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Are you covered by a family member's insurance when driving their car?

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Coverage under a Family Members car Insurance

If you are a listed, scheduled driver on your relatives insurance policy then yes you are covered. If you are not a scheduled driver then maybe you will be covered and Maybe you will not be covered.

An unscheduled permissive use driver can be covered for some types of claims so long as the permissive use was not in violation of the law or the insuring contract. In most cases if your friend across the street or relative from out of town, the occasional unexpected driver then yes you would be covered under permissive use rules and the owners liability under a standard form policy. If you are a household resident family member or a regular operator then you are required to be scheduled on the policy for coverage. Regulations will vary by state in the U.S.

Some of the low cost "Named Driver" policy offerings though economical for some, may not extend coverage to unscheduled drivers at all. Hence the policy form name. So make sure your getting the best coverage you can afford.

It's a good idea to review coverage from time to time, make sure it's the right coverage for you now and the foreseeable future. If economy was an issue when you purchased your last policy, when finances allow you may want to address any under-insured exposures and adjust limits to cover the reality of new risks or assets and other net worth exposures.

Call and ask questions if needed like the company policy on occasional and additional drivers, visiting guest and family members etc. Ask about Available coverage limits and policy upgrades with enhanced limits matching real asset and income protection exposures rather than state minimums. Accident claims often exceed state minimum limits leaving an insured exposed to future liens for losses beyond the policy limits.

Check on the latest offerings to make sure your getting their best rate plan and all available discounts for the coverage you need. They can also help you make sure all driver risks you face are properly covered.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
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Insurance Coverage. The answer below is incomplete. It is true that you should check with your carrier, but keep in mind, their answer will normally will result in getting more premium. With State Farm and Allstate you as a policyholder will always be covered, unless an excluded driver uses your vehicle. Otherwise you will be covered. If the driver who is involved in the accident lives in your home they will add the driver onto your policy, or exclude them in the future after the accident, regardless of who is at fault. If you are a new policyholder, you must disclose all drivers living in the household at the time you are purchasing the auto insurance, or run the risk of fraud. Autoclub will lower your liability to the state min. which is 15000/30000, regardless of what limits you have and are paying for. Mercury will try and get out of paying the claim until they get tired of you pushing them.

Mercury has to be one of the worst insurance companies one could have in the state of Ca.
The answer lies with your insurance company. If indeed they consider you an authorized driver/operator, they will be happy to provide a document to that effect. I think, however, that you will not be covered without being added to the policy by name. Everyone in my home that drives on our insurance has a card that states this.

More opinions and answers from other FAQ Farmers:
  • You have to check with your agent. Some companies such as Mercury, require that everyone in a household be listed as a rated driver or an an excluded person including small children.
  • There are several factors that need to be considered. "Family member" is a term rarely used on an automobile policy. My brother who lives across the country and probably doesn't even know the color of my car is a family member, but he MAY NOT be covered to drive my car. On the other hand, if he came to visit, borrowed my car and had an accident for which he is liable, those damages would likely be covered. Look for the term "resident relative" in your policy. That will dictate coverage questions for family members living within the same residence. The key here: is there someone either residing in your household or related to you and driving your vehicle frequently enough that they should be 'rated' so that your premium payment accurately covers your probable risk? (i.e., you may have a child that attends college away from home, but returns on major holidays and summer breaks.... you may have a sibling, down on their luck, waiting for finances to improve, but staying with you and using your vehicle to get to job interviews.) If you have non-standard coverage, the carrier will likely require you to list everyone in the household; those who do not have a valid drivers' license, or do not meet their underwriting criteria, will be specifically excluded.

The comments about Mercury Insurance and state limits are misleading. Not every state has the same minimum limits.

If you are carrying named driver limited lines coverage, 'covered drivers' takes on an entirely different meaning than on a standard policy form. On a standard policy form, nearly any licensed driver that drives your 'listed' vehicle WITH YOUR PERMISSION, is 'covered' while they are driving it barring insurance risk concealment fraud.

Generally, though there may be exceptions state to state or company to company, on a named driver policy, ONLY the 'listed' drivers are covered.

In Wisconsin, anyone to whom you give permission to drive your car is covered by your insurance. You can not exclude any driver here. The bottom line is, you need to check with an agent you trust in your state because the laws about who is hidden covered and who is not vary dramatically state to state.
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