Before you allow your child to get behind the wheel of your car, whether it is for practice with their permit or they just obtained their license, the first call that you should make is to your insurance company.
In the state of California, anyone who has a license and drives a vehicle is required to have auto insurance. The mandatory minimum insurance coverage that any driver must have is “liability insurance.” This is the type of coverage where an at-fault driver is covered to pay for the injuries and the damages to the other drivers or parties. If you don’t have collision insurance on your car insurance policy and are at fault in an accident in California, then your car repairs and any property damage will generally be your responsibility if you are found to be at fault for the accident.
Understanding Vicarious Liability
When you loan someone your car, and they are in an accident for which they are at fault, they are usually covered by vicarious liability. “Vicarious liability” essentially means that if you give someone permission to drive your car and they cause an accident, you are financially responsible. That might sound negative or harsh, but if you carry the mandatory minimum insurance, then the insurance company should typically cover the accident.
There are stipulations, however. If you take out an auto insurance coverage policy, then you are usually required to add all the people who might drive your car and live with you to that policy. If you reside in the same home, then anyone who drives must specifically be named on the policy. If they are at fault for an accident in one of your vehicles and they are not named on your policy, then the insurance company might have the right to deny them coverage. Therefore, you will still be responsible and liable due to vicarious liability, but it may fall on you personally to pay for the injuries and damages outside of your insurance coverage.
If Your Teen Is Involved in an Accident
So if your teen gets behind the wheel, regardless of whether they have their driver’s license or their permit – and even if you are riding with them – if they are liable in an accident and you have not specifically added them to your auto insurance policy, you might be in some serious financial trouble. Since they are a minor, the cost will automatically be your responsibility, vicarious liability or not.
Before you allow your child to get behind the wheel of your car, whether it is for practice with their permit or they just obtained their license, the first call that you should make is to your insurance company to ask them about their requirements regarding minor drivers with a learning permit. If you don’t, it could end up being a devastating blow to your finances.
If your teenage driver has been involved in an accident, contact the Law Offices of Zappettini and Bradley today!