Does car insurance follow the driver or the vehicle?
Let’s say you’re in an accident in your own car. Your vehicle insurance typically will cover (up to a specific limit your) injuries, damage to your vehicle, damages the other vehicle and any injuries to the other parties involved -that’s pretty straight forward. But what if you are in an accident and you are driving a car that belongs to someone else? Or, what if someone is driving your vehicle and is in an accident? To what situations does your auto insurance apply?
Neither of these questions have an easy answer, but luckily, we can provide some insight.
What insurance policies follow the vehicle?
Comprehensive and collision auto insurance coverage will typically follow the vehicle. These insurance coverages pay for damages to an insured vehicle that is in the accident, as well as any damages to the other vehicle that is in the accident.
What insurance policies follow the driver?
In general, if you are insured and you are driving a vehicle belonging to someone else, your insurance coverage will follow you. In other words, if you are in an accident while driving a vehicle belonging to someone else, you will be covered by the insurance that you pay for, not the insurance coverage belonging to the vehicle's owner. Property damage coverage may also carry over when driving a vehicle that belongs to someone else.
Liability insurance coverage that is part of your personal vehicle insurance policy will follow you as well. Remember that all states, with the exception of New Hampshire, require liability coverage.
Medical pay and bodily injury also typically follows the driver, not the vehicle. This coverage pays for injuries that an insured driver or passenger may get in an accident.
Understanding your insurance coverage
The best way to really know the answer to the question “Does auto insurance follow the driver or the vehicle?” is to meet with your insurance agent and discuss the various types of coverage you have, and the various situations where you would lack coverage. Having a clear understanding of your coverage helps identify any gaps and allows you to make an educated decision regarding what policies you purchase.
Have you been in an accident where you didn't know if your auto insurance coverage carried over or not?