If you think your child is old enough to drive but they haven't gotten their license yet or you have a friend without a license who really needs to get somewhere, you might be tempted to let them borrow your car. While you may trust them to drive safely and bring it back in one piece, you aren't off the hook if something were to happen while they were driving. Here's what could happen if you let an unlicensed driver drive your car.
What Happens to Your Insurance?
Car insurance typically extends to people who you allow to borrow your car. That's why it can be hard to find a policy that doesn't require all driving age adults at a residence to be on the policy or to at least provide proof of a policy even if they're unrelated roommates.
However, if the person you let borrow your car did not have a valid license and caused an accident or other damage, your insurance would be unlikely to provide any coverage. There is usually a rider in the policy requiring that borrowers have a valid license.
Whether or not the insurance company does provide coverage, there is also a strong chance your policy will subsequently be cancelled for being irresponsible and allowing an unlicensed driver to drive your car.
Can You Be Sued Personally?
While a driver's insurance policy typically follows them when they rent a car or temporarily borrow another car, the owner of the car is generally liable for any accidents involving their car. This is why an owner must provide proof of insurance to register their car.
In an accident involving a borrowed car, a claim would typically made against both the borrower and the owner. The owner would then recover from the borrower.
The problem with an unlicensed driver is that they probably don't carry their own insurance, and if their personal assets aren't enough to satisfy a claim, the owner could be on the hook.
Is It a Crime to Let an Unlicensed Driver Drive Your Car?
If someone was injured while an unlicensed driver was driving, a prosecutor might try to charge the owner with reckless endangerment on the grounds that they should have known letting an unqualified driver drive was a serious risk.
To learn more about what happens if you let an unlicensed driver drive your car, talk to a law firm like Law Offices Of Timothy J Ormes.