Imagine this: you’re planning an epic road trip across Canada with a few friends. You have a driver’s license but no car. Because you have no car, you obviously have no auto insurance. Your friend volunteers his car for the road trip but insists that you share the driving responsibilities despite not having insurance. Are you covered by their insurance?
The short answer is yes; in most situations, auto insurance follows the vehicle. As long as you meet certain conditions, you will be covered by your friend’s auto insurance policy while driving his car.
In order to be covered by your friend’s auto policy, you must hold a Canadian driver’s license (some provinces require you to hold a provincial license of the same province in which the vehicle is registered), you must have the owner’s permission to drive the vehicle and you must use the vehicle in an acceptable manner—no crimes, no drag racing, etc.
From a car owner’s point of view, having a non-insured driver driving your vehicle doesn’t seem like a big deal. They have a driver’s license, they promise to be careful, and maybe they’ve even promised to pay for any damages they might cause.
However, since the car owner is essentially letting the non-insured driver “borrow” his auto insurance, any accidents, damage, etc. that occur while he is driving could affect the owner’s auto insurance rates.
While on that epic road trip, if you, the uninsured driver cause an accident resulting in $10,000 worth of damage, your friend would be understandably upset. Not only would the car owner likely be responsible for the deductible in that situation, he could see his insurance rates rise—perhaps dramatically—because of a claim.
Finally, make sure the uninsured driver knows where to find the vehicle’s registration papers and insurance information. If the borrower is in an accident or is stopped by the police, these items are essential, despite him not being the owner of the vehicle. To mitigate the chances of getting pulled over, both the lender and borrower should verify the vehicle’s roadworthiness before heading out on the road.
In a different scenario, say one where your uninsured significant other is asking to drive your vehicle, consider whether or not this person will be regularly borrowing your vehicle. If you are frequently lending your vehicle to the same person, they could be considered an occasional driver from your auto insurance company’s point of view, not a borrower. Occasional drivers should be added onto an auto insurance policy to ensure coverage.
As a general rule, you’re safe to drive someone else’s car if you don’t have your own auto insurance. As long as you’re a licensed driver, driving responsibly and have the car owner’s permission, you’re probably good to go. If you’re still unsure or nervous about whether or not you are covered by their insurance, contact the owner’s auto insurance broker for more information.