Does Insurance Follow the Car or Driver in California?
The driver who owns the car involved in an accident may not be the one who was behind the wheel at the time of the crash. An accident victim wants to know that there will be an insurance policy that will help pay for their injuries. The car is usually what is insured in California, but not everyone may be covered. An experienced car accident attorney at LA Century Law can help you figure out which insurance applies to your claim and help you maximize your potential financial compensation.
Car owners may lend out their vehicles to others from time to time. In a worst-case scenario, the driver borrowing the car may be at fault in an accident. The question then is which insurance covers the accident. The driver may have their coverage, while the owner also has a policy for their car.
The Insurance Policy Follows the Car and Not the Driver
Under California law, in most instances, the insurance policy attaches to the car itself. If someone was driving your car, it would be your insurance policy that paid for the damages. However, that does not mean that you should assume that the driver is covered. Some car insurance policies have language that excludes automatic coverage of certain drivers. You always need to review the exact language of the policy to understand who is covered.
For example, the insurance company may require the car’s owner to obtain coverage for drivers who regularly use the car. They may cover damages when the car is lent out sporadically and not regularly.
They may refuse to cover damages when someone is a frequent driver.
Permissive vs. Non-Permissive Use of Your Car
Your car may have been used by someone else under different circumstances. The two ways that your car comes to be used are as follows:
- Permissive use is when you lend your car to someone else, permitting them to use it. In this case, your insurance coverage would need to pay for the damages.
- Non-permissive use is when someone else takes your car without your permission. An insurance company will only cover a car accident caused by someone who had the owner’s consent to drive the car. They will not pay for damages in a stolen car accident.
Coverages That Follow the Car to Pay for Damages
When you have been injured in an accident with a borrowed car, the same coverages would apply that pay for damages in any crash. You could receive damages based on the following coverages:
- Property damage to your car
- Bodily injury that covers physical harms
- Payment for your other economic and non-economic damages
Of course, the car owner’s insurance company only must cover the claim when the driver of their car is at fault. Normal car accident rules of liability are not suspended just because the car’s owner was not behind the wheel. The driver borrowing the car may be the one who can claim damages when the other driver is at fault. An attorney would gather the evidence that could be used to prove liability in the case.
What Happens When the Insurance Company Refuses to Cover Your Claim
The insurance company may refuse to cover the damage that another driver caused in a borrowed car. It does not mean that you would be forced to go without compensation. Insurance companies do not get the final say when they deny a claim.
You should hire an attorney to deal with that insurance company. You may be forced to file a lawsuit that the insurance company would be forced to defend. Your attorney would cut through the red tape and make sure that you are heard. Your attorney could also work to file a claim against the driver’s insurance if the owner’s provider refuses to pay. Between the two, someone would need to pay for your car accident injuries.
Either way, you should not be dealing with any insurance company on your own, regardless of the situation. They will make your life harder and cost you money. Always have an attorney fighting on your behalf in any car accident case.
Even if you cannot force the car owner’s insurance policy to cover your damages, you may still be able to file a claim under your uninsured motorist coverage provided by your insurance company. Figuring out who pays can be difficult. We can do it for you.
Contact a San Bernardino Car Accident Lawyer Today
The attorneys at LA Century Law can help you sort out and untangle complex legal issues relating to your car accident. We would work to maximize your financial compensation if you can show that someone else was to blame for your accident. You can speak to a lawyer during a free initial consultation. Your first step is to send us a message through our website or call us today. You do not need to pay us anything to get us working for you. We are only owed anything when you win.