Who can drive my car?

Insurance question - who can drive my car?

If you give a person permission to drive your car then you are in fact lending out your insurance along with it.

The person who drives your vehicle must meet a few basic conditions. These are:

  • The driver must be authorized by law or qualified to drive the vehicle.
  • The driver must be of legal age to have a driver's license or permit.
  • If a member of the household the driver must not operate the vehicle while license is suspended or while the right to obtain a license is suspended or while prohibited by any court from driving or operating a vehicle.
  • The driver cannot use the vehicle for illicit or prohibited trade or transportation.
  • The driver cannot use the vehicle for racing or for speed testing.

An interesting situation arises when you leave someone sitting in your vehicle while you quickly run into the convenience store. The weather might be cool so you leave the keys in the vehicle with the engine running to keep the car warm. Now the passenger moves over to the driver's seat and goes for a little "spin". This adventure ends badly when the driver hits another vehicle due to a reckless left turn.

What will happen with the insurance? The insurance company can look at this situation as you have given "implied consent" to the passenger by giving him/her access to the vehicle with the keys in the ignition. Now your insurance will view this claim as an at-fault accident and it will likely affect your driving record. You will face a fairly large deductible for your collision repairs and on renewal will have an increased premium.

If you charged the passenger with theft and if the person was convicted then it would be regarded differently by the insurance company. Now the lower deductible under Specified Perils or Comprehensive coverage would apply. Also, your driving record is not affected by the a thief taking your car and having an accident. It does seem a bit harsh if that passenger is a friend.

Another situation that has occurred is when someone offers to pick up some ice for you when you are at a house party. This person has not been drinking and seems to be well thought of by the people around him. So you hand him your keys and say, "thanks".

When my sister-in-law did this she paid a high price. The Good Samaritan didn't have a driver's license that was in force. When he was pulled over due to going a bit fast in a playground zone the vehicle was seized. The vehicle sat in the impound for 30 days. My sister-in-law had to pay the charges which amounted to hundreds of dollars.

Did I mention that she was a recent widow with three children, two of which had to be driven to school each day? Oh, and she lived in a small town an hour and a half away from where she was visiting. The judge had no sympathy for her plight. She had to depend on friends and neighbours to drive her children to school and pick them up. Getting groceries and just getting by for that 30 days was very difficult. If a judge is not going to give sympathy to a young widow with three children just how likely do you think it is that you will get the 30 day impound waived?

The rule of thumb is not to lend out your vehicle. You may know the driver well but you cannot foresee what happens once that vehicle is out of your control.

It is of particular importance that a person in your household who may have an SEF 8 or SEF 28 endorsement on your policy never has access to the vehicle. The insurance company has restricted any insurance coverage for that driver. You could find yourself in the courtroom being told that you have to sell your home to cover the debt that is now owed due to their accident with your car. Control access to your keys.