Written by: Patrick Brown
A lot of people generously lend their vehicle to a friend or family member without giving it much thought. Sometimes, it seems absolutely necessary. But as a personal injury lawyer in Toronto, I’m acutely aware of the fact that many people don’t recognize the magnitude of responsibility that is being taken on. Both the owner of the car and the driver to whom they are lending it must be aware of the risks that come with driving someone else’s vehicle before they get behind the wheel.
How it Impacts Insurance
Allowing someone to borrow your car is legal. However, it should be a rare occurrence and with someone you know and trust. In Ontario, insurance follows the car, not the driver. This means that when you lend your car to someone else, they are driving under your insurance policy. If your friend or family member is in an at-fault accident while driving your car, your insurance premiums could be affected. This means that you might pay more for insurance, even if you have a clean driving record. It is also important to know that it would not be a short-term problem; motor vehicle collisions generally impact your insurance rate for six years in Canada.
Driving Without a License
If you lend your car to someone who does not have a valid driver’s license, including someone with a suspended license, there could be serious consequences. Natalie Dupuis, a senior product manager at RBC Insurance, explains that if “they’re not licensed to drive, then there’s a possibility that the insurance policy attached to the car won’t respond to the claim, and that means the owner of the vehicle may be responsible for damages and injuries sustained in an accident.” Before you hand over the keys, it’s important to know what kind of driver you are lending your vehicle to. How long they have been driving? What their accident record like?
What About Speeding Tickets?
Generally, if someone gets a speeding ticket while driving your car, it will be their problem. Their insurance will be affected and they will be responsible for paying any fines or charges. However, if someone is caught speeding 50 km/h over the limit, the car they are driving may be impounded. If that vehicle is yours, it will become your responsibility to follow-up and have it returned.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada advises drivers to be extremely cautious if lending their car to others. To learn more, click here.