According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics as on 31 January 2017, Australia has 18.8 million registered cars on the roads. That is 18.8 million cars that may possibly be lent to friends, family members or work colleagues. However, lending your car to anyone may have implications for you, depending on what your insurance policy states.

Understanding the implications of lending your vehicle

If you lend your car to a friend or family member you may not take into account the terms of your car insurance policy; however, if you don’t, you may be taking a gamble. Some insurance companies have strict rules about whom should be added to the list of drivers on your car insurance. This does not mean that all insurance companies have such a rule, however, you need to check your policy to gauge whether this is applicable to you. There are two groups normally not covered by your insurance, namely, excluded drivers and uninsured drivers, naturally including those who do not have a driver’s licence.

Either way, for example, if your friend drives your car but is not listed on your policy as a driver, a claim may possibly be denied if this driver causes a crash. For instance, in NSW in 2016, there were 3734 rear-end crashes in urban areas. You never know what will happen, and whether your friend could be involved in an accident.

What preventative measures can you take?

Before you lend anyone your car there are some actions you can take to limit the risk of possible loss, not to mention reducing a possible straining of friendship.

Firstly, your car should have compulsory third-party insurance, which is required in Australian states. This insurance covers drivers of your car, particularly in the case of an accident. Such insurance does not cover the damage to your car − this is where your car insurance comes in. However, about 2 00 000 Australians are without comprehensive car insurance; 600 000 of these uninsured cars are on NSW roads.

Secondly, before you allow a friend to drive your car, you should ask to see their product disclosure statement. This statement will show what they are covered for.

Thirdly, you could add your friend, partner, or family member to your insurance list. This may mean a slight increase in premium, however, this may be weighed against a total loss after an accident.

Lastly, the risk is yours. In the end, your friend may pay for the damage, or even the excess; however, this is not a given.

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