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Thursday, 2 June 2011

Alberta Auto Insurance and Lending a Car to a Friend

Have you ever wondered whether your Alberta auto insurance covers you in the event that you lend your car to a friend and he or she gets into a collision? Almost every car owner will encounter a situation where a friend will request to borrow his or her car. Maybe you're at a barbecue and you run out of briquettes. Your friend volunteers to pick some up from the corner store but needs to borrow your car. The first thought that runs through your head is: "If I lend my car to a friend, will I be covered?" The answer to this question is complicated, but for the most part as long as your friend has a valid driver's licence you can be sure your Alberta auto insurance will cover you.

The first thing that you need to know is that if a friend borrows your car, it will essentially be as if you're driving the car. This is good in the sense that your insurance plan covers your friend in the case that he or she gets into a collision. In short, you won't be on the hook for thousands of dollars of damages. However, this also means that if your friend is at fault in the collision, your insurance provider may choose to increase your premium as if you had been driving the car. That means you should use your discretion when lending out your vehicle. Don't let anyone drive your car, unless you know they are competent behind the wheel.

The situation could also change if you lend your vehicle to a friend on a regular basis. For instance, if a neighbour borrows your car every few days to run errands or pick up groceries, he or she may constitute a "secondary" or "occasional" driver on your Alberta auto insurance plan. This means that they will have to be insured to use your vehicle or else you will not be covered in the event that there is an accident. However, if your friend borrows it rarely, it's likely that they will not need to be included in your insurance plan.

Ultimately, though, even if you know that your insurance plan covers someone borrowing your vehicle, there are other reasons to be careful when lending out your vehicle. Firstly, the process of making a claim can often be stressful. Secondly, making a claim on behalf of a friend can put a serious strain on a friendship. They may immediately pay for the deductible, but what about increased insurance premiums because of their accident? You can avoid serious headache by taking care in choosing who you allow to drive your car.

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