As a general rule, auto insurance follows the vehicle rather than the driver when it comes to Texas claims.
Borrowing a friend or family member’s car isn’t uncommon, but what happens if you get into an accident while driving someone else’s vehicle?
If you’re like most people, you’ve borrowed someone else’s car at some point in your life—for a quick trip to the store, when your car was in the shop, or even while doing a favor for that friend or family member. You hope to never be involved in a car accident when driving someone else’s vehicle, but what happens if you are? Whose car insurance is responsible for the damages—yours or the owner’s?
The truth is that, in Texas, car insurance follows the car—not the driver. That means that in most cases, if you’re in an accident while driving someone else’s car, the owner’s insurance will be on the hook for any resulting claims. However, this isn’t always the case. There are some exceptions to this general rule as you’ll read later in this article. Understanding how car insurance works is critical to knowing your rights, particularly if you are involved in a car accident resulting in injury.
Correctly filing a claim in this situation can be confusing, but understand that if you are injured, there is help available at no cost to you. By hiring a personal injury attorney on a no-win no-fee basis, you can ensure that your claim will be handled properly from beginning to end. Montgomery Law is a full-service personal injury law firm serving the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area. Our team works with victims of car crashes and other types of accidents, giving them peace of mind in knowing that someone is always looking out for their best interests.
We offer free consultations, and never charge a fee unless we actually recover money for you. To learn more about how we can help or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today at 214-720-6090 (local) or 1-833-720-6090 (toll-free), or email us 24 hours a day.
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What is a Permissive Driver?
In Texas, a “permissive driver” is someone other than the owner of a personal vehicle who has been given permission to drive it. A permissive driver can be anyone, but it is usually a friend, family member, a babysitter, or anyone else allowed to drive the vehicle with permission from the owner.
As a general rule, most Texas car insurance policies will cover both “named insureds” (those drivers specifically named in the insurance policy) as well as any permissive drivers. However, every car owner should check with their insurer to confirm that permissive drivers are covered under their policy. Some of the “discount” insurance policies offered in Texas specifically limit coverage of permissive drivers—or don’t cover them at all.
On the other hand, drivers who are not considered permissive drivers (or a named insured) are generally not covered by the owner’s insurance policy. This includes anyone who was not given permission to take or operate the vehicle, such as a person who steals the car or even a friend who borrowed a vehicle without permission.
If you are a permissive driver, then it’ll be the owner’s insurance policy that covers an accident—not your own car insurance. This is because, in Texas, auto insurance follows the car instead of the driver. It’s important to note, though, that if the owner did not have insurance (or if their policy does not provide enough coverage), you may still be able to file an underinsured motorist claim through your own insurance provider.
What Insurance Covers You as a Passenger?
If you are a passenger in a vehicle that was involved in an accident, insurance coverage will depend on who was at fault for the accident. Generally, either the driver of the car you were in or the driver of the other vehicle will be responsible for the accident, and their insurance policy will apply. However (as previously touched on), passengers may also be able to make additional claims through their own insurance policy in certain circumstances.
If you have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage on your own policy (and if you’re in Texas, you likely do), you or your attorney can file a PIP claim through your own provider in order to obtain up to $10,000 of no-fault coverage to cover any immediate medical bills and time away from work.
In cases where the at-fault driver does not have insurance coverage (or their policy limits are inadequate), you or your attorney can also file an uninsured and/or underinsured motorist coverage claim through your own insurance policy in order to ensure that you are fully compensated for your losses. If your spouse or parents have a policy covering you as a driver, you may be able to file a UM/UIM claim through their policy as well.
With most motor vehicle accidents, fault is usually pretty clear and dry. If liability is unclear or contested, you or your attorney will likely need to include all potentially-responsible parties in your claim or risk the entire claim being denied. Even if liability is clear, it’s strongly recommended that you first consult with an accident injury lawyer before making any recorded statements to insurance.
Our Dallas Car Accident Lawyers Can Help
Dealing with insurance companies can be stressful and complicated. Understanding the terms and conditions of your policy can be overwhelming, especially when an accident claim involves multiple parties and overlapping coverage. This is where the help of a skilled car accident lawyer can make all the difference. Not only can we help you understand your rights and your options moving forward, but we can handle your entire claim on a no-win no-fee basis.
The insurance company is never on your side, as their goal is to pay out as little as possible on every claim. They will find any reason to deny your claim, and will never offer an unrepresented claimant anything close to the true value of their total damages. Our job is to make sure you get the medical attention you need, to examine the applicable insurance policies, and ultimately help you maximize your potential recovery.
At Montgomery Law, our Dallas lawyers work with insurance companies on a daily basis. While it may seem like the insurance company holds the upper hand, we’re here to level the playing field. Call us today at 214-720-6090 (local) or 1-833-720-6090 (toll-free), or email us anytime to schedule a free consultation.