Motorists invest large sums of money and sometimes take out a loan to buy automobiles. In addition, they are sentimentally attached to them and won’t be happy about seeing it treated badly. You will have to make a decision when someone wants the keys depending on your character, condition of the vehicle and insurance arrangements. Asking the following ten questions help you find an answer.
- Can a Friend Drive my Automobile?
The easiest and lowest risk decision is to say no. However, you won’t be able to say no easily if you know them well enough. Furthermore, knowing a person well enough will answer many of the questions you may have. Perhaps you have seen the friend behind the steering wheel? Then, it will be much easier decision to hand over the keys to a friend and you will be more comfortable with it.
- Does He/she Have a Valid License?
Generally, they will offer an explanation as to why they need it. This will help determine if they have a license. It is your right to check this as owners are responsibility. People may lose licenses for many reasons including not renewing it in time. Ask to see it if you have to or suspect anything out of ordinary.
- Can Someone Else Drive my Auto Under my Insurance?
Usually it would be a friend, colleague or relative asking you this favor. You have to know if unlisted drivers are covered or not. Sometimes it may be for only the listed people. Insurance policies go with the car. In other words, your coverage will be the first port of call should something happen on the roads. Also, any accident that happened with the car is your responsibility regardless of who was seating behind the wheel, unless it was taken without consent or stolen.
You need to make sure that the policy covers the occasional drivers you allow. Otherwise, you will have a serious headache as to who will pay the damages and liability claims. Third parties (including the person who was allowed access to it) can sue the owner of the vehicle for damages and injuries even though a third party was responsible for it, as explained above.
In addition, it would be nicer that they have their own arrangements in place that provide liability coverage for driving someone else’s car. Should your policy come up short theirs may have to step in to pay the difference. Also, they may be sued for negligence that their insurers will have to deal with.
- Can Someone Who Lives with Me Drive my Car?
It is important to differentiate between occasional user and the ones who live with you. If they are living with you, even temporarily, the car insurance implications are different. They need to be listed on the policy before you can allow them. For example, you may have house guests who are staying with you for couple of weeks, a month or longer. They are considered member of the household by many insurers and should be listed on the schedule.
Again, a long term boyfriend/girlfriend who sometimes spends time in your home or stays overnight (even though he/she has his/her own place) may be required to be included especially if they regularly use the automobile.
- Can Another Person Use my Car if She/he Is a Teen?
Age can be an issue as some policies may only insure occasional drivers over the age of 25. You need to check the coverage especially when a youngster involved. Read the terms and conditions section attentively. Also, youngsters may be imposed higher deductibles.
- Is the Person Who Wants to Use the Vehicle a Good Driver?
Again if you know them you probably know if they are any good. What they do with theirs is a different problem as long as you are not in it with them. However, it is totally different game when they are operating yours. The laws can be fickle at times and you may be held personally liable when you facilitate a bad motorist.
If you know that they may text or be intoxicated while behind the steering wheel you really shouldn’t let such people anywhere near it, unless you are prepared to face the consequences. What you know about them can be questioned to determine liability. Besides, do you really want to take a chance?
- Would You Let Somebody Smoke in It?
Some people may be sensitive to smoking and don’t want anyone smoke in their cars under any condition. The problem is that a person may habitually light a cigarette if he/she is smoking. Furthermore, their clothes will smell and it will spread within particularly when the seats have cloth covers. So, you have to think again before letting a smoker have the keys. If you do, you may have to be clear about smoking in it.
- Are They Likely to Eat or Drink in It?
Naturally, you don’t want people to engage in activities in there that you wouldn’t do. If you are a clean and tidy type of owner you probably keep it nicely. You should make sure that it will not smell fried chicken and have spilled ketchup all over. Otherwise, you might want to get ready cleaning after them or ask them to return it as clean as they have received.
- What Is the Weather Like and Where Is the Destination?
When the weather is terrible you should consider the increased risks. As well as the icy and wet roads, people take time to get used to a new. Keep this in mind. Also, you should check where they are planning to take it. If they are planning on fishing or camping trip and asking for the keys to 4×4 you can have an educated guess that they will go off road. This will increase the damage risk due to bumpy, muddy and slippery roads and trees on the way.
10. When Will It Be Returned?
Essentially, you won’t be able to use it if it is away. While you are facilitating a friend or acquaintance you want to make sure that you are not left to suffer inconvenience. Ask yourself if you trust the person to return it in good condition and in time.
In rural locations most people know everybody well and would have no hesitation to lend vehicles to each other. This may be different in big cities where it may not be essential to allow others access. We are living in a modern world where there are plenty rental companies in most locations and you are not one of them.
Every circumstance will be different and has merits and problems. It is not a decision that should be taken lightly. These questions will help you to make a better decision. It is worth going through them in any case. Even if the answers will not affect the decision at least they will tell you what to expect as a result. You should find out as much as you need but you will have to make the decision at the end of the day.