How Does Car Insurance Policy Apply to Permissive Users?

An auto insurance policy is a guarantee that your losses will be covered in the event of a car crash. If you drive as an insured driver in Miami, for instance, you expect that the policy will come to your aid in case you run into an accident. However, that is not always the case. This is why it is important to understand exactly where your auto insurance policy is applicable. A Miami car accident lawyer can help you understand the fine print of your policy.

A common scenario where your auto insurance policy may not cover your vehicle is when another person is operating the vehicle. If that person runs into a crash causing losses, your insurer may refuse to pay up damages. This is specifically when the person is not listed by name on the policy.

An important concept that comes into play here is “Permissive Use.” Here is a look at what this is and how it applies to Miami crashes.

What is a Permissive Use Driver?

Permissive use is when you allow another person to operate your vehicle. This person is typically not listed on the policy by name. However, the terms of the policy may still allow you to lend your car to this person.

A key consideration for permissive use drivers is the extent to which they, and the vehicle while they operate it, are covered by the policy. This is where insurance policies may vary significantly, depending on your insurer and the terms of your auto insurance.

Some insurance companies let you invoke the permissive use principle to seek damages in case another person you authorized to operate the vehicle caused the accident. However, other insurers have various limitations and requirements regarding how auto insurance may apply to a permissive use driver.

You need to understand how your insurance policy deals with permissive use drivers. This is because if a person you consider a permissive user ends up in a crash and your insurer refuses to pay up, you will be hard-pressed to pay the damages out of your own pocket. The actual amount of damages can be substantial, especially when another person may have suffered injury or property loss.

Permissive use is usually an essential part of your auto insurance policy. You can check with your insurer and get detailed information on the specifics of the feature in the case of your insurance.

Who Qualifies for Permissive Use?

The basic requirement for a person to qualify as a permissive user is that the person must not share the same address as you. For instance, a family member who is not living with you, or a friend who lives a few blocks away, qualifies as a permissive user.

However, you can’t hand over the keys of your vehicle to just about anyone and expect that person to be covered under permissive use. As discussed below, most insurance companies have specific limitations on when a vehicle’s operation is not covered under permissive use.

Limitations on Permissive Use

Insurance companies typically limit permissive use to situations where the degree of risk and liability is the same as when you yourself operate the vehicle. This is why the permissive use principle does not apply when:

  • The car is used for business purposes. For instance, if you lend your vehicle to a friend who uses it as a rental vehicle, any damages caused during such use are not covered under permissive use. In the event of a crash during business use of the vehicle, the person and the vehicle will not be covered by your policy.
  • The car is lent to an inexperienced or unlicensed driver. If the person operating the vehicle is unlicensed, the insurer is very certain to refuse coverage under permissive use. Likewise, if the person is not adept at driving and this inexperience is evident, the insurer can refuse coverage over similar grounds.
  • Many insurers will require that you don’t lend your vehicle for permissive use more than 12 times a year.

These are important limitations and exceptions you must consider when lending your vehicle to a friend, acquaintance, or family member.

Hire a Miami Car Accident Lawyer

If you lent your vehicle to a friend who then caused a crash in Miami, FL, it is vital that you get legal help at the earliest. A lawyer will help you understand whether or not your friend’s crash is covered under the permissive use clauses of your specific auto insurance policy.

Here at Englander Peebles, our lawyers keenly understand the specifics of the auto insurance policies. We also work with you to make sure your rights are safeguarded and that an insurer doesn’t unjustly turn down your claim for damages. Reach out to us now to discuss your Miami crash with our lawyers.

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