Does full coverage insurance cover someone else driving my car?

It’s common to let friends or family borrow your vehicle, but does full coverage insurance cover someone else driving my car? Usually, if you give someone permission to drive your car and they get into an accident, your auto insurance will follow the car and you will still file a claim through your own provider. However, your friend’s insurance policy cannot be used to cover the damages to your car, even if they have broader full coverage.

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Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Dec 1, 2020

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Things to Remember

  • Most full coverage policies are policies that include your state’s minimum auto insurance requirements, as well as comprehensive and collision coverage options.
  • Most full coverage car insurance policies follow the car, not the driver, which means your insurance will kick in if someone else gets into an accident while driving your car. 
  • Permissive users are drivers who are not rated on the policy but who have been granted permission to drive your car.

Full coverage auto insurance is a term that’s used on a regular basis. For a slightly higher premium, you receive more thorough coverage, but many drivers who invest in this type of policy wonder, “Does full coverage insurance cover someone else driving my car?”

While there is technically no specific full coverage definition, usually these policies meet the requirements of your state’s auto insurance laws, and also include collision and comprehensive coverage.

Does insurance follow the car or the driver? In most cases, full coverage auto insurance policies follow the vehicle and not the person, which means your policy will cover another person driving your car. 

However, there are some exceptions. Keep reading to learn exactly what a full coverage policy will protect, and where the gaps are in your coverage.

Does car insurance cover additional drivers?  

Get the most affordable full coverage insurance before allowing someone else to drive you car. Enter your five-digit ZIP code into our FREE quote comparison tool to make sure you have the best full coverage insurance rates.

Does my full coverage auto insurance cover other drivers?

Full coverage car insurance isn’t just a box you check when you’re applying for a policy, there’s not just one universal definition.

We will consider any policy that includes the state minimum legal auto insurance requirements, as well as additional collision and comprehensive coverage to be a full coverage policy.

Does full coverage insurance cover any driver? Can someone drive my car and be covered on my insurance? Parts of your full coverage car insurance policy will kick in even if someone else is driving your car and is involved in an auto accident.

You do not have to be in the vehicle with them for your insurance to provide coverage. 

Because a full coverage auto insurance policy includes broader protection than a basic policy, the rates are more expensive. 

To help you get a better idea of approximately how much a full coverage car insurance policy might cost you, see what the average annual rates are for full coverage policies in your state in the table below. 

Average Annual Full Coverage Auto Insurance Rates by State
StateAverage Annual Full Coverage Rate
Alabama$868.48
Alaska$1,027.75
Arizona$972.85
Arkansas$906.34
California$986.75
Colorado$981.64
Connecticut$1,151.07
Delaware$1,240.57
District of Columbia$1,330.73
Florida$1,257.13
Georgia$1,048.40
Hawaii$873.28
Idaho$679.89
Illinois$884.56
Indiana$755.03
Iowa$702.46
Kansas$862.93
Kentucky$938.51
Louisiana$1,405.36
Maine$703.82
Maryland$1,116.45
Massachusetts$1,129.29
Michigan$1,364.00
Minnesota$875.49
Mississippi$994.05
Missouri$872.43
Montana$863.52
Nebraska$831.02
Nevada$1,103.05
New Hampshire$818.75
New Jersey$1,382.79
New Mexico$937.59
New York$1,360.66
North Carolina$789.09
North Dakota$773.30
Ohio$788.56
Oklahoma$1,005.32
Oregon$904.83
Pennsylvania$970.51
Rhode Island$1,303.50
South Carolina$973.10
South Dakota$766.91
Tennessee$871.43
Texas$1,109.66
Utah$872.93
Vermont$764.02
Virginia$842.67
Washington$968.80
West Virginia$1,025.78
Wisconsin$737.18
Wyoming$847.44
Countrywide$1,009.38
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As you can see, where you live drastically changes the rates you pay for full coverage insurance. Your age, driving record, and other factors also impact what you pay.

That being said, full coverage policies cost an average of $1,009 in the United States as a whole. In areas that are prone to claims, expect this premium is much higher. 

So if you let your friend drive your car and they get into an accident, your insurance will still help pay for the damages. However, since it’s your car and your name on the policy, technically you will be the one responsible for paying for any deductibles, rate increases, or extra charges, not your friend.

Commonly, the collision and comprehensive policies included in your full coverage auto insurance will still protect your vehicle, even if someone else was behind the wheel.

Usually, medical payments coverage, uninsured motorist, and rental car coverage options also follow the car.

Your liability insurance, on the other hand, follows the car first and then you, the driver, second. What is liability auto insurance coverage? If you cause an accident, your liability insurance will pay for the damages for the other driver. 

No matter what car you drive, you can rely on your liability insurance to help pay for any damages you cause in an accident you are found at fault for. 

However, even if the other person driving your car also has liability insurance, you will still have to file the claim through your own provider because your vehicle was involved in the accident. 

Therefore, you should only allow people you trust to drive your vehicle. You should also come to an agreement ahead of time about who will be responsible for paying for any damages should an automobile accident occur while someone else is driving your vehicle.

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What is full coverage auto insurance?

Technically, there is no regulated full coverage car insurance definition, and each company will offer slightly different policy options.

Customarily, though, a full coverage policy will include at least your state’s minimum legal car insurance requirements, as well as comprehensive and collision insurance. 

Comprehensive coverage pays for claims to your car when it’s damaged in a non-collision loss. This can include weather damage, vandalism, fire damage, and more. There is a deductible associated with this type of policy. 

Collision coverage pays for damage to your car when it’s involved in a moving collision. This can include hitting a tree or pole. There is also a deductible associated with this type of policy.

Find out the legal minimum auto insurance requirements for your state in the table below. 

Minimum Legal Auto Insurance Requirements by State
StateMinimum BI & PD Liability LimitsRequired Insurance Policies
Alabama25/50/25BI + PD Liability
Alaska50/100/25BI + PD Liability
Arizona15/30/10BI + PD Liability
Arkansas25/50/25BI + PD Liability, PIP
California15/30/5BI + PD Liability
Colorado25/50/15BI + PD Liability
Connecticut25/50/20BI + PD Liability, UM, UIM
Delaware25/50/10BI + PD Liability, PIP
District of Columbia25/50/10BI + PD Liability, UM
Florida10/20/10BI + PD Liability, PIP
Georgia25/50/25BI + PD Liability
Hawaii20/40/10BI + PD Liability, PIP
Idaho25/50/15BI + PD Liability
Illinois25/50/20BI + PD Liability, UM, UIM
Indiana25/50/25BI + PD Liability
Iowa20/40/15BI + PD Liability
Kansas25/50/25BI + PD Liability, PIP
Kentucky25/50/25BI + PD Liability, PIP, UM, UIM
Louisiana15/30/25BI + PD Liability
Maine50/100/25BI + PD Liability, UM, UIM, Medpay
Maryland30/60/15BI + PD Liability, PIP, UM, UIM
Massachusetts20/40/5BI + PD Liability, PIP
Michigan20/40/10BI + PD Liability, PIP
Minnesota30/60/10BI + PD Liability, PIP, UM, UIM
Mississippi25/50/25BI + PD Liability
Missouri25/50/25BI + PD Liability, UM
Montana25/50/20BI + PD Liability
Nebraska25/50/25BI + PD Liability, UM, UIM
Nevada25/50/20BI + PD Liability
New Hampshire25/50/25Financial Responsibility only
New Jersey15/30/5BI + PD Liability, PIP, UM, UIM
New Mexico25/50/10BI + PD Liability
New York25/50/10BI + PD Liability, PIP, UM, UIM
North Carolina30/60/25BI + PD Liability, UM, UIM
North Dakota25/50/25BI + PD Liability, PIP, UM, UIM
Ohio25/50/25BI + PD Liability
Oklahoma25/50/25BI + PD Liability
Oregon25/50/20BI + PD Liability, PIP, UM, UIM
Pennsylvania15/30/5BI + PD Liability, PIP
Rhode Island25/50/25BI + PD Liability
South Carolina25/50/25BI + PD Liability, UM, UIM
South Dakota25/50/25BI + PD Liability, UM, UIM
Tennessee25/50/15BI + PD Liability
Texas30/60/25BI + PD Liability, PIP
Utah25/65/15BI + PD Liability, PIP
Vermont25/50/10BI & PD Liab, UM, UIM
Virginia25/50/20BI + PD Liability, UM, UIM
Washington25/50/10BI + PD Liability
West Virginia25/50/25BI + PD Liability, UM, UIM
Wisconsin25/50/10BI + PD Liability, UM, Medpay
Wyoming25/50/20BI + PD Liability
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It’s important that you know what car insurance limits you are required to purchase in order to legally drive on the roads in your state, or else you risk facing some major penalties if you get caught driving without insurance. 

According to the Insurance Information Institute, getting caught driving without insurance can result in fines of up to $5,000, having your license and vehicle registration revoked, and even potential jail time.   

There are a few additional coverage options you can choose to include or exclude in a full coverage policy. What do standard auto insurance companies offer as additional full coverage benefits? Here’s a thorough breakdown:

  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): purchasing additional coverage for yourself or your friend that drives your car is never a bad option. PIP is most useful (and usually required) in no-fault states meaning you must turn to your own insurance policy to cover your own injuries, no matter which driver caused the accident.
  • Medical payments: Also known as MedPay, this pays a specified limit for you and your passenger’s medical bills regardless of who’s at fault in a loss. 
  • Uninsured motorist coverage: This pays for medical, property damage expenses, and lost wages when someone without insurance hits you. This is sometimes a state requirement.
  • Rental car coverage: This pays for rental car expenses when you have a covered loss.
  • GAP insurance: This pays for the GAP between what you owe on an auto loan, and the actual cash value of your car in the event that it is totaled in an accident.
  • Towing coverage: This pays for roadside towing assistance when your car breaks down.

You do not have to purchase all of these options for your policy to be considered full coverage.

By understanding the coverage options, it can help you decide whether you need to add extra endorsements or remove coverages that are too expensive. 

A full coverage policy will give you peace of mind. Keep reading to learn exactly how it protects your vehicle when another driver is behind the wheel.

What happens when someone drives your car and they get into an accident?

Does full coverage auto insurance cover other drivers? You’ve already learned the answer is yes. Now let’s look at what happens when another driver gets into an accident while driving your car.

Imagine the following scenario: you take out a full coverage car insurance policy for your car. Your friend asks to borrow it, and you agree. While driving your vehicle, he is involved in a car accident.

Depending on who is at fault and what damages occurred, there are a few possible outcomes. 

If your friend caused the accident and damaged both your vehicle and another driver’s vehicle, you must file the claim through the property damage portion of your liability insurance to pay for the other driver’s expenses, and your collision insurance to pay for the damages to your own car. If the driver in the other vehicle is injured, the bodily injury portion of your liability policy will kick in.

If your friend did not cause the accident and the other driver has proper insurance, the other driver will be responsible for the damages in an at-fault state, and the claim will go through their insurance. In a no-fault state, you must rely on your own personal policy, and that includes any injuries your friend sustains. 

If your friend did not cause the accident and the other driver has no insurance, you will have to file a claim through your own auto insurance provider to pay for damages to your vehicle and your friend if he or she experienced any medical issues. If you have uninsured motorist protection, it will kick in. Otherwise, your collision coverage will be applied.

In almost every scenario, you will go through your own insurance provider, even though your friend was driving your car. 

Even if you and your friend come to an agreement that he will be responsible for any costs if he’s involved in an accident while driving your car, technically there is nothing to hold him to that agreement.

You will be held accountable, however, by your insurance company. Make sure you think it through thoroughly and evaluate all of the risks involved before you let anyone else not on your insurance policy drive your vehicle.

It may also be good to consider having a talk with your friend about geting a non-owner car insurance policy to cover situations like these.

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Does full coverage auto insurance follow the car or the driver?

As mentioned previously, in most scenarios, your full coverage car insurance will only follow the car. This means that even if your friend is responsible for causing a car accident while driving your vehicle, you will be the person held accountable for paying for the damages. 

Specifically, your collision and comprehensive insurance only follow the car, not the driver. 

In other words, if your friend crashed your car but has their own full coverage auto insurance policy, their collision and comprehensive insurance cannot be used to cover the damages to your vehicle. Only your comprehensive and collision policies will be applicable.

Remember, liability car insurance will follow both the car and the driver, with priority going to the car first, driver second. This means even if your friend who crashed your car has their own liability insurance, you’ll still have to use your liability policy to pay for the damages to the other driver. 

Ultimately, it depends on who is driving your vehicle, what type of coverage you need to use, and how the incident occurred. 

Permissive versus Non-Permissive Use

You might still be wondering, “can anyone drive my car if I have full coverage insurance?” That depends on if you gave permissive use or not. 

Why does permission matter with insurance coverage? Here are a few things to consider before letting someone drive your car.

According to the law experts at NOLO, permissive use refers to when you give another person explicit permission to drive your vehicle, even though they may not be named drivers on your policy or people who live in your household. 

Not every insurance provider covers accidents caused by a permissive use driver. You must check the specifics of your auto insurance policy to confirm that your policy will still apply if you give someone permission to drive your car. 

Non-permissive use implies that you did not give permission to the person who drove your vehicle and caused an accident. In some cases where non-permissive use is involved, you might not be held accountable for the damages they caused while driving your car.

If someone lives in your home and drives your car regularly, they should be listed on your policy as a rated or named driver.

This is more formal than simply being a permissive use driver, as the individual will explicitly be included in the details of your policy. 

If there is any person you do not want on your policy, you can add them as an excluded driver.

What if my friend is a driver from another state?

A driver from every state will normally be protected by car insurance as long as the insured has permission to operate the car. This isn’t always the case, however.

In all cases, when someone else operates the vehicle of the insured, depending on the insurer and insurance plans chosen by the insured, the auto coverage and policy terms can differ greatly.

If an insured person drives a Med Pay/PIP covered company/commercial car, the coverage is typically primary over the personal auto policy of the driver, which would be secondary in terms of coverage.

You now know all of the details about how your full coverage car insurance policy covers someone else driving your car. Be careful when you allow other people to operate your motor vehicle. 

If that person is involved in a car accident, the claim will have to be made through your insurance provider, not theirs. As you’ve learned, this can lead to rate increases, loss of discounts, and other challenges.  

Are you ready to buy full coverage insurance?

Find the best full coverage insurance quotes to protect you and anyone you give permission to drive your vehicle by entering your five-digit ZIP code into our FREE quote comparison tool below.

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