Car Accident in a Borrowed Car – Who is Responsible?

Content Reviewer, Attorney James P. Maniscalco
Created by our team of legal writers and reviewed by James P. Maniscalco. J.D.

Borrowing a car is not uncommon; it could be for any number of reasons. But what happens if you get into a car accident in a borrowed car? Are you responsible? Most people think the driver is responsible but actually the owner of the car is responsible most of the time.

Insurance follows the car, not the driver.

There are situations in which the driver will shoulder the responsibility, or pay what the owners’ insurance can’t cover.

The Risks

If you let a friend borrow your car, and they are the at-fault driver in a car accident, you are responsible for filing a claim with your insurance company and paying the deductible. Your insurance rate may increase due to the accident. In circumstances where the damages exceed the car owners’ limits, the driver’s insurance steps in.

You may be fully liable if the driver is uninsured. Depending on the severity of the accident, you may not be able to cover the damages and drivers involved in the accident may sue you for more compensation for their injuries and property damage.

Liability When Borrowing a Car without Permission

If it can be proved that someone borrowed your car without permission, and was an at-fault driver in a car accident, you may forfeit liability. DMV.ORG explains who is liable in each of the following non-permissive use situations:

  • Theft: If someone steals your car and causes an accident, you won’t be liable for damages/injuries to the other vehicle/driver.
  • Use of vehicle by a friend or family member: If your friend takes your car without your permission, their coverage would likely pay first and yours would cover the rest.
  • Use of vehicle by an uninsured friend: If your friend takes your car without permission and is uninsured, you can expect your own car insurance coverage to pay.

If your car has been involved in a car accident while someone was borrowing it, call today to speak with a car accident lawyer to discuss your options. The consultation is free and either you get paid, or you don’t pay at all!


  1. DMV.ORG. When Another Driver Has an Accident in Your Car. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  2. QuoteWizard. Borrowed Car In Accident. Whose Insurance Pays?. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
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