Skip to content

Car Insurance and a Borrowed Car

    2 minute read

    If I let my friend drive my car, is he covered under my insurance or his?  As with all questions regarding coverage, it depends on the language of the policy.  For most policy forms used in the U.S. however the answer would be yes and both.  Typically your policy would provide coverage for anyone driving your car with your permission (if you are the policy holder) and your friend’s policy provides coverage for use of a borrowed (“non-owned”) auto.  You policy would not, of course, provide coverage for a driver which you had excluded and may not provide coverage for residents of your household not listed on the policy.  More restrictive policies may only cover liability coverage, and not cover the car itself.

    That begs the question; if both provide coverage, which one pays?  The mantra used to sort this out is that “coverage follows the vehicle” or “coverage on the vehicle is always primary”.  That means that the policy naming the vehicle (yours) pays first.  If, for some reason, it will not pay or the coverage is insufficient then the coverage naming the driver (your friend’s) will pay. 

    For example, if your friend is driving your car and is in an accident which is determined to be his fault and causes injury to the other party of $20,000.00.  Your policy would pay first.  If your bodily injury liability limit per person is $15,000 your carrier pays that amount.  If your friend also has auto insurance with higher limits (bigger numbers) of $50,000 per person his insurance will pay the remaining $5000. 

    For more information, or to receive a free California auto insurance quote, please visit

    This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements. The definitions, terms and coverages in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.