A coworker or friend approaches you with a wide apologetic smile. You quietly nod your head as you listen to their story: there’s an important date, the car is at the mechanic, and he or she needs to borrow your car. An awkward silence follows as you mull over the thought in your head.
Should you – or should you NOT – let someone borrow your car for the weekend?
With thousands of car accidents happening all over the country daily, it’s not far-fetched to assume that maybe, you could be next. Almost every driver, at some point, has encountered an incident on or off the road. Be it a minor or major mishap, we all make mistakes.
However, it’s one thing to commit an error yourself with your car, than have someone else at fault.
In general, legal experts and insurance providers advise against lending your car to someone else. Here are a few reasons why:
- In case of an accident, your premium may go up
- In worse case scenarios, you could end up losing your policy
- The person may use your car for a crime
- The person may endanger himself or others in your vehicle
Not only do you risk a property you worked hard to get, there’s a possibility of jeopardizing your relationship.
For instance: say you allowed your coworker to borrow your car for his date. Unfortunately, he rear-ended another vehicle at a restaurant parking lot and the owner filed a claim. Now you have several headaches. One, you need to settle the issue with your insurance provider. Second, you need to pay to repair damages to your car. Third, you feel betrayed by your friend. Fourth, you know things will never be the same between you two (unless you can be so forgiving).
Consider yourself still lucky because damages to your car are the least of your worries for letting someone else get behind the wheel. Did you know that non-drivers can be charged for a crime even when they were miles away? This is what happened to Ryan Holle in 2003. He lent his car to his friend and thought nothing more of it. That is, until he found out that they used his car to drive to someone’s house, burglarized it, and even killing an 18-year-old girl in the process.
Although Holle was fast asleep during the crime, he was still sentenced with first degree murder.
You can still let other people borrow your car, of course. Especially in cases of emergencies, it would be irresponsible not to do so. However, you need to exercise careful judgment. Before handing over your keys, ask these vital questions:
- How long will be vehicle be used?
- Where will it be driven?
- Who else would be the passengers/drivers?
- What type and level of auto insurance do they possess?
- Do they have any reckless driving records?
- Will there be alcohol and/or minors involved?
Lending your car may seem like an easy enough decision. But sometimes, the smallest decisions can wreck properties and friendships.
So think long and hard the next time someone asks to borrow your car. Compromise when you can, because your choice may end up costing you more than just mechanical repairs.