Who is responsible for accidental damages on a co-owned vehicle?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Who is responsible for accidental damages on a co-owned vehicle?

My fiancee and I purchased a new vehicle last year which was retail

financed, not leased, through a bank. Now our relationship has ended and I will be keeping the vehicle. Due to poor credit on both sides we are not currently able to remove her name from the loan. I have full insurance coverage on the vehicle. The policy is only in my name but registration/loan/ownership will remain in both names. If I am in an accident or cause any damage with the vehicle, would/could she have any financial repercussions or exposure? I will continue to maintain full insurance coverage.

Asked on July 2, 2018 under Accident Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, all owners of a vehicle are potentially liable for damage to the vehicle or for damage to other persons' vehicles or injuries to other people, as well as for any defaults on a loan that owner is on. As long as she is on the title, she is liable for accidents. As long as she is on the loan, she is liable for that. If insurance pays a claim, she won't have to pay out of pocket, but if insurance limits are exceeded or the policy does not cover, she is vulnerable even though you are keeping & using the car.

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