Throughout your life you will probably lend your car to someone, whether it is a friend, a family member, or even someone from work. This can be a kind gesture, and can often help someone out when they’re in a pinch. We often neglect to consider the legal and logistical aspects before handing over the keys. The implications of lending a car to someone can seem simple, but the implications can be negative. It is important to understand the concept of permissive use, as well as the potential legal ramifications of lending a car to an unlicensed driver.
What is Permissive Use
When you lend your car to someone and you give them explicit permission, you are transferring your insurance coverage to that individual for the duration of their use. This means that if an accident were to occur while the car is being driven by the borrower with their consent, your insurance policy should cover the damages and injuries resulting from the accident. An easy way to remember this is that the insurance goes with the car, not the driver.
However, it is important to note that the coverage provided during permissive use may be subject to certain conditions, such as the borrower having a valid driver’s license, being of legal driving age, as well as adhering to the terms and limitations of your insurance policy. Any deviations from these conditions can create legal hiccups, leading to partial coverage, or even a denial of coverage for an injury claim.
Legal Ramifications of Lending to an Unlicensed Driver
Lending your car to an unlicensed driver can have severe legal consequences. Driving without a valid driver’s license is illegal in the state of Utah, with a $750 fine, as well as the option for the police to impound your car. By allowing an unlicensed driver to operate your vehicle, you may be held liable for any accidents, injuries, or property damage that they may cause while driving your car.
Letting someone borrow your car without a valid driver’s license can be an extremely irresponsible decision. An insurance company may try to deny coverage when an accident with an unlicensed driver occurs, leaving you responsible for all liabilities, including legal penalties, and fines.
To minimize the risks associated with lending your car, it is essential to take certain precautions.
Ensure the Borrower Has a Valid Driver’s License
Make sure to take the time to verify that the person you are lending the car to holds a valid driver’s license. Check the expiration date and any specific restrictions, such as learner’s permits or restricted licenses.
Review Your Insurance Policy
Familiarize yourself with your insurance policy’s terms and conditions regarding permissive use. If you are intending to lend your car to a family member for a long period of time, your insurance may require you to add them as another driver on your policy. Make sure to contact your insurance provider to clarify any doubts or discuss any additional options.
Set Clear Boundaries and Expectations
Make sure you establish guidelines for the borrower, including specific driving restrictions, tine limits, and prohibiting against lending your car to others.
Maintain Routine Maintenance and Insurance Coverage
Regularly service your vehicle, ensure that it is in good working condition, and make sure to maintain adequate insurance coverage to protect against potential accidents.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident it is important to seek counsel from a car accident attorney. Contact the car accident professionals at LifeLaw Personal Injury today for a free consultation to discuss your options.