If an insured owner let her son drive while she was in the car, and he got in an accident, would she be liable? 19 Answers as of January 13, 2013

A friend of mine's truck was hit by a car leaving a parking space. The other driver was at fault. The insured owner allowed her son to drive her car but she was a passenger in the car at the time of the accident. Her insurance company denied his claim stating her son is an excluded driver. Since she was in the car at the time of the accident, would this not make her insurance company liable for damages?

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Law Offices of Mark West
Law Offices of Mark West | Mark West
The insurance policy probably states that it will not pay under any circumstances if a "specifically" excluded driver is driving. However, depending on the amount of damage, you could take them both to small claims court and get a settlement for the damages caused against them personally.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/13/2013
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
Yes. The owner is liable for a person she lets drive her insured car.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 1/9/2013
Shean Law
Shean Law | John Shean
She would be liable if she negligently entrusted the vehicle to her son because he did not have a license, was intoxicated, unqualified to drive, etc. Otherwise, an owner is not automatically liable for the negligence of a permissive user.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 1/9/2013
Victor Varga | Victor Varga
Not if the policy didn't cover him. She is responsible.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 1/9/2013
Graves Law Firm
Graves Law Firm | Steve Graves
Unfortunately, no. If an excluded driver was operating the vehicle, the insurer doesn't have to cover the loss. The mother agreed with her insurance carrier that she was buying insurance that would not cover damage caused by operation of the car by the excluded driver. The mother might still be personally liable if the circumstances are right, but you can pretty much forget insurance coverage. Hope your friend had collision or uninsured property coverage.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 1/9/2013
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    She would be liable.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/5/2013
    Steven Kalishman, P.A.
    Steven Kalishman, P.A. | Steven J Kalishman
    If her son really is an excluded driver, the insurance company does not have to pay the claim. But the owner is still liable.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/5/2013
    Law Offices of Sandeep G. Agarwal
    Law Offices of Sandeep G. Agarwal | Sandeep G. Agarwal
    Sue both the driver and the owner of the vehicle. Even if the insurance company will not cover the driver, you may force him to pay out of his own pocket. Just because an insurance company will not provide coverage, does not mean that person is not liable. It just means that any judgments or settlements will come out of their own pocket as opposed to from an insurance company.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/5/2013
    Brian H. Adler, PA
    Brian H. Adler, PA | Brian H. Adler
    The following is not intended as legal advice, and shall not be construed as a formal legal opinion. You should consult a lawyer promptly to review all pertinent facts and options: ANSWER: If the driver of the vehicle was excluded under the owner's auto insurance policy, it is likely that the insurance company can deny payment of any claim brought to recover damages from the accident. However, be aware of the following: 1. The specific language of the auto insurance policy dictates the rights and responsibilities of the insurer and insured(s). Accordingly, the policy should be carefully reviewed to determine whether an exception exists in your friend's case. 2. Even if the insurance company denies the claim, the at-fault family still remains individually responsible. A claim directly against them may still be viable. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/5/2013
    Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
    Certainly. That's why she has insurance.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/5/2013
    Rags Beals Seigler Patterson & Gray
    Rags Beals Seigler Patterson & Gray | Ronald D. Reemsnyder
    Insurance typically applies to the car. If the driver was authorized by you, the insurance will likely apply Sent from my iPhone Confidentiality Notice: This email is intended only for those addressees shown in the " to" and "cc" headers. Please delete this email if you are not such an intended recipient. Review of this email by other than the intended recipients does not waive the attorney client , work product or other privileges. Only clients may rely on this email- if you are not my client, please be advised that I am not providing legal advice to you.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/5/2013
    Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
    It might. But it would take a lawsuit to make that happen.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 1/5/2013
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    In S.C., anyone driving with the owner's permission is covered by the insurance. Even if insurance doesn't cover it, the mother would likely be liable under a doctrine known as the family purpose doctrine. I question the insurer's denial of this claim.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 1/5/2013
    Oliver & Duncan | Donald E. Oliver
    If the owner's son was excluded from coverage under the policy, her insurance carrier has no obligation to cover the damage. In order for that to happen, she would have had to pay for covering her son (and her agent would have gotten himself a new BMW with his share of the premuim).
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 1/5/2013
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    She would be liable, whether her insurance covers it or not.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 1/5/2013
    John Russo | John Russo
    No I would be, come on.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 1/5/2013
    WEISSMAN LAW FIRM
    WEISSMAN LAW FIRM | I.Donald Weissman
    Liability (or fault) for an accident and whether an insurance company will pay are two different things. The owner of the vehicle who gives permission for someone else to drive it is responsible for property damage up to $5,000, if there is insurance. If she loaned the car to someone who was "excluded" from the policy she may be responsible under a claim of "negligent entrustment" which is her fault not that of the driver. The exclusion under the policy should not then apply. If the damage is under $10,000, sue in small claims court. Let her fight with her insurance company. You don't have to.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/5/2013
    Frank Law Group, P.C.
    Frank Law Group, P.C. | Brett E. Rosenthal
    Not if he is a specifically excluded driver. Permissive users are covered as long as they are not specifically excluded and in that case permission to use is of no moment because they are already excluded. Especially in the instance where the driver providing the permission knows that the son is excluded.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/5/2013
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