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Did not give permission to drive car | Coverage Issues

My 17 year old daughter walked away from her car to talk to a friend in the school parking lot and left her keys in the seat with the windows down.

A friend of hers hollered that he was going to sit in her car and she said ok. His friend then got into the driver's seat and ended up backing into another vehicle without getting permission to drive our daughter's car in the first place.

My husband and I are owners of this vehicle, not our daughter, and we gave no one other than our daughter permission to drive the vehicle. The damage to the other vehicle could possibly be $3000.00. My question is will our insurance have to pay this claim or will they go after the boy who was diving’s insurance?

I understand that the insurance goes with the car and not with the driver but I do not understand why me and my husband's insurance would have to pay if we did not give permission for this boy to drive the car.

The boy admitted to all of us that our daughter did not give him permission to drive the car. I stated that we did not give him permission to drive the car when I filed the claim with our insurance company.

Your advice on this matter would greatly be appreciated.



Well, this claim is probably going to be denied. Your auto policy probably has exclusions against non permissive drivers. Your statement and the boy’s statement can leave you without coverage trying to fix your car on your own.

Read your auto policy carefully under the collision and liability coverages and see if there is language regarding permissive driver. Usually insurance companies exclude coverage under both coverages. If this is the case, the other vehicle can potentially have a cause of action against the boy (of course) and probably you (the vehicle owner).

There are certain circumstances where insurance does follow the driver and this could be one of them. The boy’s insurance (their parents auto insurance) may cover this however that company may also have the permissive driver language.

There are other issues with your question. It’s a little more complicated than this and your state law may or may not help you.

What is permission?

State law defines that. It’s not as clear as we think. Different states follow the one permitee rule, in which if you give permission to one person, that one person can give permission to one other person (although the original owner never give permission to the last person), this would be a good permission chain. If that last person gives permission again, then the chain would break and no permission can be granted. (Some states allow the chain to continue as long as there is permission).

Other states are satisfied with “any” indication of permission. This can mean permission to sit down, or access the car, or have access to a car that has keys in it, or simply giving someone access to a house where the keys of the car can be found.

Also, some states go as far as changing “express” permission for “implied” permission. If you have loan the vehicle on the past to this one person, but had tell them not to drive it again or in anyway that person exceed the scope of the express permission, there may still be permission.

The last issue to consider here is your exact policy language. Is there a coverage exclusion for a permissive user or permissive driver?

Those two words are very controversial. User can be someone sitting on the vehicle and a driver may require the engine to be started. You want to look at both.

I hope this helps,

Good Luck,

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