the incorrect person has been named as the regular driver.
In some instances, the insurance company may review the risk profile of the individual who was driving. This profile will then alter the insurance claim paid out. It’s also likely that a penalty fee or even additional excess fees will be charged.
Alternatively, the claims process may result in the insurance provider denying (repudiating) the claim.
So, Can Someone Else Drive My Car?
The answer to this question depends on various factors. Firstly, the correct regular driver must be named on the insurance plan.
Additionally, it is the car owner’s responsibility to ascertain whether the user of the vehicle has a valid driver’s license. This is because it’s illegal to drive without one in South Africa.
One must also enquire as to whether the individual using the car has a history of reckless driving. Not doing this, or letting someone with a bad driving record use your vehicle, will lead to negligence on the car owner’s part.
If the aforementioned is in check, there is a good chance that someone else driving your car will be covered. But, you may now be wondering who will be held responsible if this other person has an accident in your vehicle.
What Happens if Someone Else is Driving My Car and Gets in an Accident, Who is Responsible?
When someone is in an accident, there are certain things your insurance company will pay for (depending on your plan) if the claim is accepted. But, in the case of excess or penalty fees, there may be some confusion as to who will be held responsible.
If the correct regular driver has been named and your insurance company does not require you to inform them of any other driver’s using your car, then the insurance company should accept the claim.
However, it is advised that you inform your car insurance provider of any infrequent drivers. This will allow them to keep the risk profile up-to-date which will help ensure a smooth claims process.
If you give someone without a valid driver’s license permission to drive your car and they are in an accident, your insurance provider will not accept the claim. This is also a possibility if you allow a reckless driver to use your car as this is considered as negligence on your part.
The type of car insurance plan is another influencing factor with regards to what is covered and who is responsible. In South Africa, there are three overarching types of insurance options available:
- Third-party only: This type of insurance will only cover damage or loss to a third party or their car in the event of an accident. Thus, your insurance will pay out funds to the third party but damage to your vehicle will not be covered.
- Third-party, fire, and theft: This goes one step further than the previous option. In this case, your car will be covered if it is damaged due to a fire or if it’s stolen. In South Africa, vehicle crime is an issue and it’s advised that you are covered in the event of a hijacking or theft.
- Comprehensive cover: As the title suggests, this insurance option offers full coverage. Any damage or loss to a third party or yourself will be covered. Additionally, loss through theft of fire will be taken care of as well.
Final Thoughts on Whether Car Insurance Covers Other Drivers
Car insurance is a necessary evil, especially if you are letting someone else use your car. It isn’t necessarily guaranteed that driver insurance will cover someone else using your vehicle. To minimize the possibility of this, remember to consider the following issues.
Your insurance provider should always be up-to-date in terms of the regular driver of your vehicle as well as any other drivers using the vehicle. It is your responsibility as the vehicle owner to ascertain whether the driver has a valid driver’s license and a good driving record.
You should be aware of the type of insurance plan that you’ve taken out on your vehicle so that you know what will be covered in the event of an accident. Finally, as the owner of the vehicle, it will be your responsibility to cover the excess fees of an insurance claim.