This may seem like it has a simple answer, as obviously your first thought would be the person who owns the car. This is not always the case though, especially if you loan your car to a friend or family member. Knowing who is covered and when is important in case the person who is driving your vehicle is involved in an accident. When it comes to letting other people drive your vehicle, you do however want to use common sense and make sure they have a valid driver’s license and are not intoxicated or under the influence of anything that could impair their ability to drive. The following is a list of driver’s that are covered under a valid California auto liability insurance policy:
This is pretty self-explanatory; it is the person whose name is on the insurance policy. This can be the owner of the vehicle, spouse or family member whose name physically appears on the California insurance policy of the vehicle they are driving. If a named insured is involved in an accident there should be no question if they are covered or not unless the policy has lapsed or their driver’s license has been suspended.
Even if the spouse of the named insured is not on the policy, the insured’s policy will usually cover them. Keep in mind that this is only if the couple is living together. If they are separated and no longer live in the same residence, there might be an issue when it comes to coverage if they are involved in an accident.
Relatives is defined as anyone living in the same household as the named insured who is related to them by blood, marriage or adoption. In other words, if your child, spouse of your child or other blood relatives that live with you drive your car and are involved in an accident they are covered. Again, keep common sense in the forefront and make sure that they have a valid driver’s license before allowing them to drive your vehicle.
Although this sounds like a board term, it means that anyone you give permission to drive your vehicle will be covered. This means if your car is stolen and the driver causes an accident, you will not be covered and in most cases not be held responsible for the damage. This means that if you give a friend or co-worker permission to drive your vehicle, for whatever reason, they will be covered under your policy in the event they are involved in an accident.
Before you let anyone drive your vehicle, you want to make sure that he or she has a valid driver’s license. If they are involved in an accident and their license is revoked or suspended, not only will the person driving not be covered, you risk having your vehicle impounded and paying large fines to get it back, as well as having it repaired and repairing any other vehicles involved. The best thing to do is simply not loan your vehicle out to anyone that is not on your insurance policy, then there are no questions when it comes to insurance coverage.