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What Happens if I Wreck Someone Else's Car?

Oct. 12, 2022

It can be dangerous and costly to drive someone else's car if you get into an accident. Even if you drive carefully, unexpected things can still happen. Before getting behind the wheel of a friend’s car, there are a few crucial things to consider. Who is actually in charge if you get into an accident is at the top of that list. The following details your obligations and what Georgia auto insurers provide. 

What Do Most Insurance Companies Permit?  

“Permissive use” is a term used in many common insurance policies to describe the occasional use of a vehicle by drivers who are not named on the policy. “Regularly” is typically defined by insurers as occurring less than 12 times per year. Even though car insurance usually covers the vehicle and not the driver, if you drive the car more frequently than 12 times per year it is wise to be on the insurance policy. 

Who is Responsible for Damages? 

Consider the following factors to determine who is in charge of payment for repairs or pain and suffering if you are operating someone else's vehicle.  

Was There More Than One Car Involved?  

If you cause a collision in your friend's car, his insurance company will probably cover the costs of repairs. However, your insurance company may be required to make up the difference if the total cost of the damages is greater than the policy's maximum. Let's say, for instance, that you are operating a friend's vehicle. If you cause an accident, you will be held liable for $15,000 in damages. Your insurance policy can then be used to cover the remaining $5,000 in damages if your friend's insurance policy only covers vehicle damage up to $10,000. 

Was There Only One Vehicle Involved in the Wreck?  

Your friend's insurance will pay for vehicle damage if you are involved in a single-car collision if collision coverage is present. In the event that you crash into a tree, pole, house, or other object, collision insurance will protect the car. The insurance provider covers the balance of the repair costs after the deductible has been paid. 

Did You Drive Your Friend’s Car Without Permission? 

A friend's car could be taken without his consent, in which case you might be regarded as a non-permissive user. Any harm will be your responsibility. The cost of the damages may be covered if you have collision insurance. 

What Will Insurance Cover? 

The coverage of an insurance policy could consist of: 

  1. Collision coverage: After the deductible, this pays for car repairs. 

  2. Bodily lnjury coverage: In the event of an auto accident, bodily injury liability insurance pays for the injuries or fatalities of third parties. 

  3. Property Damage coverage: If you cause damage to someone else's property, this insurance policy will pay out. 

  4. Medical Payments coverage: Regardless of who is at fault, the driver's medical costs will be paid. Usually, the amount that will be covered has a cap. Depending on the insurance company and the insurance policy, different coverage amounts apply. 

What Auto Insurance is Required in Georgia? 

The Georgia Department of Driver Services mandates property damage and bodily injury liability coverage for anyone who owns and operates a vehicle in Georgia. The minimum insurance coverage requirements for each vehicle that a driver must have to be legal are shown below, but the minimum limits are generally known as “25/50” coverage. We’ll explain: 

The policy will cover up to $25,000 for each person who is hurt in an accident and receives compensation for their injuries. This is the maximum any one person may receive under the policy. 

The auto policy will pay a maximum of $50,000, regardless of how many people are involved or hurt in the accident. Therefore, not everyone hurt in the accident will receive the full amount, despite it being the maximum. They might get considerably less. $50,000 is the total the amount the policy is required to pay, regardless of how many people are injured in the accident. 

Finally, the most a basic policy will pay for any damaged property, including vehicles, as a result of an accident that is covered is $25,000. 

Of course, these are only the minimum requirements to be legal in Georgia. A car owner may purchase much larger limits. Be sure to know the policy limits before negotiating with any insurer. 

Be Careful When Driving a Vehicle You Do Not Own

Especially if you are uninsured, it is always a good idea to consider the potential ramifications before borrowing someone else's vehicle. Georgia law classifies driving without insurance as a misdemeanor. That misdemeanor may result in a fine, a license suspension, or even jail time if you are caught. Examine both your insurance policy and your friend's insurance policy before deciding to borrow a friend's vehicle. To get any questions about what is covered by the various policies, it is even better to speak with your insurance agent or insurance provider. Accidents do, however, occur. Please contact The Jewkes Firm's lawyers if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident. We can assist.