A friend asks to borrow your car keys. What kind of friend would you be to refuse? Well, possibly a smart one. If your friend crashes your car, the situation can get messy fast, and you might end up being on the hook for the costs – and in the worst-case scenarios, money might be the least of your worries.

Here are three risks that you take on when you hand over your keys.

Risk One: Your Car Could Be Wrecked

You probably depend on your car to get to work, to pick up groceries, to go the doctor – just about everything. But if your friend wrecks your car, you might be without wheels for a while. If you have collision insurance, the damage may be covered, but you might have to pay a deductible, and that can get expensive.

Risk Two: You Could Be Held Liable

In a previous blog post, we addressed the issue of whether insurance follows the car or the driver. The short answer is that it usually follows the car, although actual claims can get more complicated. You can read the full article here.

Essentially, though, this means that if you give someone permission to drive your car, you can be on the hook for any resulting claims. So if your friend puts someone in the hospital or destroys someone’s car, your insurance could take the hit.

Risk Three: You Could Go to Jail

What happens if you hand the keys over to a friend who’s drunk, high or otherwise unable to drive safely? You could be held liable for that, too.

According to HG.org, in some states, people who hand over their car keys to intoxicated friends could face criminal charges of gross negligence and reckless endangerment, and that’s on top of civil liability. In some cases, jail time is possible.

Don’t take that risk.

There might be a little tension between you and your friend if you refuse to hand over your keys – but there might be a lot more tension if you agree and then your friend gets into a crash.

Before Your Let Your Friend Drive Your Car …

Handing over your keys might seem like no big deal, but it’s actually a pretty serious decision. Your car is probably one of the most expensive items – maybe the most expensive item – you own. On top of that, crashes can result in life-changing injuries and even death. You don’t want that on your hands.

Before you hand over your keys, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can your friend drive safely? Don’t let a drunk or high friend borrow your car, even if they try to argue that they’re fine to drive. And not all drivers are safe even when they’re sober. Make sure you trust your friend to obey the rules of the road and to avoid dangerous habits like aggressive or distracted driving.
  • Is your friend legal to drive? It’s illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but you also need to consider licensing issues. If your friend’s license has been suspended or revoked, don’t hand over your keys.
  • Do you have enough insurance? Keep in mind that your insurance may be hit with a claim if anything happens. Make sure your limits are high enough. Also, many states only require liability coverage, but you may want collision and comprehensive coverage to protect your own car as well.

Need an auto insurance quote? Get a quote from Jupiter Auto today.