After a car accident, the main concern is who was at fault and who will pay for damages. Thankfully, most of the time in Georgia, damages are covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, what happens if the person driving is not the owner of the car that was in the accident? Worse yet, what if that person is driving your car?
In this scenario, you might worry the insurance claim process becomes a lot more complicated. But if the car has valid insurance, it’s usually less important who is driving it. It’s actually one of the biggest auto insurance myths that the person driving is always responsible for damages. The most important factor is who caused the accident.
What if the Person Driving My Car Was at Fault?
If the person driving your car was at fault for the accident and there were damages, the other driver(s) would be able to file a claim with your insurance company. Even if you were not in the accident, your insurance will usually cover the damages if your car was involved and you either:
- Gave the driver permission to operate your car OR
- The driver is listed on your auto insurance policy
The person operating your car might wonder if their own car insurance applies in this situation. While the car insurance policy on your vehicle would apply first, the driver’s coverage may act as secondary insurance. If the damages exceed your own car insurance policy’s limits, the insurance of the person who was driving your car may be used to cover additional costs.
What Happens if Another Driver Caused the Accident?
When another driver causes an accident with someone else driving your car, the other driver is liable for damages. You would then have the right to file a claim for damages from their insurance company (Georgia Code § 51-1-6).
Are There Exceptions to Coverage When Someone Else Wrecks My Car?
Yes, there are situations where your auto insurance will refuse to cover an accident, even if the person driving your car was not at fault.
The Driver Used Your Car Without Your Permission
If someone you know used your car without your permission, they can be liable for damages. However, you will need to prove that they did not have permission to use your car, which can be hard.
You Excluded the Driver From Your Insurance Policy
You can intentionally leave certain people off of your car insurance, maybe because you know they are high-risk or have some other situation that could raise your rates. If someone you excluded from your policy wrecks your car, your insurance will not cover the damage—even if you gave that driver permission to use the car.
The Driver Was Breaking the Law
If the driver shouldn’t have been driving any car, let alone yours, your insurance probably won’t cover the accident damages. This includes situations like driving without a valid license or drinking and driving.
Of course, rules may vary depending on each company, so you should view your insurance company’s policies if you’re unsure. A car accident lawyer can also help you understand how to best approach your specific situation.
Will Someone Else Crashing My Car Raise My Insurance Rates?
Having an accident on your record, regardless of who was driving, can definitely raise your insurance rates. They are more likely to go up if the driver of your car was at fault for the accident.
The penalties for not-at-fault accident varies depending on your insurance provider, so you will have to view your specific policy to know for sure. However, if you are able to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance, your rates are less likely to go up.
In addition, you might be able to avoid higher rates if you added accident forgiveness to your policy, which some providers offer.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer in Georgia for Free
After someone gets into an accident while driving your car, it’s best to contact a car accident lawyer as soon as you can. An experienced lawyer can help you gather evidence and build a strong insurance claim if the other driver was at fault.
At John Foy & Associates, we believe you should not have to pay for the costs someone else caused just because you gave someone else permission to drive your vehicle. Over the last 20 years, we’ve grown to become one of the largest and most respected personal injury law firms in Georgia. Our number one goal is getting you the compensation you deserve. To get started with a FREE consultation today, call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.