You may have to reset your favorite radio stations and move your seat back into place after letting someone else drive your car. However, a more critical issue is whether your car insurance company will cover damage if someone else crashes your car.

The good news is that your car insurance company will likely pay to repair your car if it’s involved in an accident while someone else drives it. One key is whether the person has permissive use.

Now, you must be thinking about what permissive use means. Read the article and get the answers to all your questions.

Key Highlights
  • Car insurance covers other drivers regardless of who’s driving it at the time of the accident as long as the driver has permissive use.
  • Your insurance policy may not cover the car damage if the person driving your car is listed as an excluded driver on your car insurance policy.
  • If you don’t own a car but borrow your friend’s car, you might need non-owner car insurance.
  • A car insurance policy covers you if someone steals your car and gets into an accident.

Does car insurance cover other drivers?

Car insurance policies follow the car — not the driver behind the wheel.

So, typically your car insurance covers other drivers regardless of who’s driving it at the time of the accident as long as the driver has permissive use. Permissive use means that you permit the person to drive your car.

There are exceptions, though.

When does car insurance not cover a person driving your car?

There are times when an insurance company may not cover car damage when another person is driving your car.

For instance, you may not be able to file a claim if either:

  • The driver doesn’t have permissive use
  • The person is listed on your car insurance policy as an excluded driver

Here are other examples of when an insurance company may not cover you or you’ll have to pay a higher deductible if someone gets into a crash while driving your car:

  • “Named-driver-only” insurance policies cover only those listed on the car insurance policy and don’t extend coverage to permissive users.
  • “Step-down” insurance policies lower liability coverage to your state’s minimum requirements for permissive users, even if you pay for higher limits.
  • Double deductibles for collision claims when a non-named driver is at the wheel.
  • Insurance policy coverage won’t extend to a rental car.

Another thing to remember when you lend your car. If your friend gets into an accident with your car and you file a claim, your rates will likely increase because your car insurance policy covers the car. But if someone else gets a ticket while driving your car, the infraction will be charged to your friend because he operated the car.

If you want more detailed information, read “Insurance follows the car.”

Can you get car insurance if you don’t own a car?

If you don’t own a car but borrow your friend’s car to get around, you may want to explore non-owner car insurance.

Non-owner car insurance is typically an option for high-risk drivers. An insurance company may require extra liability coverage to maintain a driver’s license. People who frequently borrow cars can also get this coverage.

That way, you have continuous car insurance coverage, which an insurance company looks for when setting rates. If you have a gap of a few years of car insurance coverage, a company may charge you much higher rates than if you always have insurance.

Does my car insurance cover other drivers if my car gets stolen?

A car insurance policy covers you if someone steals your car and gets into an accident.

The thief’s car insurance company likely won’t pay for the damage. Instead, it will be up to your auto insurance.

However, your car insurance rates won’t increase since you didn’t give permission to another person driving your car and had nothing to do with the damage.

How do I file an insurance claim if a person driving my car causes a crash?

Your car insurance is generally the primary insurance that will pay for damages and injuries that your friend caused if you gave permission to drive your car.

Your collision coverage will handle damages to your car, but you have to pick up the deductible. Liability coverage insurance will handle the other driver’s medical bills and damaged car.

Your friend’s auto insurance will kick in if the car accident caused damage and injuries above your coverage level.

If someone else crashes your car, you should follow the same claims process:

  • Get driver information from others involved in the crash.
  • Take photos of the damage.
  • Report the accident to your car insurance company.

The insurance company will investigate the claim and you’ll get notified of the decision.

Your auto insurance will likely cover damage if your friend gets into an accident with your car, but that doesn’t mean you should hand over the keys. Make sure you’re comfortable giving someone else permission to drive your car and that you trust your friend to drive your vehicle carefully.

Frequently asked questions

What if someone took my car without permission and had an accident?

If someone took your car without your permission and got in an accident, you or your insurance would not be responsible for the damages that person caused to other people. Your insurance typically only covers drivers you permit to use your car.

What happens if a child takes the car without permission and causes an accident?

If your child took your car without permission and caused an accident, you can ask your insurance company to pay for the damage. But this may mean that you have to file a police report against your child, and you may still be responsible for paying for the damage as their parent.

Does insurance cover someone who drives your car without insurance and gets into an accident?

If the person you let drive your car does not have insurance, they will not be able to help pay for damage if there is an accident. Your insurance company will still cover the driver, but if the damage exceeds the policy limits, you may have to pay for the rest.

Laura Longero

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Laura Longero

Executive Editor

Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

John McCormick

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John McCormick

Editorial Director

John is the editorial director for, and Before joining QuinStreet, John was a deputy editor at The Wall Street Journal and had been an editor and reporter at a number of other media outlets where he covered insurance, personal finance, and technology.

Leslie Kasperowicz

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Leslie Kasperowicz

Managing Editor

Leslie Kasperowicz is an insurance educator and content creation professional with nearly two decades of experience first directly in the insurance industry at Farmers Insurance and then as a writer, researcher, and educator for insurance shoppers writing for sites like and and managing content, now at

Nupur Gambhir

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Nupur Gambhir

Managing Editor

Nupur Gambhir is a content editor and licensed life, health, and disability insurance expert. She has extensive experience bringing brands to life and has built award-nominated campaigns for travel and tech. Her insurance expertise has been featured in Bloomberg News, Forbes Advisor, CNET, Fortune, Slate, Real Simple, Lifehacker, The Financial Gym, and the end-of-life planning service.

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