What If I Get in an Accident in Someone Else’s Car?

The legal process following a car accident can be confusing to navigate, even when it involves your own vehicle. What happens if you’re driving a car that’s not your own? Texas mandates certain procedures following a car accident – learn how to handle an insurance claim and get compensation for your damages following an accident in someone else’s vehicle.

Basics of Texas Insurance Law

Texas requires minimum amounts of coverage that kick in when there is a car accident. The minimums set by state law include what’s called 30/60/25 coverage, which entails:

  • $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident for bodily injury coverage
  • $25,000 in property damage

The state also provides an understanding of who receives coverage under a policy. Under Texas insurance law, the general rule is that anyone who lives under your roof can enjoy coverage on one policy. In fact, many insurers require a list of all family members before signing up for a policy.

However, most insurance companies also allow for “permissive use” of a vehicle. This means, essentially, that anyone who drives a car with a policyholder’s permission will receive coverage in the event of an accident. Friends and extended family can occasionally borrow a vehicle and have peace of mind knowing they will have coverage in the event of an accident.

An important exception exists, on the other hand, for excluded drivers. Sometimes, a policyholder may choose to specifically exclude drivers from a policy. While this is uncommon, a few reasons a policyholder might exclude a driver are:

  • Inexperienced drivers. Teenagers can significantly increase premiums, especially if they already have a traffic ticket or two under their belts. Parents might choose to exclude their teens from coverage until they can show enough responsibility to drive.
  • A driver has an extensive traffic record. Lots of tickets, a history of accidents, or a DUI might cause a policyholder’s premiums to skyrocket. In this case, he or she might choose to exclude a negligent driver from a policy.

A policyholder must specifically exclude a driver from coverage in writing. If you’re on this excluded drivers’ list and get into an accident, the insurance company will deny any claim to coverage and you will be personally responsible for any damages.

In most cases, however, a person who has permission to drive a friend’s vehicle will have coverage under the rule of permissive use. If this applies, a car insurance claim will proceed much like any other.

What to Do After an Accident in Another Person’s Vehicle

In order to receive compensation for your and the policyholder’s damages, take the following steps after a car accident:

  • Check on the well-being of all other drivers and passengers. If necessary, contact emergency medical services for care.
  • While waiting for the police to arrive, move your vehicles over to the side of the road and allow any traffic to pass.
  • Gather any available evidence and information while waiting for the police to arrive. Get the other driver’s contact information, insurance policy information, and anything else you need to begin the claims process.
  • Take pictures of the accident scene, including pictures of the damage to both vehicles, skid marks, and damage to any surrounding property.
  • Give a statement to the police officer that provides a detailed description of what happened.

Finally, tell the policyholder about the accident and give them any information you collected at the scene. He or she will call the insurance company and begin the process of filing a claim for compensation. In the meantime, get any medical attention you need and begin the road to recovery. The policyholder’s insurance company will give you further instructions on being compensated for your medical bills and other damages.