If you were in an auto accident in Austin while driving a vehicle you did not own, you may be personally responsible for any bodily injuries and property damage. It is important to understand the Texas laws that apply to these situations so you can make an informed decision.
When you rent a motor vehicle, the rental agency offers damage waivers and liability policies.
A damage waiver is an agreement by the rental agency that you won’t be charged for damage to the rental car.
A damage waiver is not insurance. It does not cover any responsibility you might have to other drivers, passengers or pedestrians in the event of an auto accident.
In many cases, if you have auto insurance on your car, the policy may cover you for accidents you cause while driving a rental car. If you rent a motor vehicle, speak to your insurance agent or check your policy before deciding whether to purchase rental insurance.
In addition, your personal auto insurance policy may not cover you if you are driving a vehicle for work. Again, check with your insurance agent or policy. Do not assume you will be covered.
If you cause an accident while driving a borrowed car, the car owner’s insurance generally pays claims. However, if the insurance policy is not enough to cover the damage or injuries, you may be liable. If you have auto insurance on your car, your insurance company may make up the difference.
Under Texas law, if you borrow a car from a repair shop, your auto liability insurance will usually pay for damages to the car.
If you cause an accident with the borrowed vehicle, your policy will usually pay for the injuries and damages to other drivers, pedestrians and bystanders harmed by the accident.
However, if you cause more damage than the insurance policy covers, you may be personally responsible. Check your liability limits to make sure they’re enough to pay for the damages.
If you don’t own a car, but borrow a car often, you can buy a non-owner auto insurance liability policy. A non-owner policy pays for the damages and injuries you cause to other people while driving a borrowed car.
A non-owner policy does not pay for your injuries or damage to the car you’re driving. If you damage the vehicle you borrowed, the owner may be able to hold you legally responsible for the damage.
You should always drive safely, but be extremely cautious when borrowing someone else’s vehicle. Do not assume they have insurance – ask to see proof they have a current and valid policy. Make sure your own auto insurance is current, and large enough to cover any accidents.
If you have questions about an auto accident in Austin, contact Justinian & Associates. We offer a free consultation with a seasoned Austin personal injury attorney who will listen to your story and explain your options under Texas law. There is no obligation.