Damaged front fender from a car accident

What Happens If Your Kid’s College Roommate Crashes Your Car

With dorm décor, clothing, and electronics packed in the car, your student is ready to head off to college this fall.


Chances are insurance is not anywhere near the top of your mind.


Here’s a question, do you know what happens if your student lets someone else drive your car at college, and they get into an accident?


“If it’s an occasional use, say I borrow your car to go pick up milk, and as long as permission has been verbally granted, you’ll typically be covered,” says Jeanne Salvatore, a spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute.


If an accident occurs, your insurance company will likely be responsible for paying any claims. And those claims would impact your insurance record and could affect future insurance rates.


In most states, your auto insurance will be considered the primary insurance even if someone else crashes your vehicle, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).


That means the coverage on your policy would extend to help cover injuries for the other driver or damage to a vehicle caused by your friend. If your car is damaged in that an accident, collision coverage may help cover some of the repair costs, but you’ll have to pay your deductible first.


However, some insurance may not cover the accident at all. Auto policies may exclude coverage to relatives living in your home unless they are specially named.


Other policies may provide coverage for an accident caused by another driver, but on a more limited basis than if you were driving.


It’s essential to read and understand your auto insurance and talk to your students about it. If you have questions about your auto insurance, speak to a trusted advisor to help gain clarity.


There’s a good chance your student will lend their vehicle out to a roommate or friend at college; but if they understand how your insurance works, it may not happen until a level of trust is established first.