Does my insurance company have the right to deny my claim?

I have full coverage on my vehicle and my boyfriend borrowed it last week

because I was tired and did not want to go for the drive to pick up my brother.

We live togethere with my boyfriend’s dad. He is on his dad’s insurance since his dad has 2 vehicles and usually uses 1 of them. Therefore I did not see a reason to put him on my insurance if he was only to drive my car less than once a week if that. Well, he ended up getting into an accident with my car that night when he went to get my brother. They are saying that they are not going to cover my claim because he was not on my insurance. I do not understand because he barely drove my vehicle.

Asked on September 4, 2016 under Accident Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Until and unless there is a court determination that the insurer must pay, their denial does not have legal force. Rather, their denial represents them refusing to voluntarily pay you, but if you were to sue them for "breach of contract" (that is, for not honoring their contractual obligation as to when they must pay) and win, they'd then have to pay. So the good news is that their denial is not the final word; the bad news is that you have to sue them (and win) to force them to pay.
Their denial is, based on what you write, based on their belief that your boyfriend drove often enough that he should have been a covered driver under your policy. If he drove roughly once per week, they may have been right: he was someone who then potentially drove your car up to 50 or so times per year and who was predictably a driver. When you know someone will drive your car occasionally (e.g. its not someone on a one-time basis asking to borrow your car because their car is in the shop), you really are supposed to have them listed as a driver (and, as appropriate, pay more on your premium). So while you can sue your insurer for breach of contract and may win, you can't count on winning--a court could agree that a boyfriend who borrows your car a few times per month should have been on your policy.

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If your boyfriend was at fault in the accident, you are liable for the accident because you are the registered owner of the vehicle.
Since your boyfriend was not on your insurance policy, your insurance company will say that he was an unauthorized driver and therefore your insurance company won't cover the accident.  It does not matter how infrequently he drives your car.  He is not on your policy and is therefore an unauthorized driver for which the insurance company won't provide coverage in the event of an accident.

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