It is not unheard of for vehicle owners to let family or friends borrow their vehicle to run errands or get somewhere important. When a person borrowing a vehicle, however, ends up in an accident, complex issues arise. If you were injured in an accident with a driver who borrowed a vehicle from someone in Missouri (or Kansas), there are some important details that you should know about the nature of borrowed vehicle accidents.
Minimum Insurance Requirements
Both Missouri and Kansas laws require drivers to have minimum levels of insurance. These minimums are broken down in the following manner:
- Missouri. Drivers in Missouri must have insurance that covers at least $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $10,000 per accident for property damage.
- Kansas. Kansas law also requires drivers to have $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $10,000 per accident for property damage.
In most situations, it is the insurance policy of the individual who owns the motor vehicle that will be used as coverage if a borrowed vehicle was involved in an accident. Sometimes, however, the person who was borrowing the vehicle might need to use his or her insurance as secondary coverage if the damage was greater than what the insurance covers. Indeed, many insurance companies provide step-down limits (meaning that policies with higher limits will reduce those limits to the $25,000 state minimums when another person who is not the named insured is injured).
Insurance Follows the Vehicle
Many drivers make the mistake of thinking that insurance follows a driver, but it is more often the case that insurance follows the vehicle. As a result, when lending your vehicle out, it is important to remember exactly what your insurance covers. What will be covered depends solely on the terms of your insurance policy. Even though comprehensive and collision insurance coverage is more costly, it will cover any damage to a vehicle as well as any other drivers who use the vehicle. Other drivers who use a vehicle, however, must be listed on the terms of an insurance policy. If an individual is not listed on your insurance policy, you will likely encounter difficulty when making an insurance claim. Your insurance might even use the fact that a person is not listed on your coverage to exclude a driver. Kansas, however, does not permit such exclusions.
Distinguishing Between Permissive v. Nonpermissive Drivers
Any motorist to whom you grant permission to use your vehicle should be viewed as a permissive driver. For motorists who fall into this category, unless they are specifically excluded from your policy, you will most likely need to utilize your own insurance after an accident occurs. If a person uses your vehicle without your permission, however, this individual would be classified as a nonpermissive driver and you would most likely not be held liable if this person was involved in an accident while using your vehicle.
Speak With a Compassionate Crash Attorney
If you or a loved one was injured in a car crash caused by a negligent driver operating a borrowed vehicle, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced and skilled personal injury lawyer. Contact House Law LLC today to schedule a free case evaluation.