Does N.C. auto insurance follow the car or the driver?It happens all the time! You and a friend jump in your car and your friend wants to drive your car or maybe you ask your friend to drive your car since you are tired. Never once thinking of an accident happening, you hand over the keys. Suddenly, out of nowhere, you hear POW and you realize your friend just wrecked your car! Now you are wondering whose insurance will pay. So, does N.C. auto insurance follow the car or the driver?

Typically the auto insurance follows the car and NOT the driver of the car at the time the accident occurs. So, even though your friend wrecked your car, it still means your insurance will pay.

Exceptions to the Rule

The rule of thumb is that the insurance follows the car; however, there may be situations that the “at fault” driver’s car insurance could kick in. Suppose your friend is driving your car at 55 mph and runs a stoplight, resulting in very extensive damages and injuries to those in the other vehicle. If the claim payout for those damages/injuries exceeds the available limits on your auto policy, then your friend’s insurance may kick in as “excess” insurance.

The next exception to the rule involves “permissive use.” Permission to drive your car can be implied or expressed but must be established in order for there to be coverage. Suppose that your friend took the keys to your car when you were asleep and crashed your car. Would you say that your friend had permission to drive your vehicle? If not, then it could be argued that without permission, there would not be coverage. This concept of permissive use is not always black or white and sometimes falls in the gray area, leading to further investigation to establish implied, expressed, or no permission at all.

*If someone is a regular operator of your vehicle, you should discuss this with your insurance agent so that person could be added as a listed driver.

Will Your Insurance Rates Go Up?

If your friend drives and crashes YOUR car, then the responsibility falls with you. Since the auto insurance follows the car and not the person driving the car, the accident will rest on YOUR insurance history and MAY cause your car insurance to increase. The accident may ALSO show up on your friend’s driving record, especially if your friend was charged for the accident and there was a filed police report.

Words to the Wise

Before you hand over your keys, seriously consider to whom you are giving them! You have control over what YOU do when you drive your car, but when you allow someone else to operate your auto, you lose control over what actions he or she may do when they are behind the wheel of YOUR car! To learn more about auto insurance, contact Paramount Insurance Agency at 866-869-3335. We will be happy to assist you!