Anyone who has been involved in a car accident can attest to the myriad issues that arise in the aftermath. There are many ways to mitigate the likelihood of an accident and prevent injuries, and car insurance provides drivers with some financial peace of mind.
Auto insurance is particularly crucial in light of Texas’ fault-based insurance system. Under this framework, Texas requires people who drive in the state to pay for the accidents they cause.
However, following an accident, injury victims, car owners, and those driving another person’s vehicle may wonder about insurance coverage. Does insurance follow the car or the driver in Texas?
Broadly speaking, car insurance follows the car in Texas, but several nuances to the law may impact what happens if you crash someone else’s car or if someone wrecks your car.
Texas Car Insurance Requirements
Under Texas law, drivers must show proof that they can pay for accidents they cause. Further, drivers must be prepared to show proof of their insurance coverage when they are behind the wheel.
In most instances, motorists accomplish this requirement by purchasing auto liability insurance. An at-fault driver can invoke their liability insurance coverage to pay for repairs or to replace the other party’s vehicle, pay for damaged property, and pay medical expenses.
Texas Liability Coverage Requirements
Texas drivers must meet the state’s minimum car insurance requirements, which include the following:
- $30,000 per person for bodily injury;
- $60,000 per accident for bodily injury;
- $25,000 per accident for property damage; and
- $2,500 per personal injury protection unless validly waived.
In addition to the required coverage, Texas drivers might consider increasing their liability coverage or purchasing other protections.
What Happens If I Crash Someone Else’s Car?
In most cases, Texas auto insurance policies cover the motorist, their family, and people driving their car with permission. Generally, bodily injury liability, personal injury liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage follow the vehicle. However, personal injury protection (PIP) coverage follows the driver.
But what happens if you wreck someone else’s car or a friend wrecks your car? Generally, car insurance provides coverage to the car, regardless of who is driving the vehicle.
However, there are situations where coverage may vary. If you are asking these questions, it is probably time to speak with a Texas car accident lawyer to learn about your rights, remedies, and responsibilities.
Insurance Coverage for Rental Cars
Car rental companies usually offer damage waivers and liability policies. It is important to note that damage waivers are not insurance. Instead, damage waivers are agreements that the rental company will not charge the driver for damage to a car they rent.
Although car insurance typically follows the vehicle, this can be an issue for those who do not have auto insurance, rent a car, and cause an accident. Further complicating matters is that most car rental agency insurance policies cover only the individuals named explicitly in the policy.
Coverage for Borrowed Cars
Those who cause an accident while borrowing a car may seek coverage from the car owner’s insurance policy. However, if the car owner does not have auto insurance or does not have enough to cover all of the damages, the driver’s insurance will kick in.
If a driver causes an accident while driving in a car borrowed from a repair shop, the driver’s liability insurance should pay for the damages to the vehicle and the victim’s injuries and damages.
What Happens If a Friend Wrecked My Car?
The primary inquiry in cases where a friend wrecks a car owner’s vehicle is whether the friend had permission to borrow the owner’s car.
If the friend was at-fault and had permission to drive the owner’s car, then the owner’s insurance would be the first to cover the claim. If the friend was not at-fault and had permission to borrow the owner’s car, then the at-fault driver’s insurance would be the first policy to cover the claim.
If the at-fault driver’s insurance refutes the claim or does not have enough to cover it, the owner must file a claim with their insurance company.
However, this is only applicable if the owner has collision coverage. Issues arise if neither the car owner nor the at-fault driver has auto insurance. In these cases, the car owner may be unable to collect compensation from either insurance provider.
When and Who to Sue After Texas Car Accident?
If a car owner lets their friend borrow their car and the friend is involved in an accident because of another’s negligence, the car owner can recover from the at-fault driver.
If the at-fault driver’s insurance company refuses to pay, then the owner may need to file a car accident lawsuit. However, Texas is not a “direct action” state.
As such, owners must first sue the at-fault driver and, if necessary, the at-fault driver’s liability insurer. Further complications may arise if the at-fault driver is driving someone else’s car.
Accordingly, it is crucial to contact a Texas personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident to ensure that you recover compensation for your injuries and damages.
Do You Have More Questions About What Happens If You Crash Someone Else’s Car?
Does insurance follow the car or the driver in Texas? It generally does, but there are exceptions. The answer may not be as clear as a simple yes or no.
With years of experience helping accident victims recover meaningful compensation for their injuries, we understand the personal injury process and what it takes to maximize our client’s damages awards.