Q. Is my cousin/friend/son covered to drive my car?
A. Any licensed driver living in your household should be listed as a driver on your policy. If they’re not, there could be a problem if they drive your car and have an accident. Anyone not living in your household who has a valid drivers license and has your permission to drive your car is covered, assuming they are not otherwise excluded, and that their driving your car is an occasional thing. However, our advice is to limit, if not prohibit, other people driving your car. If they have an accident, the claim will be on your policy and you’re the one who will pay the extra premium for the next three years.
Q. Am I covered to drive my cousin’s/friend’s/son’s car?
A. The insurance on the car is primary. Your insurance would be secondary. So if you have an accident while driving someone else’s car, the claim would be filed on their policy. If for some reason their policy doesn’t cover you, the claim would fall back to your insurance. The potential problem there is that while your insurance goes with you to a "temporary substitute" vehicle, the coverage you have on your policy would be the coverage that you would have on that borrowed car. So if you only have liability on your vehicle, that’s all you’d have on a borrowed vehicle.
Q. I’m flying to (enter your destination here) and renting a car. Does my insurance cover me on the rental car, or do I need to buy the loss damage waiver through the rental car company?
A. We have a detailed discussion on rental car insurance on this website. If you’re planning on renting a car, click here.
Q. My bill says my policy will cancel at 12:01 AM on Jan. 15 if I don’t pay my premium before then. If I pay the premium on Jan 15th, will I be okay?
A. No. 12:01 AM on Jan 15th is 1 minute after midnight on Jan. 14th. So if you make the payment on Jan. 15th at 9:00, your coverage actually lapsed 9 hours earlier. To prevent a lapse, get it postmarked or take it to your agent no later than the day before the cancellation date.
Q. In addition to my residence, I own another home in which my son lives. Can I have two homeowners policies?
A No, this is called permissive occupancy, which is the same as a rental dwelling. A homeowners policy only covers a home that is occupied by the legal owner of the house. You should carry a dwelling fire policy on the 2nd house and your son should carry a renters policy to cover his possessions.
Q. I just traded in one of my old cars for a new one. Will the new car be covered until I can call my agent?
A The new car is automatically covered. However, the potential problem is that it has the same coverages as the car it is replacing. So if you have liability only on the car you traded in, that’s all you’d have on the new one until you notify your agent. If you are financing the new car, the lien holder will require full coverage. Now let’s say you bought a new car, but didn’t trade one in. In this case you would have the same coverage on the new car as you have on the existing car with the most coverage. So as long as you have full coverage on at least one car, you’re fine. However, if you only have liability on all your existing cars, that’s all you’ll have on the new one. Your best bet is to call your agent before you pick up a new car and let him know what you’re buying and what coverages you want. In most cases he can bind coverage until you can get him the VIN.
Q. I own a small business. Can I insure my personal vehicles on my business auto policy?
A. The vehicles should be insured the way they are titled. If they are titled in the company name, they should be insured on the company’s business auto policy. If they are titled to an individual, they should be insured on that individual’s personal auto policy and rated as business use if they are being used for business purposes.
Q. My 18 year old daughter drives one of my cars, but I don’t want to pay the high rate on a young driver. Can I insure it under my name?
A As far as the premium goes, it really doesn’t matter who is the named insured. The insurance company is going to rate the daughter on the car anyway, because she is the main driver. Technically the policy should be written under the titleholder’s name. If it’s titled to the parent, the daughter should be listed as a driver. Trying to get around this by insuring it in the parent’s name and only listing Mom and Dad as drivers could jeopardize coverage if the daughter has an accident. Also, most auto insurance applications ask if all drivers in the household have been listed. Answering that question "yes" and signing the application, but not listing all drivers could constitute insurance fraud. Not a good idea.
Q. I’m having a new roof put on my house. Are the roofers covered on my homeowners policy if they get hurt?
A First, another question needs to be answered. Is the work being done by a licensed contractor or by a friend who just happens to know how to nail down shingles? If it’s the former, it would be a good idea to request a certificate of insurance showing that he has General Liability insurance and Workers Compensation insurance. If he does, you shouldn’t have to worry about covering his workers. If it’s the latter, your homeowners policy should cover any medical expenses from injuries your buddy might sustain.
If you have an insurance question, please email it to us and we'll try to include it on this page.