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Am I covered if I borrow my friend’s car?

Most people in Portland, Oregon and elsewhere have an idea of what’s covered and not covered under their various insurance policies. But at Fox Insurance Agency, we get a lot of questions about borrowing or loaning a car.

Now that winter is here, and you might be looking to borrow your neighbor’s truck for a home-improvement project or a trip to the local landfill, we thought it was a great time to provide a little more information.

Generally, insurance coverage follows the vehicle rather than the driver. So in most instances, as long as the owner of the car has insurance, it’s covered even if someone other than the owner is driving it — as long as they have the owner’s permission.

The borrower’s insurance is considered secondary, meaning that in the event of an accident, it could apply if the owner’s insurance is insufficient to fully cover the damage.

It’s important to note that there are some exceptions to what is called “permissive use” coverage. For example, permission must be given by the owner, unless the borrower has a reasonable belief that they are allowed to use the car. However, the borrower cannot give permission to someone else. So for example, if your teenager allows one of his or her friends to drive your car your coverage likely won’t apply.

Coverage might also be denied if the borrower operates the vehicle in a negligent or criminal manner. And if the borrower is using your car for business purposes, your personal auto policy likely won’t cover that.

If you have a regular long-term arrangement to either borrow or lend a car, the borrower should probably be added to the owner’s personal auto policy. Those who don’t own a car, but often borrow one, might also consider “named non-owner coverage,” an endorsement that provides bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motorists coverage and more.

Ultimately, it’s usually safe to loan your friend your car for occasional errands or projects. And the same goes for borrowing a car. Just make sure it’s for “normal” use. You’ll want to confirm that the car has coverage and that your insurance, whether you’re the owner or borrower, will apply.

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If you have any questions or needs be sure to call us at 503-277-2300 or send us a note at , Fox Insurance Agency are your local insurance experts serving Portland, Beaverton, and throughout the rest of Oregon and Washington.  We are always ready to assist you with your home insurance policy, auto insurance policy, and other insurance needs. You can also protect your property in the event of an earthquake with a personal earthquake insurance policy. Just ask our agents if your situation may benefit from a policy like this. You can also visit our insurance website 24/7 to see about the other insurance products we offer.