My friend wrecked my car – now what?

In the State of Florida, when you allow someone to use your vehicle you are also allowing them to use your insurance.  While there are certain situations where this doesn’t apply – in most instances, the friend who wrecked your car would be considered a permissive use driver in the auto insurance policy.  The owner’s auto insurance (not the driver’s) would be considered primary coverage for the accident and subsequent repairs.

So the good news is that your insurance company will likely cover the accident.

And, well, that’s about all of the good news – the bad news is that the owner of the vehicle is responsible for any deductibles.  Sure, you can chase down your friend for reimbursement or you can have them pay the deductible to the repair facility directly, but the reality is you are the one responsible for the deductible and your vehicle won’t be released from the repair facility without some type of payment arrangement.

Also, depending on your claim history with the insurance company, you may lose your accident-free discount, you may receive an accident surcharge, or you may even lose your insurance altogether and have to find another carrier.  This incident will also be recorded on your insurance record which could affect your insurance rates for three years or more.

As if that is not enough, the most concerning piece of this scenario has to do with liability.  In the State of Florida, the owner of the vehicle can be just as liable as their permissive use driver.  So in the scenario where your friend wrecks your vehicle, there is a really good chance that if you don’t have enough insurance to cover the damages or injuries that your friend caused, you may be standing shoulder to shoulder with them in the courtroom.

The bottom line is this – when allowing people to drive your vehicle, choose wisely.  But truthfully, there really isn’t a good reason to allow someone to ever use your car.  You’d be better off giving them a ride or hailing an Uber.  And lastly, always always always ensure you have sufficient coverage.

Learn the best time to shop for auto insurance in this helpful article.

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