Borrowing a friend's car may seem like an uncomplicated, easy favor. However, one fender bender in a car that doesn't belong to you suddenly brings up a number of issues. Is the car you're operating covered by your current vehicle insurance? What is unowned vehicle insurance and are you covered under it?
Liability car insurance coverage covers each individual driver, no matter what car they drive, and whether the car is owned or unowned. If your friend allows you to drive their vehicle, they'll likely want to check and ensure that you do have this type of unowned vehicle insurance so they're not responsible for any accidents you cause.
In contrast to liability coverage, comprehensive and collision auto insurance coverage cover the specific car being driven, not necessarily each driver driving it. Comprehensive and collision vehicle insurance cover damage result from accident or vandalism.
There are, of course, a number of different factors to consider and check for in your friend's vehicle insurance plan (or your plan if you choose to allow someone to drive your car). Every vehicle insurance policy is different, and many times liability coverage varies from policy to policy.
When purchasing your insurance, you should find out from your potential insurer what will happen in the event of an accident in an unowned vehicle. Will you be covered if you cause the accident in someone else's car? If someone causes an accident in yours? If you have complete coverage, you may be covered in another person's car, but only at certain coverage limits. Additionally, there are also some extremely economical car insurance policies that when insuring a specific car, will only insure those driving it that are named on the policy.
Another thing to consider about unowned vehicle insurance is whether or not the person you're borrowing the vehicle from is a family member or someone you live with. Some insurance carriers automatically cover family members that are not named on the policy, although they do so usually at a reduced rate of coverage. Also, if you live with someone and regularly drive their car, eventually their insurance company may require that you be named on the policy. Finally, if a family member is not named and causes an accident in your car, your insurance company may choose to specifically exclude them from your policy.
It is extremely likely your insurance coverage includes stipulations for unowned vehicle insurance. Even if you know you are covered, it's important to understand the specifics of your coverage before you get behind the wheel of a friend or family member's car.