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One of the questions we are often asked is, “Who is insured to drive my car?”  A permissive user would be a third party to whom you give permission to use your car, such as a co-worker. Washington auto policies are not equal, and you should be aware that some auto insurance coverage may limit permissive users. The hidden danger occurs when the person you permitted to use your car then allows another person to use the car without your knowledge.

Before you lend your car to anyone, you should review your coverage or contact our office and have us provide an analysis for you. The following claim involved an accident involving a non-permissive user. Please note this was not one of our clients.

The case concerned two vehicles involved in an auto accident. The driver of one of the vehicles was the teenage boyfriend of the insured’s daughter. He was driving the insured’s vehicle without permission. In addition, the teenage male did not have any automobile insurance of his own. The driver of the other vehicle was also injured, and the investigation revealed that the teenage male was at fault. As a result, the owner’s insurance company was attempting to deny the claim, stating the responsible driver did not have permission to drive, therefore limiting coverage. Fortunately, the courts ruled against the insurance company and the claim was eventually paid. It is our hope that a phone call Craven insurance to will resolve any questions before something like this occurs.

Just who is covered to drive your vehicle?

The driver must either be specifically listed by name on the Whidbey Island or Lake Stevens automobile insurance policy, listed by category on the policy (i.e., household member), or fall under the category of a permissive user. Again, a permissive user is someone to whom you give permission to drive your vehicle. Some examples might be:

  • A family member not living in the household
  • A Mechanic
  • Your Neighbor
  • Someone who is test driving the vehicle prior to purchase

The issue comes into play when someone to whom you give permission to use the car, in turn allows another person to use the car (see above example). In most cases, that person is not permitted to drive and coverage could be reduced or limited in the event of an accident. It is possible that if your friend borrows your car and gets into an accident, your friend’s insurance policy might cover some of the damages, but that is not guaranteed either.

Currently with offices on Whidbey Island and Lake Stevens, Washington, we are expanding into the rest of the Western United States. Our roots remain deep and strong, protecting the assets of you, our valued client.