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 much more critical issue is whether your car insurance company will cover damage if your 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 your car. One key is whether the person has permissive use.

Now you must be thinking what the permissive use means. Read on 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 to have non-owners car insurance.
  • A car insurance policy covers you if someone steals your car and then 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 gave the person permission 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 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 coverages 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 it’s your car insurance policy that’s covering 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 on this topic, 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-owners car insurance.

Non-owners car insurance is typically an option for high-risk drivers. An insurance company may require buying 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.

Non-owners insurance costs much less than a standard auto insurance policy. Car insurance companies charge an average of $474 for a non-owners insurance policy.

Also, divers with DUI convictions may be required to carry an SR-22.

An SR-22 is a certificate of insurance for drivers who have been convicted of serious driving offenses, such as DUIs, reckless driving and driving without insurance. A state may require that drivers convicted of those offenses file an SR-22 to keep their license and get behind the wheel.

The average cost of a non-owners policy with an SR-22 after one DUI conviction is $1,752.

Find out more about non-owner SR-22 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 then 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.