Who's Covered to Drive Your Car?

Lending out your car? Here's what you need to know before you hand over those keys

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Who's Covered to Drive Your Car?

It’s football Sunday and disaster strikes: You’ve run out of cheese dip. Can your best friend borrow your car and run to the store? Before you toss them your keys you might wonder… ’Will my car insurance policy cover it if they’re in an accident?’

Car insurance protects the policyholder from paying the full costs of an accident, from damage to your car to medical bills. If you’re at-fault in an accident, your liability insurance protects the other driver. While you hope you’ll never file an insurance claim, if it does become necessary you want your insurer to pay out.

Who's Covered to Drive Your Car?
“Hey, you trust me, right?”

If someone gets into an accident who isn’t covered under your policy, you could be on the hook for the accident’s costs. Before handing someone else the keys to your car, find out who’s covered under your car insurance policy.

Here’s what we’ll discuss if you’d like to skip ahead:

Who can drive your car?

Who can drive your vehicle? For starters, anyone who’s listed on your policy!

Your auto insurance policy covers all listed cars and drivers. When getting an auto insurance quote, make sure to include all vehicles in your household and any household members who can drive. (Yes, that means the 2001 Honda Civic that’s basically gathering dust in the garage, and your 20-year-old son who occasionally borrows your minivan.) Even if they only drive once or twice a year… add them to your policy to avoid any problems in the future. 

Spouses don’t need a separate policy. However, if you’re not officially married but are engaged or cohabitating, your partner isn’t covered by default. Talk to your insurer about adding them as a “named driver.”

What about that friend who borrowed your car to go snag more cheese dip? If they got in a fender bender en route to the Wegman’s, will the damages to your car be covered by your policy? The answer is yes, if you’ve purchased the appropriate coverages! The accident would fall under collision insurance, which covers damage caused by collisions with another car. 

But the claim won’t be covered if that friend has regularly borrowed your car, or is living in your basement (another reason to tell your college bud to get his own place!).

They also wouldn’t be covered  if they don’t have your permission to drive the car; if someone steals and totals your car, they’re not covered. You should also probably get some new friends. 

Are kids and family members covered under your car insurance?

Yes! Any spouses or children with licenses or driver’s permits under the age of 19 can drive your car—but you have to list them as a driver on your existing policy. 

At Lemonade, you can list up to seven drivers on your insurance policy.

The moment your kid gets their learner’s permit, call up your insurer or log in to the app and add them. And great news… a permitted, learning driver will be added with no additional charge! Things get a little pricier when that teen becomes a fully licensed driver though: Expect to see your premiums increase when you add an additional driver, and since young drivers are high-risk, their age will also impact your car insurance costs.

What if your son or daughter goes away to college? 

Since a teen driver leads to higher car insurance rates, it’s tempting to consider dropping them from your existing policy if they’re away at school. But you’d have to remember to add them back during vacations and summer break. 

Are other household members covered under my auto insurance?

The ex-boyfriend sleeping in your home office until he gets on his feet again? Your cousin who’s in-between jobs and crashing on your couch? If they’re a licensed driver and they’re living in your house, you need to add them to your insurance policy. 

What if they don’t have a clean driving record, and adding them would send your car insurance premiums through the roof? Ask your insurance company about listing them as an “excluded driver.” This specifically excludes them from coverage in your car insurance policy, keeping your rates lower.

If someone drives your car on a regular basis, like a nanny, you should list them on your policy—even if they have their own insurance. 

Be honest when getting your car insurance quotes. Failing to list a driver that you should have disclosed could void your coverage if they’re in an accident while driving your car. That’s not worth it.

How does your auto insurance cover other drivers?

Exactly how would your son, daughter, or other listed household member be covered if they’re at-fault in an accident while driving your car? The following coverages would apply, but only up to the limits you selected when getting car insurance quotes. And you’d still have to pay any applicable deductible, of course.

Also keep in mind that you’re not legally obligated to carry all of the coverages below. If you skip some of them to save money on your premiums, you might find yourself in a tight spot later.

  • Liability coverage: This coverage pays for another person’s medical bills or damage to their car from an accident. 
  • Medical payments coverage: If the person driving your car was injured in the accident, this coverage would help pay for their medical bills. 

There are other types of insurance coverage you can select, but these are the main coverages in most auto insurance policies. 

Will the other person’s auto insurance cover any of the accident’s costs? 

In some cases, yes. If you picked minimum coverage limits when buying your policy, the accident’s costs could easily exceed them. 

Let’s say you loan your car to your friend, Sally. She doesn’t live with you, and doesn’t regularly drive your car, so she’s not listed on your policy—this is just a one-off thing. Sally also has her own car insurance policy. 

Sally gets in an unfortunate accident which leads to a $18,000 repair bill for the car she rear-ends. Your policy’s property damage coverage has a limit of $10,000. Sally’s auto insurance policy might make up the $8,000 difference.

Also, if Sally gets in a crash that was someone else’s fault, that person’s coverage would kick in to cover the costs, up to their policy limits (provided the other driver has insurance, of course).

What vehicles are covered under your insurance?

Okay, so you’ve got a great Lemonade Car policy. What types of vehicles are actually covered? Let’s dive in. 

  • Named vehicles: Any car specifically named on the declaration of your car insurance. 
  • Added vehicles: Any car or utility vehicle you purchase or lease that does not permanently replace an existing, covered car. The additional car in most cases may have the broadest coverage, but sometimes the vehicle is only covered if you notify your insurer within 30 days of purchase.
  • Replacement vehicles: Any car or utility vehicle you purchase or lease that permanently replaces an existing, covered car. Some insurance companies cover you if you notify them within 30 days of purchase. A replacement car usually has the same insurance coverage of the car it replaces; if you need comprehensive or collision coverage and did not previously have it, you should call your insurance company ASAP!  
  • Temporary vehicles: Any car used as a temporary replacement (including a rental car) if your car is being repaired or is inoperable.

Does your insurance cover you if you borrow a car?

The short answer is: Yes, in most instances.

Let’s say you borrow a friend’s car, or you’ve rented a car (provided that the reason for that rental doesn’t have to do with your own car being in the shop due to a claimed incident).

In this case, your Lemonade Car policy will cover your liability while you’re behind the wheel of the borrowed vehicle. If the owner of the car itself has their own policy—and we certainly hope they do!—that policy will typically pay out first in the event of a claim. Your Lemonade policy will then be back-up, essentially.

Not all parts of your Lemonade Car policy extend to your use of a borrowed car, though.

If you’ve got comprehensive and collision coverage, both of those will carry over. However, temporary transportation coverage will not. You also won’t be able to take advantage of Lemonade’s roadside assistance services if you’re driving a borrowed car.

Before we roll out of here… 

Letting someone else behind the wheel of your car is a big deal. Whether it’s your spouse, kid, next door neighbor, or college bestie, be sure you fully understand your car insurance coverage, so you can hand them your keys with confidence. 

By the way, it’s extremely easy (and dare we say fun!) to get a Lemonade Car policy. Just click the big pink button below to get started. 

If you want more answers about what’s covered by your car insurance policy first, check out our article about car insurance coverages here

Drive safe! 


Please note: Lemonade articles and other editorial content are meant for educational purposes only, and should not be relied upon instead of professional legal, insurance or financial advice. The content of these educational articles does not alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. While we regularly review previously published content to ensure it is accurate and up-to-date, there may be instances in which legal conditions or policy details have changed since publication. Any hypothetical examples used in Lemonade editorial content are purely expositional. Hypothetical examples do not alter or bind Lemonade to any application of your insurance policy to the particular facts and circumstances of any actual claim.