Personal InjuryHow To Lend Or Borrow A Car (And Stay Out Of Legal Trouble)

December 19, 20190

If you or a loved one finds themselves without a ride, you may be tempted to borrow or share your resources.

While there’s no problem with this, there are some things you should be aware of before loaning out or borrowing a vehicle.

Is it Really Borrowing?

When you let your roommate drive your car to and from the grocery store on a hot day, it’s safe to say they are borrowing your car. If you are sharing your vehicle with your newly licensed teen driver, however, your son or daughter may not be considered a borrower.

Any time a live-in friend or family member begins using your car for routine purposes, you might want to add them to your insurance policy as a regular user. In the event of an accident, this will clear up any confusion and help ensure your policy covers the damage.

Who Is Driving Your Car and What Are They Using It For?

Before you let someone borrow your car, make sure they’re a licensed driver. If they have an out-of-state license, the distinction shouldn’t matter, but if they have a license from another country, you may need to double-check the rules. Sometimes, foreign drivers must apply for an International Driving Permit in Hawaii and other parts of the United States.

You may also want to check if your loved one’s drivers’ license has any restrictions. Learners’ permits, for example, can look similar to drivers’ licenses, but usually don’t permit the individual to drive without someone else in the car.

To be extra safe, you should also be aware of your friends’ and family’s driving records. If someone you know has a history of car accidents, you might reconsider lending them your car.

When you send someone off with your vehicle, make sure you know where they’re going. Trips into Canada or Mexico can get your vehicle flagged as stolen, and commercial activity like Uber or Lyft may not be covered by your insurance.

Is Your Insurance Up to Date?

This question can be relevant to you whether you are driving or borrowing a car. In many states, the driver’s personal coverage applies to any accident they are in, even in a borrowed vehicle.

Nevertheless, some policies require the car owner to provide primary coverage, so you should make sure your car is well-insured before it enters the roadway – no matter who is driving.

What Are Your Responsibilities When Borrowing a Car?

First and foremost, always make sure you have permission to borrow a car. Even if someone said you could borrow their vehicle “whenever,” asking permission can prevent misunderstandings and false reports of a stolen vehicle.

Whenever you drive, you are also responsible for knowing the rules of the road and the regulations of the state you’re driving in. If you don’t understand these rules and regulations, ask whoever is lending you the car!

You should also ask what kind of gas the car owner prefers to use. If you are running low on fuel, you will want to fill up with the right kind. To be extra courteous, fill up the tank before returning the vehicle.

For peace of mind, know where things are if something goes wrong. Ask your friend or family member where they keep their registration and insurance information and inquire about their preferred mechanic.

Always drive carefully and be respectful when borrowing someone else’s vehicle. Even if you get into a fender-bender, your care and courtesy will be respected and help you avoid nasty insurance disputes.


To reinforce the ideas we’ve just discussed, we’d like to provide you with a brief recap.

If you are loaning your car to someone:

  • Make sure they can legally drive in Hawaii
  • Check their driving records and make an informed decision
  • Know where they’re going and whether or not they intend to use your car for commercial purposes

If you are borrowing someone else’s car:

  • ALWAYS get explicit permission
  • Familiarize yourself with local rules and regulations
  • Be careful and courteous
  • Know what to do if something goes wrong

In the unfortunate event you get in a car accident while borrowing a car, or someone else crashes your beloved vehicle, you should also be prepared to deal with insurance companies.

If someone was injured and/or you were involved in an accident, Attorney Daniel T. Pagliarini may be able to help.

Don’t let insurers confuse you or reduce your claim.

Contact Daniel T. Pagliarini Attorney at Law today or schedule a free consultation online.

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