An upside down wrecked car on the street

What Happens if Someone Else Is Driving My Car and Gets into an Accident in the UK

November 10, 2023

The scenario is not uncommon: you've lent your car to a friend, family member, or colleague, and they happen to be unlucky enough - or negligent enough - to be involved in a collision. The immediate aftermath of an accident can be overwhelming, even more so when you weren’t behind the wheel of your own vehicle. So if you find yourself wondering, "what happens when someone else crashes your car, this following guide will provide some essential insights.

Determining Liability

In the event of an accident, determining who is at fault is a fundamental step. Liability is based on the actions that led to the accident rather than the owner of the vehicle.

  • Driver's Actions: If the person driving your car is found to be at fault, they will be held responsible for the accident.
  • Third Party Actions: If another driver is deemed responsible, their insurance should cover the damages.
  • Shared Liability: In some situations, responsibility might be split between multiple parties.

If you get wrapped up in an unending liability dispute, claims management companies like us at RTA Claims can help.

Your Insurance Coverage

Your car insurance policy plays a key role when your vehicle is involved in an accident, regardless of the driver:

Comprehensive Cover

If you have a comprehensive policy, this will typically cover the damages to your vehicle, even if the person driving your car is at fault. However, you may need to pay the excess, and it could impact your no-claims bonus.

Named Drivers

If the person driving your car is listed as a named driver on your policy, the process is more straightforward; most policies will cover named drivers for any damages or injuries.

Unspecified Drivers

If the individual driving wasn’t specified on your policy, it might complicate matters; some insurance policies offer third-party cover for drivers not named in the policy, but this varies.

Third-Party Insurance

Most car insurance policies in the UK offer at least third-party coverage, as it's the minimum legal requirement. Here’s what you need to know about it:

What It Covers

Third-party insurance covers damages or injuries caused to other people and their property, but doesn’t cover the damages to your car.

Driving Another's Vehicle

Some third-party policies allow individuals to drive cars not owned by them. In this case, if the person driving your car has third-party cover for driving other vehicles, their insurance might cover damages caused to others, but again, not damages to your vehicle.

Legal Considerations

Insurance concerns aside, there are a number of legal implications to consider if someone else is involved in an accident while driving your car:

  • Permission to Drive: Firstly, ensure that you’d given the individual explicit permission to drive your vehicle. If not, they could be charged with taking the vehicle without the owner's consent, which has its own legal ramifications.
  • Driving Licence and Eligibility: It's crucial to ensure that the driver held a valid driving licence and was legally eligible to drive your car. If not, both you, as the owner, and the driver could face legal consequences.
A car involved in an accident upside down on the street

Recovery and Repairs

After the dust has settled and the immediate aftermath is dealt with, you’ll want to turn your attention to the repair of the vehicle. Here are some important points to consider:


If your car has sustained damages, it's advisable to get an assessment from a reputable garage or mechanic to determine the extent of the damage and estimate repair costs.

Claiming for Repairs

Depending on the circumstances and the terms of your insurance policy, you might be able to make a claim to cover the repair costs. If the driver of your vehicle was at fault and you only have third-party insurance, you may have to bear the costs yourself.

Courtesy Cars

Many comprehensive insurance policies offer the provision of a courtesy car while yours is being repaired, so this will ensure that you're not left without a means of transportation. Again, it’s always good to know your car insurance policy inside out - this prevents surprises in the case of an accident.

Potential Disputes

It’s also important to note that when an accident involves a borrowed car, it may lead to disagreements, particularly around liability, costs, and responsibilities:

Liability Issues

Even with clear evidence, the at-fault party might dispute their responsibility. In such cases, the evidence, including witness statements, photographs, and any available CCTV footage, becomes crucial.

Financial Responsibilities

Who pays the excess? Should the person driving your car compensate you if your no-claims bonus is affected? These are tricky questions, and it's best to discuss and clarify them beforehand. If not, they can become sources of contention between you and the person who was driving.

Insurance Premiums

After the accident, your insurance premiums might increase, especially if a claim is made on your policy. This can lead to disputes about who should bear the additional cost.

Key Takeaways

Having someone else involved in an accident while driving your car can be a stressful experience, and can represent potential costs for you. It underscores the importance of clarity when lending your vehicle – ensuring that the person driving is adequately insured, understanding the terms of your own policy, and having open communication about potential financial responsibilities.

To be best prepared for such scenarios, it's always a good practice to review and understand the specifics of your insurance coverage, discuss responsibilities with anyone you allow to drive your car, and always be proactive when it comes to gathering evidence in the event of an accident. Remember, while the vehicle is yours, the responsibility for an accident lies primarily with the driver's actions, but the financial and legal implications can ripple out to affect you, the vehicle's owner as well.