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Daughter loaned my car to friend without my permission

by Upset Parent

I let my daughter drive my car to her fathers for dinner. She ended up loaning a friend the car to run to the store. He never came back.

The next morning they find out he ran a red light and tried to out run a Sheriff and ended up totaling the car by crashing into cement cylinders while trying to escape.

Help! What do I do? Can I press charges against him as a stolen car, he did not have my permission to have the car??


Dear Upset Parent: I am truly sorry about your story.

Can you press charges? Yes you could! You have to be careful in this situation. Most insurance companies provide coverage for this situation if and only if the person driving had "permission to drive the car".
The insurance company will try to not cover the accident if the vehicle was stolen. Most auto policies exclude that coverage right in the policy if there is believe of theft.

States vary on the issue of permission. Some states have strict rules, only the person that owns the vehicle have the right to give permission. Others have the second permitee rule, meaning that you can give permission to your daughter and she can give permission to only one person.

Others will imply permission by voluntarily passing on the key and looking at all other factors (how many times he drove the car, did he had access to the keys, etc.).

If you have full coverage (comprehensive coverage) in your policy, you can argue the car as stolen, and the insurance company will probably only pay for the car, but any medical bills or damages or injuries caused to third parties will probably not be covered.

This can leave you in a pickle because some people will argue that "you" entrusted this vehicle to someone else and it was your original negligence that cause the ultimate damage.

If you insurance declines coverage, as the owner of the car, you can be fighting by yourself.

Good Luck,

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