Can Someone Else Drive My Car?

March 22, 2024
Jack Fine

Car accidents can happen to anyone, even when a trusted friend or family member is driving your vehicle. If you’ve made the decision to lend your car to someone close to you and they become involved in an accident, it’s important to know how to proceed to protect your legal rights under Florida statutes.

In the event of an accident involving another person driving your vehicle, you might be entitled to compensation, not just for damages to your vehicle but also for any related injuries or losses. This is where the expertise of the car accident attorneys at  Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., becomes invaluable. With their specialized knowledge of Florida’s legal landscape, they can provide support in navigating the aftermath of an accident, ensuring that your rights are upheld and you receive the compensation you deserve.

Can Someone Drive My Car if They Are Not on My Insurance?

Typically, allowing another person to borrow a car is permissible if you’ve given them your explicit consent. The idea that auto insurance policies are primarily attached to the driver is a common car insurance myth; however, the reality is the coverage is linked to the vehicle itself. This means that if you give someone permission to drive your car, your insurance is the primary coverage, not the driver’s personal insurance.  

The specifics can vary depending on your insurance company and the details of your policy. Particularly complex scenarios may arise if the person driving your car resides in your home but isn’t included as a named insured, or if they have been explicitly excluded from your policy. 

H2 Do All Household Members Need to Be on Car Insurance in Florida?

In Florida, when getting a car insurance policy, it’s a common requirement from insurance companies to have every household member who will be driving the vehicle included on the insurance policy. This means if you have someone living in your household who intends to use your car frequently, it’s essential they are added to your insurance coverage.

What Happens if Someone Gets in an Accident in My Car?

When you lend your car, the situation can unfold in various ways if an accident occurs. Here’s how insurance typically handles these situations, split between permissive use and situations where your car was used without your permission.

Permissive Use

Consider a situation where a family member from out of town uses your car with your permission. This is an example of permissive use, where your auto insurance covers the other driver during their use of the vehicle. However, it’s important to note that insurance coverage under permissive use can be quite limited. The extent of coverage might vary, with some policies only covering a limited number of uses by the same person.

This concept doesn’t only apply to out-of-household family members but to anyone you allow to use your car, including friends, neighbors, or colleagues. The key here is the permission granted by you, which temporarily extends your insurance coverage to the driver.

Non-Permissive Use

Situations where your vehicle is taken without your consent, known as non-permissive use, are handled differently. If someone uses your car without permission and an accident occurs, the primary responsibility might not fall on you. 

For instance, if a friend uses your car without consent and is involved in an accident, their insurance might be considered the primary coverage. However, if they lack insurance, you might need to claim on your policy. Similarly, if your car is stolen and involved in an accident, you’re generally not liable for damages to others but may need to claim damages for your vehicle.

It’s important to understand your policy’s specifics regarding permissive and non-permissive use. Some policies allow you to exclude certain drivers, which could influence coverage scenarios.

Exceptions to Permissive Use

Permissive use doesn’t cover every situation. For example, if the person you’ve permitted to use your car does so for business purposes, such as making deliveries or conducting sales visits, this may not be covered under your personal auto insurance policy. Business use often requires a separate or additional policy that specifically covers these activities.

Additionally, allowing someone who does not have a valid driver’s license, or who is considered inexperienced, to operate your vehicle can also fall outside the scope of permissive use coverage. Insurance providers view these drivers as higher risks, and motor vehicle accidents involving them may not be covered without specific provisions in your policy.

It’s important to be aware of these exceptions to avoid unexpected gaps in coverage. Discussing your coverage with your insurance agent can provide clarity on how your policy addresses these situations and whether additional coverage is advisable to mitigate these risks.

Excluding Drivers 

Choosing to exclude certain drivers from your insurance policy can be a strategic decision, especially if an individual has a history of DUIs or other problematic driving incidents. By excluding a driver, you ensure that they will not be covered under your insurance. This measure is often considered to manage risk and potentially lower insurance premiums, as it clearly communicates to your insurer that a specific individual will not be operating the insured vehicle.

If the excluded individual does drive your car and is involved in an accident, your insurance policy will not provide coverage for any claims arising from that incident. This decision should be made with a clear understanding of its implications, both for the policyholder and the excluded driver.

It’s important to contact your insurance agent about the process for excluding a driver. They can provide guidance on how this action affects your coverage and advise on any necessary steps to implement the exclusion properly. Additionally, reviewing your policy periodically to ensure it aligns with your current needs and circumstances is advisable, as changes in drivers’ statuses or driving records may warrant adjustments to your policy.

Make Sure You Have Proper Coverage

It’s essential to verify that your auto insurance policy provides comprehensive protection. This means having a well-rounded coverage plan that includes auto liability, collision, and medical coverage among other necessary protections. Here’s what Florida residents need to consider:

  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): Florida is a no-fault state, requiring drivers to carry PIP coverage. This insurance pays for medical expenses for you and your passengers, regardless of who is at fault in an accident, up to the limits of your policy. PIP coverage provides immediate medical payment benefits and reduces the need for litigation.
  • Property Damage Liability (PDL): Florida law also mandates that drivers carry PDL coverage, which covers damage you or someone driving your car with permission may cause to another person’s property.
  • Bodily Injury Liability (BIL): While not required for all drivers, BIL can be important if you’re found responsible for an accident causing injury or death to others. It may also be required under certain conditions, such as a previous DUI conviction.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM): UM coverage can protect you against drivers who do not have insurance or who are underinsured. It can also provide you and anyone borrowing your vehicle with financial protection in the event of an accident. 

Understanding how these coverages work in various scenarios is paramount. For instance, if you permit someone else to drive your vehicle, your PIP and PDL coverage will typically extend to accidents they might cause. It’s advisable to discuss with an insurance agent to tailor your policy to your needs, ensuring you’re adequately protected whether you’re behind the wheel or someone else is driving your car with your permission.

Should an accident occur while your vehicle is being driven by another person, it’s critical that you act quickly and reach out to the skilled legal team at Fine, Farkash, & Parlapiano, P.A. Insurance providers often seek methods to minimize payouts below the actual value of accident-related expenses. Our dedicated team of personal injury attorneys is committed to defending your rights and ensuring you receive the rightful compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation.


627.7407 Application of the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law | The Florida Legislature

Florida Insurance Requirements | FLHSMV  

Automobile Insurance Toolkit | FLDFS