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.

Your New York car insurance covers other drivers in your vehicle. This is a state-specific law that says your insurance policy follows your car –  not you as a driver. This holds true for collision, uninsured motorist protection, comprehensive, and property damage liability insurance.

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 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 policy as well, including umbrella or excess coverage.

What If Another Person Borrows my Car and Causes 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 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 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 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. 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?

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

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 an individual 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.

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.

Call us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.


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