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Liability For Auto When Driven By Someone Else

Been the victim of Legal Malpractice? Discuss it here.

Liability For Auto When Driven By Someone Else

Postby crisdean77 » Mon Nov 14, 2016 7:50 pm

Hi Bernie,

I am concerned about my liability for a car purchased by me, registered in my name, insured by me but driven by my significant other with whom I have shared my life and home for 9 years.  Recently, I was not in agreement with his allowing his 18 years old son(F/T student and registered at our address) to drive the car so he obtained insurance in his name(with the same insurance carrier I use).  However,  the car is still registered to me and I am concerned that I may be subject to vicarious liability as described vehicle code(#17150).  Can you clarify if I as owner am still liable for what the driver of the vehicle does even though the insurance is under a different person?

Thank you for your prompt reply.

Debbie

ANSWER: Hi Debbie,

The owner of the car bears the ultimate responsibility of being liable for the actions of anyone that drives the car.  

Depending on the severity of the accident, the amount could be your total policy limits and ALL of your assets as well as all the assets of the driver.

The legal wording of a policy states that the person named on the policy as the named insured is covered while driving the car(s) on the policy.  All others in the household must be listed as drivers by name in order to be protected.  This means your significant other and his son.

Most insurance companies will only issue a policy to the owner of the vehicle because this is the only way that the owner can be protected.

Since your significant other insured one of your cars in his name, you may not even be covered if you drive that car and his son is not covered unless he is listed, yet, you are still liable as the owner.

The proper way to insure your cars is to put them all on one policy in your name(since you are the owner) and list yourself, your significant other and his son as drivers.

Since the son is using your address as his, then he is considered a legal resident of your household.

You should have a very thorough discussion with your agent, because there are many benefits provided to the named insured(you) that do not extend to other non-related drivers in the household.

For example, your policy follows you as the named insured(in many cases) when driving a non-owned auto, when riding with a friend and when walking across the street and being hit by a car.  These coverages do NOT extend to your significant other or his son.

You might want to consider registering the cars in both names and securing a policy in both names.  This way your significant other would have these extra benefits and so would his son as a resident relative of one of the insureds.

You need a lot more advice from someone who can review your entire legal and financial situation than I can provide with limited knowledge of your situation.

You need to carry adequate limits of bodily injury and property damage liability.  If you now have limits of 100/300 & 50, you should consider raising the limits to 500/1M & 500.  If your total assets are high, you should consider a personal umbrella policy of one million in addition to your regular policy.  In most states, an umbrella policy would only cost $185 or less.

I hope that you find this information to be of help.

Your feedback by rating my response will be appreciated.

Sincerely,

Bennie

San Francisco Bay Area  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Thx Bennie- this basically confirmed my concerns.  My insurance had indicated we were cross covered on each other's vehicles because we are listed as extra drivers on each other's policy and there is no additional charge to us because we both used AAA as our insurer.  However, the car needs to be registered to the person who is insuring it.  If I transfer title to him and file a release of liability, presumably that would relieve my responsibility for vehicles owned by him and driven by he or his son.  Would this still be the case even if we share a household?
crisdean77
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:57 pm

Liability For Auto When Driven By Someone Else

Postby Weardhyll » Mon Nov 14, 2016 9:24 pm

Hi Bernie,

I am concerned about my liability for a car purchased by me, registered in my name, insured by me but driven by my significant other with whom I have shared my life and home for 9 years.  Recently, I was not in agreement with his allowing his 18 years old son(F/T student and registered at our address) to drive the car so he obtained insurance in his name(with the same insurance carrier I use).  However,  the car is still registered to me and I am concerned that I may be subject to vicarious liability as described vehicle code(#17150).  Can you clarify if I as owner am still liable for what the driver of the vehicle does even though the insurance is under a different person?

Thank you for your prompt reply.

Debbie

ANSWER: Hi Debbie,

The owner of the car bears the ultimate responsibility of being liable for the actions of anyone that drives the car.  

Depending on the severity of the accident, the amount could be your total policy limits and ALL of your assets as well as all the assets of the driver.

The legal wording of a policy states that the person named on the policy as the named insured is covered while driving the car(s) on the policy.  All others in the household must be listed as drivers by name in order to be protected.  This means your significant other and his son.

Most insurance companies will only issue a policy to the owner of the vehicle because this is the only way that the owner can be protected.

Since your significant other insured one of your cars in his name, you may not even be covered if you drive that car and his son is not covered unless he is listed, yet, you are still liable as the owner.

The proper way to insure your cars is to put them all on one policy in your name(since you are the owner) and list yourself, your significant other and his son as drivers.

Since the son is using your address as his, then he is considered a legal resident of your household.

You should have a very thorough discussion with your agent, because there are many benefits provided to the named insured(you) that do not extend to other non-related drivers in the household.

For example, your policy follows you as the named insured(in many cases) when driving a non-owned auto, when riding with a friend and when walking across the street and being hit by a car.  These coverages do NOT extend to your significant other or his son.

You might want to consider registering the cars in both names and securing a policy in both names.  This way your significant other would have these extra benefits and so would his son as a resident relative of one of the insureds.

You need a lot more advice from someone who can review your entire legal and financial situation than I can provide with limited knowledge of your situation.

You need to carry adequate limits of bodily injury and property damage liability.  If you now have limits of 100/300 & 50, you should consider raising the limits to 500/1M & 500.  If your total assets are high, you should consider a personal umbrella policy of one million in addition to your regular policy.  In most states, an umbrella policy would only cost $185 or less.

I hope that you find this information to be of help.

Your feedback by rating my response will be appreciated.

Sincerely,

Bennie

San Francisco Bay Area  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Thx Bennie- this basically confirmed my concerns.  My insurance had indicated we were cross covered on each other's vehicles because we are listed as extra drivers on each other's policy and there is no additional charge to us because we both used AAA as our insurer.  However, the car needs to be registered to the person who is insuring it.  If I transfer title to him and file a release of liability, presumably that would relieve my responsibility for vehicles owned by him and driven by he or his son.  Would this still be the case even if we share a household?
Weardhyll
 
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:20 am

Liability For Auto When Driven By Someone Else

Postby elkan80 » Mon Nov 21, 2016 6:42 am

Hi Debbie,

By following the steps as you outlined, you will be relieved of all responsibility while the son is driving his dad's car with one exception.

If you specifically send the son on an errand and he has a severe accident, you can be sued since he was acting as your agent.

I also recommend that you add the son as a driver to your policy.  There should be no charge and who knows when an emergency might arise that would force him to drive your car.

Bennie
elkan80
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:06 am


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