My car was driven without my permission!

Submitted by Worried Sick on Thu, 10/04/2007 - 02:56

I was in the process of selling my car when a relative drove it without my permission, loss control and tragically hit and killed a pedestrian. What happens now? Should I consult with an attorney or just my insurance carrier? Help!

Posted: 04 Oct 2007 08:40 Post Subject:

Laws regarding insurance may vary widely between states. Therefore, the state law may play a crucial role in your case. Typically, your car insurance will extend its coverage only to the people enlisted in your policy. But many-a-times it may so happen that you are required to drive someone's car while not being included in his/her policy. Under such circumstances, if you meet with an accident in which you are at-fault, the insurance policy of the car owner will first come into play and then yours. Well let me explain it with the help of an example.

Suppose, both you and the car owner individually carry the liability coverage of 10/20/10 (the first figure depicts the amount payable for bodily injury for a single person). Now, if the total amount of loss exceeds the minimum level of $10,000 then the owner's policy will pay $10,000 and your policy will pay the rest.

The above mechanism may work in the same way in your case also depending upon your state's specification.

Regards,
Juanita

Posted: 04 Oct 2007 08:42 Post Subject:

Hi worried sick, I empathize with you. Anyone in your situation would have been dead worried like you.
Normally, the insurance company covers the losses only if the other-person is listed in your policy or driving with your permission. If this particular relative isn't included in your policy the insurance company may deny compensating the other party's damages under the bodily injury liability coverage.

Posted: 04 Oct 2007 09:19 Post Subject:

My friend, try to give the keys of your car to a more responsible relative henceforth. This type of incident may attract harsher consequences in the future. It will influence point accumulation on your policy which may affect your auto premium in the future. The insurer may even decide to drop you. stevendelacruze

Posted: 04 Oct 2007 09:36 Post Subject:

Oh my gosh ! Worriedsick, (you certainly picked the perfect screen name), I would be as well.

You've got a couple of problems and decisions to make. First if as you say,

drove it without my permission,

and you tell your company and the police this, the driver more than likely will be charged with vehicle theft, on top of whatever trouble they are in. And there will be no coverage from YOUR policy for the killed ped. There will be coverage for your vehicle under the comprehensive coverage, (vehicle theft peril). That is the way I would certainly go, and sorry your relative would just have to deal with it. And this is why, if you change and say you gave him permission, or if it is discovered, determined, or concluded, that your relative even had 'implied permission', and coverage is afforded under your policy as the owner of the vehicle both you and the driver will be party to the (more than likely) impending suit that will be filed by this poor ped. family. And any excess judgement (over your policy limit, by the way what is your 'bodily injury' limit) will be coming directly out of yours and the drivers pocket !

If you maintain they drove the vehicle without permission and in fact stole it. You and your policy are 'off the hook'. If the poor deceased had a policy (any auto policy), then theirs would pay under the 'uninsured motorist' coverage, so they won't be left 'hanging' so to speak.

Should I consult with an attorney or just my insurance carrier?

If an attorney is required you insurance company will provide one, but not for an 'excess' judgment. Talk with them see where the claim is headed, if there is coverage afforded they will try hard to settle it within the limit. If not then yes, contact an attorney, but I'd see first if they are going to deny this as the result of a theft.

Let us know, and I'm so sorry this happened to you.

Posted: 04 Oct 2007 08:07 Post Subject:

and you tell your company and the police this, the driver more than likely will be charged with vehicle theft, on top of whatever trouble they are in

Extremely difficult in most states, impossible in others. Sounds like the relative used the keys. Questions: where the keys left out where they were accessible by the relative? If so, this would be permissive use in most states. Has the OP specifically told the relative in the past that they are _never_ to use the vehicle? Has the relative _ever_ used the vehicle in the past? Again, it's almost impossible to have this considered a stolen vehicle. Court systems just don't allow it. I don't think it would be Theft by Conversion either.

[/quote]And there will be no coverage from YOUR policy for the killed ped.[/quote] Wrong way of looking at it. The ped. does not get coverage... the driver and owner/insured get liability coverage. The OP's carrier may not give coverage to the driver but they will certainly give liability coverage to the insured/OP. In many states the owner is liable for the use of the vehicle, not just the driver. Again, denying liability coverage to the insured/OP would most likely not be done.

top of whatever trouble they are in. And there will be no coverage from YOUR policy for the killed ped. There will be coverage for your vehicle under the comprehensive coverage, (vehicle theft peril).

As noted above, this would most likely not be a theft (good call on comprehensive/theft coverage, though). I'd call it collision for coverage to the insured vehicle.

OP, you need to IMMEDIATLY report this to your carrier and if your relative has a policy or lives with anyone that has an auto policy, they should report it to that carrier IMMEDIATLY as well! It's only a matter of time before the deceased person's relatives obtain the service of an attorney. Some carriers will also immediately give this information to an attorney who will represent your interest in the matter (one reason being, then most correspondence might be considered legal communications and not "discoverable" by the other parties attorney).

Posted: 04 Oct 2007 08:34 Post Subject:

Extremely difficult in most states, impossible in others


Agreed, very difficult, but she states, he took vehicle without permission, although (again) I agree could be implied permission. Especially faces a daunting task is proving since vehicle was for sale, and easy enough for driver to say , 'i was test driving'. My point for her is that if in fact driver took the vehicle without permission implied or otherwise, she needs to assert this, and insurance company will likely require her to tell the police this and driver to face the consequences. We've both probably had claims, were 'jr. took the car and totaled it without permission', of course when the legal aspect is presented to the insured (mom and dad) that they must fully cooperate with the authorities (re:vehicle theft) the story changes.

Has the relative _ever_ used the vehicle in the past?

If true of course we know this one will 'hang' her (meaning her liability coverage), in most cases. But tcope all I could go on was her statement

when a relative drove it without my permission

.

Wrong way of looking at it. The ped. does not get coverage... the driver and owner/insured get liability coverage. The OP's carrier may not give coverage to the driver but they will certainly give liability coverage to the insured/OP. In many states the owner is liable for the use of the vehicle, not just the driver. Again, denying liability coverage to the insured/OP would most likely not be done.

What I was saying/meaning was IF it is determined that a theft occured, her carrier would deny the claim thus no liablity payment, to the ped. You are correct I mis-spoke in my haste.

As noted above, this would most likely not be a theft (good call on comprehensive/theft coverage, though).

Possible we don't have enough facts to know if there is a case for 'non-permissive' use other than her statement. We do agree however IF it sticks, and she can prove theft of the vehicle, there will be a denial, therefore no payment from her policy to the ped. and comprehensive coverage will pay to fix her vehicle.


I'd call it collision for coverage to the insured vehicle.

Now in my state, (and companies I've worked for), all pedestrian hits, (no permissive use questions, insured just hit a person) these are handled under comp coverage as well, 'striking an animal' same as a deer, etc. the damage to the vehicle is covered under comprehensive.

Posted: 05 Oct 2007 05:11 Post Subject: Reply from Worried Sick!

Thank you ALL for posting your opinions!

The truth is I was in the process of selling my car to my brother, I signed over the title and he was supposed to take it to his motor vehicle admin. for tags and registration. However, before that happened, his son (my nephew) took the car with HIS permission and NOT mine, and then the accident occured. I'm worried sick because technically, my license plates were still on the vehicle.

Also, he did not have a valid driver's license so I would under no circumstances have allowed him to drive my car...

Posted: 05 Oct 2007 06:48 Post Subject:

If you signed the title over, even if the title was not officially changed by the DMV, many states, if not all, will view this as a sold vehicle. Your intent was to sell the vehicle and really that transaction had been completed. It's a technicality that the DMV had not yet changed the title.

You do need to report this to your carrier so that _your_ interest can be protected but your brother needs to report it to any carrier he may have. Your brother will should be the only party responsible for the use of the vehicle but depending the location of the accident, your carrier may make an offer in order to avoid a lawsuit. But again, your brother and/or driver are really the one's responsible for the situation.

Posted: 06 Oct 2007 02:47 Post Subject:

Tcope:

Thank you... thank you.... thank you! And YOU are absolutely correct! After reading the postings this afternoon, I did the right thing and called my insurance agent and they reassured me all that you stated in your post/reply. I'm still a little worried but more than anything, sad for the loss of life and pain/suffering the family is experiencing. Well, we're all experiencing right now.

This INSURANCE COMMUNITY is wonderful, legit and extremely informative. I feel very lucky to have found you all. And I look forward to reaching out to others as you have to me. Thanks again for sharing your wisdom.

Posted: 23 Feb 2011 08:58 Post Subject:

The question here is in essence who is liabile for the wrongful death of the pedestrian, not whose vehicle was involved. Insurance protects you against liability you may incurr - in this case the laibilty should fall with the driver, not the vehicle owner.

Posted: 24 Feb 2011 12:32 Post Subject:

in this case the laibilty should fall with the driver, not the vehicle owner.

There are many states that hold the owner responsible in addition to the driver.

Not that it matters much as you just responded to a thread posted 3 years ago.

Posted: 30 May 2011 02:52 Post Subject:

The insurance company covers the losses only if the other-person is listed in your policy, if your relative isn’t included in your policy the company may deny your compensation.

Posted: 30 May 2011 03:36 Post Subject: insurance

very true,PACKET!! If your insurance company denies your claim, then you may have to 'go after' the person who was driving it. Just curious, however.........how did the person leave wih your car and you not know it?

Posted: 19 Jan 2013 06:53 Post Subject: A dealer/repair centre drove my car without my permission

Hi everyone I am new to this site and like what I have been reading. please can you help with some advice?

I took my car (Renault) to a renault repair centre for a diagnose of 30mins at rate 0f £50. The work was booked for example on the 3rd of the month but I took the car to them around 6pm on the second due to my work. I was at work on this day from 8am-8pm they rang me from the centre that they realised it is the key that need a new one and reprogramming so I went to pick up my car the next day. Today I received a letter from a council for a contravention on the 3rd while my car was at the garage with a picture evidence in a place far from where the car was repaired.

my question is. Can I make a claim from this company from driving my car without my permission and also get them to pay the fine incurred on my name?

Posted: 19 Jan 2013 06:56 Post Subject: A dealer/repair centre drove my car without my permission

Hi everyone I am new to this site and like what I have been reading. please can you help with some advice?

I took my car (Renault) to a renault repair centre for a diagnose of 30mins at rate 0f £50. The work was booked for example on the 3rd of the month but I took the car to them around 6pm on the second due to my work. I was at work on this day from 8am-8pm they rang me from the centre that they realised it is the key that need a new one and reprogramming so I went to pick up my car the next day. Today I received a letter from a council for a contravention on the 3rd while my car was at the garage with a picture evidence in a place far from where the car was repaired.

my question is. Can I make a claim from this company from driving my car without my permission and also get them to pay the fine incurred on my name?

Posted: 20 Jan 2013 12:50 Post Subject:

Your matter has nothing to do with insurance, so there is no claim you may make. Certainly, in the UK, as in the US, it should be possible that you can be absolved of the violation by providing proof that you could not have been operating the vehicle at the time. Alternatively, you could pay the fine and turn around and sue the responsible business owner -- but that would waste even more of your time.

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