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Whose Insurance Pays if I am Injured While in a Borrowed Car?

Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on Apr 25, 2022  in Car Accidents News

person handing over his car keysWhen you borrow a vehicle from a friend or family member the last thing you are thinking about is getting into an accident, but what happens if you do? Whose insurance is liable for your damages?

At Lynch Law Firm, our New Jersey car crash lawyers discuss your options for filing a claim if you are injured while driving another person’s vehicle. You may be able to use multiple sources of insurance if you suffered extensive damages.

If you have questions about how to file an injury claim after an accident, we are ready to help. Call today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation. Learn how we may be able to help you recover maximum compensation.

Factors to Consider Before Filing a Claim

There is a common misconception about whether insurance follows the car or the driver. However, the coverage available depends on the type of insurance claim, especially in no-fault states like New Jersey.

Property Damage

For instance, if you are driving a borrowed car and that borrowed vehicle sustained damages in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence. In that situation, the repair costs may be covered by the at-fault driver’s property liability insurance. If you caused the crash, however, then the property liability insurance of the owner of the borrowed vehicle would apply.

When filing a claim for property damage, the insurance follows the car and not the driver.

Personal Injury

The Personal Injury Protection (PIP) under your own auto insurance policy follows you. This means you are covered whether you are driving a borrowed vehicle, a passenger in another vehicle, or a pedestrian. Your PIP coverage also applies to any eligible members of your household.

It is important to note that some insurance policies may differ in the fine print, so it is important to discuss this with an experienced attorney.

Can I File a Claim as the Driver of a Borrowed Vehicle?

If you were driving a borrowed vehicle and are not on that vehicle’s insurance, you may have an injury claim under your own PIP policy.

In cases when the damages you suffer exceed the limits of your own PIP insurance, you may have additional recovery options, such as:

  • Filing a third-party claim with the bodily injury liability insurance of the at-fault driver
  • Filing a claim through the PIP insurance of the owner of the vehicle you drove
  • Filing an Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) claim against the borrowed vehicle’s policy  

Remember, however, that bodily injury liability and UM/UIM coverage are optional for New Jersey drivers, so these policies are not guaranteed. However, many drivers do choose to purchase these additional policies for the extra protection they provide.

What if I Was a Passenger in the Borrowed Vehicle?

If you were involved in a crash as the passenger of a borrowed vehicle, you may have a claim through the bodily injury liability insurance of the at-fault driver. If the at-fault party is the driver of the borrowed vehicle you were riding in, you would file your claim through the vehicle owner’s bodily injury liability insurance.

For example, if the driver of the vehicle you were riding in was texting or otherwise distracted and caused a crash that left you injured. You may be able to seek compensation for your damages from that person’s liability insurance. If, however, that same at-fault driver did not own the car, the claim would be through the vehicle owner’s policy.

Unlike PIP insurance, bodily liability insurance follows the car, not the driver.

Will the Insurance Try to Deny My Claim?

It is highly likely that the insurance company will look for a reason to deny or devalue your claim, even when it is a valid one. That is why having a knowledgeable attorney on your side is important.

In cases of injury victims who were in a crash while driving a borrowed vehicle, the insurance company may try to deny the claim if you did not have explicit permission to use the car.

Depending on the terms of the policy, this may be a valid argument. Some insurance policies have a provision called “permissive use” that allows them to deny a claim for damages. For instance, if an excluded driver borrowed the car. The insurance company could also deny a claim for a driver who borrowed the car but did not have explicit permission to use that vehicle.

An excluded driver is someone who was added to the registered vehicle owner’s policy as someone who is not allowed to drive his or her vehicle. For example, a licensed household member with multiple traffic tickets could be excluded on a family member’s insurance policy.

Explicit permission means the owner of the vehicle specifically did allow another person to drive his or her vehicle.

Call Us Today

If you borrowed someone else’s vehicle and were involved in an accident caused by someone else’s negligent actions, you may have several options for recovering full compensation.

Call our knowledgeable attorneys today to discuss your claim during a free consultation to learn more about how we may be able to help you.

We do not charge you anything up front or while we work on your case.

No upfront fees. No risks. Call (800) 518-0508 today. 

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