Thursday, August 28, 2008

Whether to lend my wife's parents our new car when they visit... I say absolutely not.

I just got into a "discussion" with my wife over letting her parents (who are flying in from CA tonight to visit for the weekend) use our new car. Upset that my wife's parents were going to spend money to rent a car, when my wife asked me whether we should offer to let them use our new car, I said absolutely not, because if something happens to the car when her parents are driving it, while they might have their own insurance which would cover their own injuries if something happened, the car is likely not insured against damages that occur while they are driving it.

My wife used the example to counter my argument that when we went to visit my mom in Colorado, I wanted to use my mom's car, and why would that be different? I told her it was different because my insurance covered only our own personal injuries and I didn't care if something happened to my mom's car -- I was just going to drive responsibly and let them take the risk because they're my parents. In the end, my mom wouldn't let us use it because she wasn't willing to take the risk of us damaging her leased car.

Then my wife exclaimed that when we go to CA to visit her parents, they let us use their piece-of-junk 4x4, and they don't care. I answered that if something happened to the 4x4, they wouldn't be so upset, so they were willing to take the risk. However, they would never let me drive (or even let me stand near) their new 2008 BMW because if something happened, they wouldn't be willing to take the risk of me damaging it.

I think the issue is about risk. Then my wife got upset at me that it's an issue of family, and that I am not letting them feel as if they are part of the family by not offering to let them to use our car. I told her that they could use the piece-of-junk van, but not the new Accord. She didn't like that answer.

What's your view of this situation?


Anonymous said...

I think you're wrong. The policy should be on the car, not the individual driver. Call you insurance company, but there should be no issue of lending out your car to an occasional driver.

Zoe Strickman said...

In our state, I believe the policy is on the driver. I'll have to double check this though.

Ahuva said...

If you got a loan to pay for that car, then it's almost certain that you had to get an insurance policy that would cover the car if someone else was driving and damaged it. Most lenders won't give you the money unless their security (the car) is insured.

From wikipedia:
In the United States, liability insurance covers claims against the policy holder and generally, any other operator of the insured vehicles, provided they do not live at the same address as the policy holder, and are not specifically excluded on the policy. In the case of those living at the same address, they must specifically be covered on the policy. Thus it is necessary, for example, when a family member comes of driving age they must be added to the policy. Liability insurance sometimes does not protect the policy holder if they operate any vehicles other than their own. When you drive a vehicle owned by another party, you are covered under that party’s policy. Non-owners policies may be offered that would cover an insured on any vehicle they drive. This coverage is available only to those who do not own their own vehicle and is sometimes required by the government for drivers who have previously been found at fault in an accident. Non-owners policies are also known as Named Operator Policies. The policies are useful for people whose drivers license has been suspended and they have to have insurance for their licensed to be reinstated.

Still, particularly if her parents wouldn't let you borrow their new car, there's no reason you should lend them your new car.

Anonymous said...

Let them use it. She's right. It's family. Assuming they're normal people, they would pay for the damage if anything happens.

-- Meir B