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Today I answered an interesting question on my Avvo site about insurance coverage when you allow someone else to drive your car:

My friend was driving me home from work in my car, i was too sick and dizzy to drive. We got t-boned going through an intersection, and he got a ticket for failure to stop. I only have liability insurance on my vehicle he was driving, but he has collision insurance for his vehicle. If his insurance denies the claim for a settlement for my vehicle can I sue?

I’m a former insurance adjuster/advisor/claims manager. If he has collision under a relatively mainstream type auto policy then coverage should apply to him as a temporary substitute auto being driven. In fact, I can’t think of any policy that would exclude coverage.

I would recommend talking with your friend and having him request and receive a complete copy of his insurance policy immediately by email or fax and request in writing a certified copy of the policy which takes a couple weeks sometimes a little longer. In the meantime, you want an uncertified copy so each of you can read the language in the collision section regarding this subject. I would be glad to help you for no charge if you need me to look at it.

I would do the above before you you to give recorded statements to adjuster this going to be a sign. Don’t tell the adjuster that you’re not to get the statements until you have the policy but make it work out that way while being nice and respectful to the adjuster. You don’t have to wait for the certified copy to give the statements but, you need the certified copy to review and read it thoroughly. Moreover, in regard to giving a statement second to receiving the policy just tell them that this is a new experience and all you have read and heard is that you should have your policy and be thoroughly knowledgeable about its contents and you would just like to do that.

In fact, I would somehow get my policy and read it thoroughly on the subject or have someone do it for you prior to even reporting the claim. When you report claims are being recorded and that will be used against you if you say one thing wrong even though you’re not going to lie or be dishonest it’s just always better to be informed prior to going forward.

Hopefully, they will grant coverage and when they do the only other thing you may come up against is a low offer and the best way to handle that is the “appraisal process” contained in the policy as well in which I can describe at a later date if need be. But, remember the value of the car is negotiable if it’s a total loss and tax should be added and if it’s a total, typically negotiation will have to take place before you get to the right price. If it’s not a total then no big deal just make sure a good shop does the repairs.

So the ultimate answer to your question is you could sue them if there’s a denial of coverage in spite of the policy granting coverage. I don’t expect that to happen I would expect them to extend coverage assuming there’s no strange language in this policy and then be real to wait tough on the value of it’s a total. Technically speaking the theory that you had to say then would be something like a third-party beneficiary to the contract but, I don’t expect that at all. Remember that your friends deductible will apply. Good luck!

Ps. If you are hurt, it sounds like your friend is at fault. I remember correctly this is an Alabama and we have a yes passenger statute prevents you from collecting against the at fault driver of the car you’re in unless you meet one of several exceptions. There’s time to describe all that now just make certain you consult with a lawyer if you have an injury claim before you give any statements or do anything other than report the fact that you were injured. In regard Alabama guess passenger statute you really are not a guest passenger since you on the car but I have had a very difficult time convincing adjusters of that even though it’s the truth.

All the above was dictated by voice recognition without edit while walking down an an airport terminal, so please forgive any obvious mistakes due to the voice recognition!

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