Car Insurance Claims - Accidental Claims When You Are Not Driving

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  | Published: 05 August 2021

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Car insurance claims are generally easy to submit and get settled as long as the claimed expenses are covered by your insurance plan. In simple terms, as long as everything from the covered benefits to claim forms and documents are in place, you can count on getting a sleek clean-up and repair job after a car accident. However, change even a single element in this equation and trouble starts to stir up.

So, you can easily get up, get your documents and claim your car insurance in case of an accident. But what happens when a friend or a family member is driving at the time of accident? Is your car still covered for repair expenses if your friend is the one who caused the accident? If yes, then how should you proceed with the car insurance claim process. Let’s find out the answer to these seldom-asked questions.

Car Insurance Plans – Do They Work as Per the Drivers?

The base of car insurance is laid down on the foundation that it insures the car primarily and the driver on a secondary level. This means that your car insurance plan moves with the car itself and hence, in event of an accident, your car is eligible for the repair claims. If you have a comprehensive car insurance plan, the insurance company will cover the repair expenses for the accidental damage. If the person driving your car has caused the accident, the insurance company will probably pay for the third-party liability expenses as well. Here, the rule is that if this person who was driving the car is not a frequent secondary driver of the vehicle, the company will cover the costs of the accident in the car insurance claim. However, if the person is a frequent driver, they have to be included in the car insurance policy as one of the designated drivers of the car.

The Concept of Permissive Usage

It would be a better world if insurance providers simply covered the damages caused by a different driver, right? While many insurance companies do cover the damages incurred in such case, a lot of them do not. The concept of permissive usage comes in handy in such situations. This means that if the person driving at the time of accident already had the permission to borrow and drive the vehicle, then the insurance company may have to cover the repair expenses.

If your friend or the person to whom you lent the car has a car insurance plan of their own, your insurance company may try and get a payout from their insurance provider. If the driver who caused the accident with your car does not have an insurance plan, your insurance company may have to cover the damages.

What Constitutes as Non-Permissive Driving?

The concept of non-permissive driving is a little vague. Proving that a second person had the permission to drive your car can be a bit tricky because the insurance company might not just take your word for it. There are some cases when the insurance company can consider an accident a result of non-permissive driving. This can include scenarios like a child taking parents’ car without their permission or a friend borrowing your car. The car insurance claim in this scenario can stand void.

Additional Factors that Can get a Car Insurance Claim Denied

Even if your car insurance company has the permissible driving clause added in the terms of the plan, there can be instances that stand as an exception. One such case is borrowing the car for business purposes. If someone takes your car to perform any kind of business-related task such as delivering goods, ridesharing with co-workers for a split fare, etc., the insurance company does not pay the damages. As a rule, it is assumed by providers that, commercial vehicles are in a bigger danger of being in an accident. So, any business tasks as excluded from car insurance claims in general by most providers.

Apart from business usage of a personal car, drinking and driving can also lead to car insurance claim rejection. If it is proved that you the driver who caused the accident in your vehicle was unfit to drive in any way, the insurance company will deny the claim. The unfit status of a driver can be related to their physical condition, medical condition or psychoactive condition of the driver.

What to Do When Your Car Meets an Accident When Someone Else is driving?

The steps that one needs to take in this situation are pretty much similar to that of a common road accident situation. You can simply take the following steps to make sure you have everything to take care of the injured and make a strong case for a car insurance claim:

  • Get the injured treated by a medical officer or first responders. If the ambulance and police have not arrived at the scene yet, contact them immediately.
  • Preserve as much evidence as you can upon reaching the accident scene. Take photos, witness accounts, record the time of travel, the speed of the car, the condition of the driver, property damage for the vehicle, etc.
  • Contact the insurance company and let them know the situation at hand. Give a fair account of the situation and ask them to start to initiate the claim process. Most car insurance companies begin the car insurance claim process via a virtual request itself.
  • Since the car is registered in your name, you will have to take care of the claim process. Make sure that you have all the required documents, accounts and reports to support your car insurance claim. Begin the car insurance claim process as soon as possible.

Adding Drivers to Your Insurance Plan – What are the Possible Repercussions?

As explained above, you can simply avoid the hassle and add a driver to your car insurance plan if you like. You do not have to wait for the car insurance renewal to arrive to do so either. However, there are few things that you need to be wary of while doing so. Any additional driver you include in your car insurance plan will affect the premium of the plan. As you must be aware, the driving habits of a person influence the premium of the car insurance plan immensely. If a second driver in your car insurance plan happens to crash your car, the accident and road mishap will reflect on the overall car insurance plan. This will increase the price of the plan as well.

Conclusion

Submitting a car insurance claim when someone else crashes your car or meets an accident when driving can be a bit tricky. But given the uncertain nature of this particular situation, your best as the car owner is to always keep substantial proof of permissive driving or add frequent drivers of your car in the insurance plan. With the right documented proof and prominent coverage, you can easily make and get a car insurance claim approved even when someone else driving your car meets an accident.