Unfortunately, 1 in 5 drivers are uninsured in the state of Texas. Understand who’s covered -and who isn’t- on your car insurance policy. Read on for tips on when to lend your car and when you should say no to handing over the keys.
Texas Car Insurance: Who’s Covered?
If you’re having to go through the nitty gritty details of your car insurance policy, it’s probably because you were just in a car accident. If you let someone borrow your car, or the other party doesn’t have insurance – it’s not time to fret yet. Read on to see what provision – if any – in your insurance policy could help you out.
Now is the time to become familiar with terms like:
Understanding the basics of insurance policies and uninsured drivers
If a driver allows another individual to drive the vehicle, the coverage remains active in Texas.
Some examples could include:
- You allow your friend to drive your car home from a night out because they volunteered to be designated driver. You ride in the passenger’s seat.
- You let your friend borrow your car to go to a dentist’s appointment.
These people aren’t specifically listed on your insurance policy, but they are covered under permissive use. There are some policies where permissive use wouldn’t apply in these situations. Before lending out your vehicle, it’s good to take a look at the details to be sure your policy allows permissive use.There are some important exceptions to permissive use coverage:
If your friend were to borrow the vehicle for business purposes, your policy may not provide coverage.
Think twice about letting someone with significantly less driving experience or a bad record use your vehicle. The car insurance policy you carry covers drivers similar to you – otherwise there would be a larger premium.
If you ever have a friend who presses you to let them borrow your car, be careful and tell them you can’t for insurance reasons.
In most cases an insurance policy will follow the vehicle, not the driver. But this is one of those exceptions. An excluded driver can be someone who is purposely excluded from an insurance policy. If an individual drives a car insured by a policy they are excluded from, neither the insurance company nor the driver can be held liable for the accident.There are a few reasons why a driver would be purposely excluded from a family’s policy. The primary reason is to reduce insurance premiums. An insurance company may exclude a driver who has had a DWI, had a bad driving record, or has made excessive claims. But a family might choose to exclude a teen. Excluding each of these drivers would keep insurance premiums down.
Getting into an accident with an excluded driver can hurt law abiding Texans just trying to do the right thing. You may have full coverage. Meaning if you cause a crash your insurance company will help you make the repairs, but you’ll have to pay the deductible and face higher insurance rates going forward.
A driver in Texas is required to purchase a coverage plan that covers at least
- 30k per person
- 60k per accident
- 25k in property damage per accident
An uninsured driver is a broader term. They might be someone who is an excluded driver on someone else’s policy. It’s also possible they could be driving a car that has no insurance policy on it at all.
What happens when someone else drives my car?
You want to let your friend take a turn as the driver on your road trip, or drive the car home because you’re too tired, have had one too many, or just want to let them borrow your car for a lift to the store. But the question is, should you let them borrow the vehicle?
If you’re wonder if your car insurance covers other drivers the answer is that in most cases, yes. Insurance policies are designed to provide coverage to those driving a vehicle. This is where permissive use comes into play. It is largely a myth that a car insurance policy follows a driver, but in some cases your insurance policy may cover you. Check to see if your policy covers you when renting a vehicle.
Don’t forget that excluded drivers are not covered by an insurance policy!
What happens when an unlicensed driver gets into a crash?
When an unlicensed driver gets into a crash, and the other party clearly caused the crash, the unlicensed driver can still pursue personal injury claims to make restore them to where they were before the accident.
That said, an insurance company will use any excuse they can not to honor the liability policy. If you or someone you know ever encounters this situation, seek out legal help immediately. It’s good never to take the risk – make sure your driver’s license and car insurance policy are always up to date. Driving without a license or insurance could put you in jail and responsible for a sizable civil “surcharge” as part of Texas’ Driver Responsibility Program.