Imagine you’ve just been injured in a car accident. The at-fault driver informs you that he does not have car insurance personally, but the owner of the car (which he borrowed) does. Under Texas law, will your injuries be covered by an insurance policy?
Whether the above scenario describes your car accident or if even the exact opposite is true (the driver’s insured but the car isn’t) the bottom line is that there is not a question our accident attorneys field more frequently than questions regarding whose coverage applies. The good news is a skilled lawyer will know how to get you compensated under either situation because Texas courts have determined that either insurance policy can be made to cover your losses.
In this article, McKay LAw Texas car accident attorneys will explain how this concept works.
- If someone else was driving my car when the accident happened, is damage to my car and the other vehicle covered?
- Does car insurance cover the car or the driver?
- What are examples when the car insurance will not apply?
If there’s a car insurance policy, we can probably ensure we get paid.
In a perfect world, when you’re involved in a car accident, the owner of the car is the driver and the insurance on the car is also the policy that covers the owner. In reality, however, people within the same household often share cars, companies lend their cars to employees, friends lend their cars to one another, and people drive rental cars, etc. This creates scenarios where the car may be covered but not the individual or the individual is covered on their own policy but the car is not.
If there is an insurance policy anywhere in the mix, insurance will normally cover it, but only if you know the right legal arguments to make or have an attorney who does. To illustrate this, let’s cover a couple of scenarios.
- Victor rents a car from National car rental. Victor has no car insurance and he refuses to buy the supplementary policy that the rental company sells. If he causes a car accident and hurts somebody, there is an insurance policy that covers it; it’s the rental company’s insurance policy. Just because Victor didn’t purchase the extra coverage, and doesn’t have his own policy, it doesn’t mean there’s no insurance at all.
- Prentiss is married to Joyce. They share the same household, etc. Prentiss has had a bunch of speeding tickets and is uninsurable, while Joyce has a good driving record. They own two cars, and both Prentiss and Joyce are on the title for both vehicles. Joyce has an insurance policy covering herself in both vehicles, but in order to avoid letting the insurance carrier learn about Prentiss and his driving record, Joyce never mentions that Prentiss will be driving the car, so the insurance company does not know that Prentiss exists. If Prentiss then drives one of the cars and causes an accident, it is not an uninsured wreck even though Prentiss is not insured. Since someone in his household has a policy that covers the car, we’ll be able to make that policy “stick.”
- Olivia is driving a friend’s car. The friend has no car insurance on the vehicle. On Olivia’s vehicle, she has car insurance. Even if she causes an accident that injures someone with her friend’s uninsured vehicle, it is insured, for all intents and purposes, because Olivia is insured.
If there’s some insurance there, we can probably get paid.
Why do people think this is an issue?
Insurance companies will lie to you about the ins and outs of accident law, so if there is a policy that covers the car, yet it’s not readily apparent that it covers the car (like the scenarios outlined above), the insurance carrier isn’t going to tell you. If you don’t know how to make a less-than-obvious policy apply to the accident, they will simply not tell you. Uninformed people consistently allow insurance companies to pull the wool over their eyes surrounding insurance law.
This practice by insurance companies has become part of the common understanding, despite being incorrect. Just the same way that people say, “Pedestrians always have the right of way,” or “The car that hit you from behind is always at fault,” and neither of those statements is actually always true. This is an example of the public’s misconception of how the law in accidents really works.
Are there situations where there is no insurance coverage?
If no one related to the accident has any insurance coverage at all. Let’s say Sam owns a Hyundai Santa Fe, and has no car insurance, and the Santa Fe is not covered by anyone else’s insurance policy. Sam gets struck by another vehicle. The owner of the vehicle is driving and has no insurance covering himself or his vehicle, and neither does anyone else in his household. In this instance, Sam wouldn’t have an insurance policy to make a claim.
In the unlikely event the person driving the car is specifically excluded from the policy, or an insurance carrier states that they will not cover a specific individual based on their driving record. Or you, as the policy owner, call and request a person specifically not be included in your insurance policy then that person is not covered.
Is there a better way to answer this question?
Short answer, forget all of the “does the insurance follow X or Y?” conjecture; this is simple insurance law. It’s really not complex to lawyers who understand the issues. The answer to the question of whether the policy follows the car or the driver, the answer is, it follows both.
A better way to think of this topic is not so much in terms of which insurance policy applies but more in terms of order of operation. Which insurance policy is the first line of defense? Which would be used next? If someone lets a friend borrow their car, both have policies and the victim has UIM coverage. If someone gets hurt badly enough, it’s possible that they could get money from all three policies. It’s complex, there’s a correct order in which the claims should be filed and settled, but it’s doable.
Give McKay Law a Call Today
Mckay Law is eager to boldly fight and protect anyone who may be the victim of a car or truck accident!
Situations like yours can be complicated; if you have been in an accident you need the advice and representation of a highly skilled personal injury attorney. Whatever caused your collision, our attorneys will make an aggressive effort to come out with the facts. Once we determine why your injuries occurred, we can go after those responsible.
Whether it was a rear-end collision on an interstate highway, a semi-truck collision on a state highway, or a head-on hit-and-run on a local street, we can bring the law, the evidence, and the financial pain to those who caused your injuries.
The attorneys at McKayLawTX.com have been practicing personal injury law for more than 25 years. We are eager to boldly fight for you and assist you through this difficult time, call us today or submit a free case review with McKay Law personal injury lawyer and truck accident attorney.