Wreck in a Friend’s Car. Who Pays?

Apr 9, 2021 | Allen A. Ritchie, Motor Vehicle Accidents

Allen's Answers


Maybe because it is time for the Masters Golf Tournament or that people know Tiger Wood is alive and recovering, but the number one question I got this week was  — who is paying for Tiger’s borrowed and smashed SUV?

Well, here is how it goes in Alabama if you borrow a friend’s car and get in a wreck.

Generally, insurance goes with the car. Think of it as if the vehicle had insurance and not you. So, if you smash a friend’s new Ford F-150, his insurance will pay to get it fixed. This next part might surprise you, but his insurance will also pay for your medical bills even though you caused the crash. That is right. If his coverage maxes out, that is when your own insurance might kick in.

Most insurance companies allow “permissive use,” which means drivers not on the policy can drive the vehicle from time to time. It is a definition that I have had to fight insurance companies over, but generally, it is once a month or a dozen times a year. More than that, and I strongly suggest that you be on your friend’s auto insurance policy.

Now there are restrictions. If your friend took your car without permission, your insurance will probably not pay anything … and your friend could face some grand theft auto prison time.

One other thing. If you don’t have insurance, don’t think that borrowing a car with insurance will get you off the hook. It is illegal for an individual to drive without personal insurance in Alabama. If caught, you could face jail, a fine, and loss of your license.

Now each case is different, and it depends on just what insurance you have. My advice is to remember Tiger’s accident and play it safe, whether in your car or someone else’s.

If you suffer a personal injury like an auto accident or slip and fall, you can talk to us at the Law Firm of Eiland and Ritchie for free. We want to help you get back on your feet. We are mostly working remotely but are always available.

Also, join us on NBC 15 LawCall here in Mobile every Sunday night at 10:30, right after the news. We will take your calls live. We are experimenting with new ways to do the show and still follow the CDC guidelines. You might want to see what we have come up with.

Allen Ritchie

Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer