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Liability For A Borrowed Car

crash
feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Someone borrows your car and crashes it. Who pays?

When a 6-year-old Pennsylvania girl wanted to visit her father in another town in the middle of the night, she grabbed her mom’s car keys, and drove off. The girl drove about half a mile before hitting three parked cars and a pole. Luckily, she was not hurt – no word on how she’ll be after her mom gets done with her. And no word on how her mom will be after the insurance company gets done with her.

Will they pay for the damage to the other cars?

In general, a policy covers you and members of your household who drive the car and anyone who has your permissive use. That is, if you lend your car to someone who gets into a crash, your insurance pays (and your rates go up). But insurance policies are written differently, so check your policy before you lend your car to anyone. Even if it does, they will argue they’re not liable if ever you lend your car to an unlicensed driver or even one much less experienced than you, the person on whose driving record the rates were based.

So, lock away the keys lest a crash take a big bite out of your allowance.