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If I borrow my buddy’s car and get into an accident, will my buddy's insurance cover or will mine?

This situation comes up frequently. Or at least I feel like it did a lot when I was younger. You are with friends and are asked drive their car. Your friend says to take it easy. You reply that they should relax because you are fully insured. You confidently grab the keys believing that you are not at risk of owing your friend money in the event of an accident as your insurance policy should cover any potential loss.

Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Most insurance policies in Missouri have language that provides that the policy shall be in “excess to…any other applicable liability insurance for a vehicle NOT OWNED BY THE INSURED.” For policies that have this language this means that policy coverage on the vehicle itself must first be exhausted before the non-owner driver’s policy kicks in.

The result can be that your buddy’s insurance will be on the hook if you are in an accident. This means that you could end up owing your buddy the cost of their property damage deductible. If neither you nor your buddy does have collision insurance, you could end up owing them the full value of their car!

If you were injured in this situation, you would make an uninsured motorist claim through you buddy’s auto insurance policy, not your own policy, assuming the other party at fault. If there isn’t enough coverage available, you could then potentially make a claim through your own uninsured policy as the “excess” coverage available. You would have to receive the policy limits of your buddy’s insurance prior to making any excess coverage claim.

If your buddy is concerned with their insurance rates going up, tell them not to worry. If the accident was someone else’s fault, their rates will not increase for making an uninsured motorist claim under the policy. Missouri law is quite clear that insurance companies may not raise rates on policies that are only being used because someone else was at fault.

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I recommend purchasing liability and collision coverage to best protect yourself from owing money after an accident.

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