What constitutes an authorized driver for insurance purposes?

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What constitutes an authorized driver for insurance purposes?

My buddy took my car without my permission and got into a accident while he was drunk. He got a DUI, totaled my car, and totaled the person’s car that he hit. I have spoken with my insurance company, got the car released to them and started a claim. Then they called and said that they want a recorded conversation talking about if he was a permissible driver and if they come to the conclusion he isn’t, there is a possibility my insurance won’t cover the other car. What should I do?

Asked on October 28, 2010 under Insurance Law, Utah

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If he took the car without your permission then he is not an authorized user of the vehicle.  You insurance policy as well as the law in your state will define who is an authorized user.  In some states drivers are authorized if they have permission to drive the vehicle even if they are not listed on the policy (known as permissive use doctrine).  In other states they must be listed on the policy to be authorized.  You need to speak with an attorney in your state as to the state law and what will happen in the case should they disclaim coverage for non-permissive use (yes, it means that they will not cover the accident but it does not mean that you will necessarily be labile).  Good luck.


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