What happens if you are driving a friend’s car with permission, and you have an accident?
Let’s assume first, that you are the one at fault in causing the crash, and that people in another car are injured.
Believe it or not, your friend’s auto insurance is “primary” in this event (and your friend will not like it one bit).
In Tennessee, unlike some states, insurance “follows the car.” That means that his insurance will pay the occupants of the other vehicle (that you hit) for their pain, suffering, medical bills, and lost wages.
In the unusual event where your auto insurance is higher than his (and that there are enough damages caused to the occupants of the other vehicle), your insurance may also pay out additionally.
What if your friend’s car does not have insurance at all, and you are at fault in causing injuries? If you have auto insurance, it would be used next (and is called “secondary”).
As to the occupants of the other car, if they have higher insurance (in either case), they can use their Uninsured Motorists (UM) insurance as well.
What if you are instead the victim, and did not cause the accident at all? Whether you are in your friend’s car or not, the situation just reverses.
The owner of the other car (or company who owns the company truck, etc) is primary. The driver’s policy is secondary. Also, there is still UM coverage potentially.
If someone has taken the car without permission (“joy riding”), the owner’s insurance usually stops at that point.
That is yet another good reason to carry lots of UM coverage, because there are many car-jackers, joy riders and “hit and run” drivers all over our area.
UM policies (the higher the better) are the best and cheapest way to protect your family.
You need UM auto insurance. Let no one tell you differently.
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