Car Insurance and road trips

I finished a drivers course a while ago. And I’m under the impression that, you insure a car for certain people, or can put others into your plan.

Now what about road trips and such? I drive for for 100 miles, and we have to stop? because my friend would be driving my car illegally?

If that is so… then many commercials and movies differ from this…
But I dunno, inform the ignorant. (which means, set me straight because I have the slightest knowledge about this subject)

In my experience, my insurance covers my car for anyone who has a good reason for driving my car. Example: my sister and I take a road trip. She has my permission to drive for a portion of the trip. Should she have a wreck, my insurance company will pay the claim.

I know this for a fact because my son wrecked my car this summer. Although he was not listed on my insurance policy, the company paid the claim because he had my permission to drive it.

State laws are different regarding this. In Texas you can loan your vehicle to another person and your insurance is valid. BUT the insurance companies have caught on to this and are now making you sign wavers to bypass this “loophole”.

anything for another buck…

Yeah, different states allow insurance companies to do different things. Some insurance companies will only insure a specific car and only specific drivers of that car. Other companies have broad policies that are written for you & your car, but ALSO cover “permissive users” (folks who are using the car with your consent–whether or not you are present) of your car, as well as covering any car YOU drive: “Temporary Substitute” for when you car is unavailable, “Non-owned” car: meaning, not owned by YOU–this includes rental cars and your buddy’s 1967 'Vette that you are test driving; and “Newly Acquired” cars: often you can buy a car and drive it around for up to 30 days before having to put your own policy on it–coverage is ‘extending’ from one of your existing policies bearing the same liability limits & deductibles. Pretty cool.

Check with your insurance company regarding your road trip:

  1. will it cover a permissive user? If not, ditch the company because it sucks rocks.
  2. will you be covered in all regions of your trip? Does coverage apply in all 50 states? Canada? Mexico–if so, how far into Mexico?
  3. What if your car gets wrecked or stolen–will the policy provide for a rental? Will the insurance policy cover the car or will you have to pay the insurance pirate at the car rental place?

According to the latest PAP-98 (Personal Auto Policy, I hope I have the year right) which is the generic, established, form policy which most insurers use, not only are you covered while driving other people’s cars, but they are covered driving yours as long as it was done so with your permission (not stolen). In this sense the policy covers both you and your car. Now if your friend has a PAP and she wrecks your car, generally her insurance would pay out. If she was not insured and rarely used the vehicle (a couple of times on a road-trip for instance) then your policy would cover the accident. In either case the car would be covered.

Not all insurers use the PAP-98, and many insurers include endorsements which may alter this clause, so it is best to read through your policy first and make sure that it covers your car in someone else’s care. Also some states have certain requirements which might alter this general rule, but they are the minority.

If this person was going to be regularly using the vehicle and does not have insurance of their own, then your insurance company is going to want to add them to the policy as a driver, mostly for the sake of rating the policy correctly. If your insurer finds out that your live-in girlfriend takes your car to work and does not have insurance, they’re gonna be pretty irritated and may cancel your policy, so it is best to be honest. If she’s got a clean record it probably won’t increase your premium at all.

The bottom line is to read through your policy, especially the definitions section which describes “the insured” and “your covered auto”. It should explicitly spell out who and what is covered when.

Thank you for all your information. I think I understand a bit. Extra thanks to Matchka and Mirage.