Does comprehensive insurance cover you to drive other cars?

Generally, you aren't covered to drive other cars with comprehensive insurance. Check your policy documents and state laws to see how your coverage might extend to other vehicles.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 20, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Comprehensive insurance is a coverage option on your policy that applies in situations other than collision
  • For instance, if your vehicle is damaged by hail, flooding, or even animal damage, then comprehensive coverage would come into play
  • This coverage may come into effect if you are driving another car
  • However, comprehensive coverage does not automatically provide protection when you drive a non-listed car
  • Your state or your provider may have specific rules or exceptions to how your coverage can extend to non-owned vehicles

Comprehensive coverage is one option that you can add to your insurance policy to protect your car from damages that are not related to a collision.

Although your insurance policy may provide coverage when you drive another car, this extension of coverage may vary based on your provider or which state your policy is written in.

This means that your policy may not cover you driving a non-listed car, or it may not provide coverage at all.

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Does your policy provide protection when you drive another car?

When it comes to auto insurance, many drivers believe their insurance policy covers them driving any vehicle; owned or otherwise. It’s important to remember that the car’s primary auto insurance is what provides protection in many cases.

What this means for you is that your auto insurance will not normally supersede any existing coverage that the car carries.

Your insurance provider may be willing to extend your coverage to a non-owned vehicle in certain circumstances. For example, if you are renting a vehicle from a rental agency, then your provider may extend your coverage to protect the rental vehicle.

This would mean that your comprehensive coverage, as well as any other coverage options you’ve selected, would apply to the rental vehicle.

Your policy may also cover driving another vehicle if you speak to your insurance provider and confirm your coverage will extend. When borrowing another car, it’s important that you do not assume your coverage will extend.

However, if you contact your provider, and they confirm that your coverage would apply in the event of an accident, then you can drive with peace of mind.

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When will your policy not provide coverage for you to drive another car?

There are also situations where your insurance policy may not provide protection to another car. One reason that your policy may not provide protection for another car is if the policy contains exclusions that limit when coverage applies.

These situations include:

  • Differing state laws
  • Excluded drivers

In some instances, exclusions can be state-specific, such as when a state specifically limits who can operate a non-owned vehicle. In these situations, your coverage may not apply even if you have permission to drive the vehicle.

Additionally, if you are driving a non-owned vehicle, and you are listed as an excluded driver, then you may not have coverage.

When a driver is listed as excluded, this means that the policy will not provide coverage to that driver, regardless of what damages they are responsible for.

If you are listed as an excluded driver on the vehicle owner’s policy, then your policy may not provide coverage either.

What can you do to protect yourself when driving another car?

One of the most effective ways to protect yourself is to confirm that your insurance policy will extend to a non-owned vehicle before you drive.

Your insurance provider may get information from you about the vehicle and its owner before confirming coverage.

Once they do, however, they can usually notate that coverage has been confirmed and then you can drive knowing that you are protected.

Also, if you find out that your policy will not protect you when driving another car, then the car’s owner may want to speak to their insurance provider to confirm if you are covered.

Many times, insurance providers expect the car’s primary auto policy to cover any liability or property damage first.

If you are driving another car frequently, such as a family member’s car, then you may want to consider asking to be added to their policy.

While your insurance policy may step in to help cover an accident, the car’s primary auto policy is always the preferred first point of coverage.

The provider handling the claim may deny coverage, however, if they discover that the car’s driver has been operating the car for an extended time-period and has been housing the vehicle at a different location than originally specified.

Having an auto insurance policy with many coverage options is often a smart decision for many drivers.

Comprehensive coverage is one of these options that you may have on your insurance policy, and it may extend to other vehicles you drive.

However, not every insurance policy or provider extends your coverage options to non-owned vehicles.

It’s important to speak to your insurance provider about any state-specific exclusions or limitations that would prohibit your coverage from extending.

If you are planning to drive another car, it’s important to speak to your insurance provider to find out how coverage would work.

They should be able to explain how your policy works as well as any conditions on when your coverage will or will not apply.

Additionally, your state’s Department of Insurance can provide you with additional information regarding any state-specific regulations about driving non-owned vehicles.

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