Does My New York Car Insurance Cover Other Drivers?


We can go over your insurance coverage with you to ensure what you are and aren’t responsible for insofar as coverage in a car accident.

Does car insurance cover other drivers?

Yes! Your New York car insurance covers other drivers in your vehicle.

This is a New York state law that says your car insurance policy follows your car –  not you as a driver.

This holds true for collision, uninsured motorist protection, comprehensive, and property damage liability insurance.

An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to help you determine what compensation can be recovered in the event of an accident.

However, as a driver in New York, you are required by law to carry not only property damage liability coverage but also personal injury protection (PIP) insurance.

While you have PIP coverage initially through the vehicle you are in, you can also access your PIP coverage from your own car insurance policy should you have more expansive benefits than the vehicle you were in at the time of the collision.

This also applies if you are the driver of a vehicle not your own.  If you are a named insured on another auto policy, you may be able to access coverage through that car insurance policy as well, including umbrella or excess coverage.

What If Another Person Borrows my Car and Causes a Crash?

Can someone drive my car and be covered on my insurance? Does my car insurance cover other drivers? These are questions our car accident lawyers hear often.

However, we typically hear these car insurance questions after their friend or family member got hurt a crash. If someone causes a collision while driving your car, New York’s insurance laws state three important things, including:

Your Property Damage Liability will Pay for the Other Party’s Losses

If you let someone borrow your car and they cause a crash, your property damage liability insurance should cover the damage done to other vehicles.

If the damages are so high that they exceed your policy’s limits, your friend’s liability coverage can kick in to fill in any gaps.

New York Operates on a “No-Fault” Insurance System

In a no-fault insurance system, injured parties typically file claims with the insurer who covered the vehicle they were in at the time.

This means the person who borrowed your car and any passengers would file no-fault claims through your insurance.

Your Own Coverage Should Cover Your Vehicle’s Damage

Any damage to your car would be covered under your collision and comprehensive insurance. This optional coverage does not care that you were not driving at the time of the crash.

However, the car accident claim will be filed on your policy, not your friend’s insurance.

What If You did not Buy the Optional Collision and Comprehensive Coverage?

If you do not have collision and comprehensive coverage, you might be paying out of pocket for your car’s repairs – unless your friend is a stand-up person who pays for your losses.

Alternatively, if you can prove that the other driver caused the crash, the repair costs will come out of that driver’s property damage liability insurance coverage.

What Exactly is PIP Coverage?

According to New York’s Department of Financial Services (DFS), the state requires that drivers have personal injury protection, or PIP coverage, to pay for their bodily injuries.

This type of coverage, also called “no-fault” insurance, is supposed to pay for a person’s various injury-related damages, such as medical expenses.

PIP insurance covers these losses no matter who is found to be at fault. Basic no-fault coverage pays as much as $50,000 of bodily injury liability per person injured in a crash.

This extends to the driver, passengers, and pedestrians who may have been struck by the vehicle.

New York requires that all drivers have PIP coverage. This makes it easier to collect compensation after a crash. Should PIP deny coverage, you can use private health insurance, should you have it, to pay for your medical expenses.

When Doesn’t Your Car Insurance Cover Other Drivers?

If someone drove your car and crashed, there are times when your insurance will not cover them or the damages.

Take note of the circumstances in which your insurance company will not cover other drivers in the event of a motor vehicle collision.

You did not Grant the Other Driver Permissive Use

According to New York’s Department of Financial Services §60-1.1(c) of Department Regulation 35-A, your auto liability insurance policy covers:

  • You (as the insured party)
  • Your spouse or child (if they live in the same household)
  • Anyone else to whom you have permitted to drive your vehicle

If you did not permit someone else to drive your car—or they were driving it outside the scope of your permission—your insurance will not cover damages from a collision.

Letting a friend borrow your car is an example of permissive use. If someone steals your car, drives it, and gets into a crash, they did not have permissive use.

Your Auto Insurance Policy does not Cover Permissive Use

Some insurance companies simply do not cover permissive use. Other insurance companies will cover damages in the case of permissive use, but they offer only “step-down” policies with limited coverage.

Still, other insurance providers will cover a permissive use claim, but they will also increase your deductible when you file such a claim. Your coverage will not extend to a rental car.

You should review your policy to see what you are covered for. Knowing your policy limits and exclusions can help you avoid a sticky situation if someone gets into a crash while driving your car.

You had Explicitly Excluded the Driver from Your Policy

In some states, you have the option to explicitly exclude anyone from your auto insurance policy. You might choose to do this in the case of people who have bad driving records or a history of drunk driving.

Whatever the reason, if you exclude a driver by name from your policy, your insurance will not cover a claim involving that person as a driver.

However, in New York, you cannot buy an auto insurance policy if you try to exclude a member of your household who is of driving age. Excluded drivers who live in your home are not allowed.

Does My Car Insurance Cover Me in Another Car?

Your car insurance may cover you if you drive another person’s car. However, their car insurance would also cover you in the event of a car accident.

If you have car insurance, your own policy will cover you if you caused an accident if you exceed your friend’s limits.

What about if you rent a car? Do you need to purchase insurance from the rental car company? Your existing policy may also protect you when you drive a rental vehicle.

Before springing for optional rental insurance, check your policy carefully to determine if you have coverage. When an accident occurs, you’ll be glad you know exactly where you can turn for help

If Someone Used Your Car and They had a Crash, Call Us

If the person using your car had a crash and it wasn’t their fault, we can pursue a claim on their behalf against the at-fault driver.

These types of car accident cases are often complex. The insurance company may not want to pay what the policy states and this can cause headaches for the driver and the policy holder. When this occurs, we can help.

We know that your insurance provider can make it difficult to collect the compensation you need.

They may delay or deny your claim, especially if you were driving someone else’s car or if someone was driving yours. You have driver’s insurance, and we can help ensure that you get what you paid for.

Call our Long Island car accident lawyers today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We can help you explore your legal options so you can get the money you deserve – even if you weren’t driving your car.


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