What Happens If Your Friend Crashes Your Car — Who is Guilty and Who Will Pay?

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Edgar Moulton.


Edgar Moulton. Car Expert

What happens if a friend crashes your car? Of course, you don't want to think about this situation when your friend has asked to use your car. But even a professional driver can get into an accident. You may think that the person who was behind the wheel is always liable for an accident, no matter whose car it is. However, the reality is far from that. 

In most cases, you will be held responsible for damage to your car, the vehicles, properties, and injuries of others involved in the accident. In such an event, you need to keep a lot of nuances in mind. What state was your friend in when he got behind the wheel? Did you let him drive your car, or did he do it without telling you? Is your friend added to your insurance as someone you trust to drive your car? These factors can affect the terms of your insurance, and in some cases, you may incur more financial costs.

In this article, we answer in detail the question: what happens if someone else crashes your car? You will find information on how payments will be made under different circumstances, depending on the severity of the damage. We will also discuss what to do when your car cannot be repaired after an accident, and you need to find a damaged car buyer.

Of course, it is better never to get into such a situation. But still, you should be prepared for the worst, so it will be easier for you to solve this problem and not spoil relationships with your friend. 

Cases Where the Owner of the Car is Liable for Damage

Except for some cases, the owner of the car will be responsible for the damage in an accident. But you still may ask yourself, "Will my insurance cover me if my friend crashed my car?" If your friend is at fault for an accident but doesn't want to pay, luckily, in most cases, your insurance will cover the damage. Let's understand what types of insurance plans exist and what kinds of damages they cover.

The following two insurance plans are the most common:

Liability insurance 

This type of insurance plan is mandatory in most U.S. states. If you or a friend with your car is involved in an accident, liability insurance will cover damages to the other parties involved. This includes damage to both the car and bodily injury to another person.

Collision coverage 

This type of insurance plan is optional. In the event of an accident, it will cover damage to your car. There are different types of insurance policies and most of them require a deductible minimum. This means that the insurance will not cover the cost of restoring your car up to a certain amount. For example, when the damage to your vehicle is minimal, the repair cost won’t be high. In this case, you will do the repairs at your own expense. The amount of the uninsurable minimum depends on your insurance policy.

So, the main question you may be wondering is: if my friend wrecked my car, whose insurance pays? Usually, the answer is simple — if you let your friend use your car, your insurance will pay. But are there other options? Am I always responsible if my friend crashes my car? Fortunately, no. In some situations, you won’t be liable.  In the next section of an article, we've outlined the cases where the car owner may not pay for the consequences of an accident.

Cases Where the Owner of the Car is Not Liable for Damage

As we said before, in most cases, you will have to pay, either on your insurance or at your own expense. But you need to know cases when you don't have to pay for an accident. Knowing these instances will help you protect your rights and avoid unnecessary fees. Let's answer the question "Who pays if my friend crashes my car?" with specific examples.

You didn't give permission to drive your car

If your friend took the car without telling you or did so against your prohibition, they would be fully responsible for an accident and your insurance will not be involved. But there is one complication in this situation. If you claim: “My friend wrecked my car, but I don’t want to pay for damages because he took it without my permission,” this is not enough for your insurer. You need to prove that you didn't allow the car to be taken. And this one will be quite difficult. You will need to present obvious evidence.

Your friend was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Such conditions should be specified in your insurance policy. But there are nuances here as well. If you let your friend drive knowing they were drunk, you are also responsible for the accident. If your friend took the car without noticing you and got behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they will be fully responsible for the wreck.

Your friend is an excluded driver

Most insurance policies have the option to exclude someone from the plan. This means that this person will not be allowed to drive your car. If the person you have listed as your excluded driver is involved in an accident while driving your vehicle, you won't be able to use your insurance. Your friend will have to pay for the accident with their insurance instead.

Your friend is not licensed to drive

What if the unlicensed driver totaled my car? If your friend borrowed your car with your permission, you would share the responsibility. Even if you were unaware he didn't have a license to drive, the accident would be partially covered by your insurance. But your friend will also be responsible for the accident. Some of the damage may be covered by their insurance policy as well.

If someone borrowed your car without your notice and got into an accident, you are not liable for the damage caused to others involved. The person who was behind the wheel will be directly responsible. But what about your vehicle? After all, your vehicle is damaged too. What if your friend crashed your car and won’t pay? If so, you would have to use your insurance policy to cover the damage to your car.

What Happens if Your Friend Has Crashed the Car and Has No Insurance?

It is not advisable to give your car to someone without insurance. Even if you trust your friend and think he is a good driver. In the event of an accident, you will be responsible. However, your friend or relative can take your car without permission. We suggest you consider two possible options:

I allowed my friend to use my car, and they had an accident

If your uninsured friend is involved in an accident with your car, your insurance will cover all costs. If the damage is significant and your insurance doesn't cover it, you'll have to pay more out of your own pocket. Of course, if your friend is a responsible person, they can pay for the expenses. Otherwise, you'll find yourself in the unpleasant situation of having to pay for someone else's mistakes. Also, you'll have to pay for the medical bills if people are hurt in the accident.

My friend wrecked my car, but I didn’t give permission to use it

If your friend took the car without permission, you would have to prove it. Otherwise, the consequences of the accident will be covered by your insurance. In this case, you can use your insurance plans as follows:

  • cover damage to your car using collision insurance
  • cover damages of other people involved in a car accident with liability insurance

Of course, you do not want to pay for an accident that was not your fault, especially if your car was taken without your approval. But you have to prove that you didn't permit them to use the car. If someone you know is using your vehicle, the insurance company won't consider it a theft. It is called “unauthorized use”, and if an unauthorized person uses your car, your insurance company may deny your accident coverage. To avoid having to pay for the accident yourself, you need to report to the police that someone wrecked your car but used it without your permission.

What if Your Friend Crashed Your Car With a Lot of Damage?

What happens if your friend crashes your car and causes significant damage? Who will pay for it? Could you be sued in case of serious injury?

Unfortunately, in most cases, the answer to those questions is yes.

As we said above, all costs will be covered by your insurance if there is an accident involving your car, and it doesn't matter who was behind the wheel. Part of the damage may also be covered by your friend's insurance (if he has insurance).

But all insurance policies have limitations. What if there is a lot of serious damage? Sometimes your and your friend's insurance may not be enough to cover an accident. If the accident was your friend's fault, the injured party might try to get a portion of the compensation through court. Alas, in this case, you will be liable since you are the car's owner. You risk losing your money or part of your property.

The situation looks even more severe if your friend was not allowed to drive. For example, these could be cases such as the following:

  • Lack of a valid driver's license
  • Lack of driving experience
  • State of alcohol or drug intoxication
  • Deteriorating physical condition

If your friend has at least one of the above signs, you should never give him the keys to the car. If it is proven that you knew about the problem and let your friend drive the car anyway, the insurance company may refuse to cover the accident. 

If your vehicle is in poor technical condition, you may also not receive any insurance payment, which means you'll have to pay for all of the costs at your own expense. 

What If Your Friend Had an Accident With Your Car That Led to the Death of the Participants?

This is the worst scenario, and no one wants to consider this possibility. But, unfortunately, such events could happen, and you should understand what to do if a friend crashed your car and someone died. If you know how high your responsibility in such a situation is, you can make the right decision beforehand.

Each such case is considered in a court of law. But who will be responsible: you or your friend? This situation is pretty complicated, and there are many factors to consider that will affect the court's decision. Here are some of them:

  • What condition was your friend in at the time of driving? An aggravating condition is an alcohol or drug intoxication.
  • If your friend was under the influence, did you know about it?
  • Did you give your friend permission to drive, or was the car stolen from you?
  • Does your friend have a valid driver's license?

Remember, if your friend took your car without your knowledge, it would need to be proven in court. Otherwise, you become an accessory to his crime. And in addition to financial loss, you may face jail time. If such an accident occurs, you should consult a lawyer. 

Consider Junkcarsus Your Trusted Partner

An accident is always trouble. Even fixing the damage from a minor accident involves high financial costs and a lot of time. In addition, as described above, insurance may not always cover all of your expenses due to an accident. What's more, your car may not always be repairable after an accident.

So, your friend drove your car and wrecked it. What can you do? You can get financial compensation for your old and damaged car. And how can you do this? The answer is simple: sell your broken car. 

If you no longer want to repair your car or your car is so severely damaged that it cannot be repaired, Junkcarsus is always happy to help you. If you're sitting around wondering how to sell my wrecked car, give us a call!

Junkcarsus accepts any type of vehicle, from sedan to RV, and in any condition. You can sell to us:

  • Damaged Cars
  • Scrap Cars
  • Blown-Engine Cars
  • Non-Running Cars
  • Old Cars
  • Wrecked Cars
  • Salvage Cars

On our website, you can calculate the price of your car and a member of our staff will help you to close the deal. That way, you won't just throw your car in the junkyard but can make some money out of it.

Final Thoughts

If you let even your closest friend use your car, think first about the question, "what would happen if a friend wrecked my car?” Of course, he wouldn't intentionally damage your car, but no one is protected against accidents, and one way or another, this problem will affect you directly. You can expect legal issues and financial expenses, both minor and rather significant.

In this article, we described different situations and options in as much detail as possible. We explained the different types of insurance, what they cover, and in which cases. Remember that if you entrust your car to an unlicensed driver, in case of an accident, the insurance agency may refuse to cover the costs, and then you'll have to pay a hefty sum. Also, remember that if you cause an accident, you'll have to pay higher rates, regardless of whether you or your friend was at fault in the accident.

Also, don't forget that you always have the option to sell your wrecked car and get some compensation for the accident. Junkcarsus experts will advise you on various questions such as "how much is my wrecked car worth?" or "what to do when your car dies, and you still owe money on it?"

An unfortunate situation can happen to any driver. But remember, your car is your responsibility. For the accidents in which the participant is in your car, with a high probability, you are the one who will be responsible. So think in advance about whether you really trust the person you give the car keys to.


What should I do if my car is stolen and wrecked?

Let's first understand when your car is considered stolen. If your car was taken without your permission or even without informing you about it, it is, in fact, stolen. In this case, you won’t be held responsible for the accident that occurred with your car.

This may lead you to the question: “My friend crashed my car, can I sue him?” If your car has been stolen, then definitely, yes, you can. But the difficulty is that when the car is driven by someone you know, it will be quite difficult for you to prove the theft.

You can put a permissive driver on your insurance policy to avoid such ambiguous situations. This can be your friend, neighbor, or relative who you let use your car. If a family member or friend often takes your vehicle, you should include their name on your insurance policy. However, in that case, your car cannot be considered stolen. If your friend, who is not listed on your policy as a permissive driver, is involved in an accident, your insurance policy may not cover it or may reduce your limits for accident coverage.

What would happen if my uninsured friend totaled my car?

Letting your friend drive your car without insurance is a high risk. If an accident happens, all damages will be covered by your insurance. Sometimes insurance has limits and cannot cover all costs of an accident. In that case, you or your friend will have to cover medical and auto repair costs at your expense. If your friend refuses to take responsibility, unfortunately, you are the one who will have to pay all the costs.

Will my rates increase after an accident?

Remember that insurance covers the car, not the driver. So it doesn't really matter who was driving your car at the time of the accident — your insurance will cover it. However, an accident may cause your insurance rates to go up. The size of the increase depends on the severity of the accident. In most cases, you will pay an increased rate for several years.

Some insurance companies offer what's called accident forgiveness to their regular customers. If they do, your rate won't increase after the accident, but the terms for such forgiveness vary from company to company. The most common requirement is a clean driving record for several years.

What happens if my friend causes minimal damage to my car?

Your insurance may cover minor damage from an accident. But some insurance policies have a deductible minimum, and anything less than this minimum is not covered — you will have to pay for the repairs yourself. For example, your policy stated a deductible minimum of $500, and the total cost of the damage to your car is $400. If that's the case, you need to fix your car yourself.

Edgar Moulton.


Edgar Moulton. Car Expert

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