Who's Covered to Drive Your Car?

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

Team LemonadeTeam Lemonade
Who's Covered to Drive Your Car?

Anyone who’s listed on your policy is covered to drive your car, as well as anyone you temporarily lend it to. However, if someone drives your car without your permission, any accidents they get into wouldn’t be covered.

Let’s take a spin through the nuances of who’s covered by your car insurance policy, plus consider some exceptions to keep in mind.

Who can drive my car?

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

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

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 if your friend briefly borrows 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! But we’ll get into the finer points of car lending in the next section.

Can someone drive my car if they are not on my insurance?

Yes, another person not listed on your policy typically can drive your car. If they get into a fender bender while borrowing your car, the accident would fall under your collision insurance, which covers damage caused by collisions with another car. 

However, 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!).

Your friend 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. 

Does car insurance cover the car or the driver?

Car insurance typically covers the car and not the driver—that’s why it’s okay to lend your car to a reliable third party every now and then.

This also means that any coverages your policy includes would extend to protect whoever is driving your car in the event of an accident. So, should your visiting aunt back into a Nissan Sentra in the grocery store parking lot, your collision insurance would still apply. Same goes for your comprehensive insurance, should she accidentally hit a deer while she’s borrowing your car.

But, as we mentioned above, just make sure that the other person is only using your car on a very occasional basis. If it were a regular thing, you’d need to add them to your policy to avoid running into coverage issues.

Are kids and family members covered under my 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?

Yes, they are—so long as you add them to your policy!

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 my 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 my insurance?

The following vehicles are covered under your policy:

  • 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 my insurance cover me if I 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! 

A few quick words, because we <3 our lawyers: This post is general in nature, and any statement in it doesn’t alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. You’re encouraged to discuss your specific circumstances with your own professional advisors. The purpose of this post is merely to provide you with info and insights you can use to make such discussions more productive! Naturally, all comments by, or references to, third parties represent their own views, and Lemonade assumes no responsibility for them. Coverage and discounts may not be available in all states.


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.