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As a motorist operating a vehicle on the roads in Canada, you’re required by law to have a car insurance policy in effect. Without one, you could face some hefty fines if you’re ever pulled over.

But what if you lend the keys to your car to someone else? Are other people allowed to drive your car if they’re not listed as a driver under your insurance policy? 

Let’s go into more detail about how your insurance would be affected if another person drives your car, and whether or not people who are not listed under your auto insurance policy are allowed to drive your car in the first place.

Who Can Drive My Car Under My Insurance? 

With an active auto insurance policy, anyone can borrow your vehicle, as long as they have your permission, a driver’s licence, and are using it for legal purposes. That includes family members, friends, and other people that you permit to use your car. 

It’s important to note that anyone who drives your car regularly will need to be named under your policy. These other drivers are known as “secondary” or “occasional” drivers. Usually, secondary drivers include spouses or grown children. 

But anyone who drives your car once or twice will not need to be insured under your policy.

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Does Your Car Insurance Cover the Car or the Person? 

Auto insurance covers the vehicle, not the person driving it. So, if you allow someone else to use your car and they are involved in an incident, your car insurance policy will cover any losses in most cases, not the policy of the person driving it. 

Find out what is third party auto insurance.

Having said that, the car must be operated legally, which means it cannot be driven by someone without a current driver’s license or by someone who is using the car for illegal purposes. The vehicle also cannot be driven by anyone who you have specifically named and excluded from your policy. In these cases, the insurance company will not provide coverage. 

Learn how to save money on car insurance.

What Will My Insurance Cover if Someone Else Has an Accident With My Car?

A standard auto insurance policy will cover everything that would normally be covered if you were the one behind the wheel at the time of the incident. As such, the following will be covered if someone else gets into an accident with your vehicle:

  • Liability – If the person who got into an accident with your car causes injury to another person or damage to another car, your insurance policy will cover the damages. To cover the cost to repair your car, you would require collision insurance.  
  • Accident benefits and bodily harm – This portion of your insurance policy will cover the cost of medical expenses if the person driving the car is injured in an accident. 
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How Will Your Insurance Policy Be Affected?

When you’ve permitted someone to use your vehicle and they get into an accident, any claims filed for damages will be made against your auto insurance policy. As such, your premiums may increase if the permitted driver gets into an accident or other type of incident where a claim must be filed.

Even if the person you loaned your car to was not at fault for the incident, any claims filed will be against your policy. This means you will be responsible for fronting the deductible amount before the policy kicks in to cover the damages.

Check out common reasons your insurance claim may be denied

Can You Drive Your Friends Car With Your Insurance? 

As mentioned earlier, auto insurance is associated with the car, not the driver. So, as long as the vehicle is insured, anyone can drive it, as long as the person has permission from the car owner and is legally operating the vehicle.   

If you meet these criteria, then you can drive your friend’s car, even if you don’t have insurance. And even if you do, it would be your friend’s insurance policy that would cover any incidents, and not yours. That means your friend will have to file a claim and deal with the damages to the vehicle if you get into an accident. 

Learn more about your car insurance covering your friend.

If the incident is your fault, the liability insurance portion of the policy will cover you and your friend against any potential litigation. Just make sure that the vehicle you intend to borrow has an active insurance policy on it so you don’t risk getting stuck footing the bill to make repairs or dealing with any legal charges in the event of an accident. 

Driving FAQs

What happens if I drive an uninsured car and get into an accident?

In Canada, your car must be insured in order to drive legally. If you get into an accident with an uninsured car there are a number of consequences you’ll have to face. Depending on the province, you can expect to pay a hefty fine, plus all the damages you caused in the accident, all out of pocket. Moreover, your licence may be suspended and can be barred from getting one in the future.

What happens if my friend gets pulled over by the police while driving my car?

If your friend gets a ticket for violating a driving law, it will go on their driving record. Your insurance won’t be affected by it. However, if your friend drives while inebriated or while on drugs, your car can be towed or impounded by the police, if caught.

If my friend borrow’s my car, whose insurance will cover the accident?

In general, whoever owns the car will be the person whose insurance is affected. If your friend borrows your car and gets into an accident, your insurance will cover the damages to the property or personal injury caused in the accident. However, it’s important to note that, a standard insurance policy will not cover the repairs to your car if the accident is your fault. For that, you’ll need to make sure you or your friend has collision insurance in your policy.  

Final Thoughts

Handing over the keys to your car to another person can be a bit cringeworthy, especially when you stop to consider all the potential things that can happen. The take-home message is that auto insurance is tied to a specific vehicle, and not the person driving it. 

So, as long as your car is adequately insured and the person driving the car is legally permitted to drive it, you should be covered in the event of an incident. Of course, rules can vary from one policy to the next, so you may want to speak to your particular insurance company for details about coverage before allowing someone else to drive your car.

Priyanka Correia, BComm avatar on Loans Canada
Priyanka Correia, BComm

Priyanka Correia is a Marketing Coordinator and personal finance expert at Loans Canada. Priyanka completed her Bachelor's degree in Marketing at Concordia University and has published work that has been mentioned in various news media. She is passionate about money management and educating Canadian consumers about how to take control of their financial lives.

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