Am I Legally Covered with Car Insurance When Carpooling?

Car Rental Tips

The roads are dangerous, and they are getting more dangerous every year. With over 6 million passenger car accidents every year in the US rising, you need to be very careful when driving your car. Having a proper auto insurance policy that covers not just the other person, but your car and your injuries as well are important. But what happens when you are carpooling? Does your personal auto insurance suffice in this case? 

Are you legally covered with car insurance when carpooling? When it comes to carpooling, things can get a little tricky. There are two cases when you might have to look into your auto insurance policy when carpooling; one is when you are driving the car along with other passengers and the other is when you are traveling in the carpool. 

So what are the auto insurance policies you need to look into and the changes you need to make to your auto insurance policy to ensure that you stay covered for any damage in a carpool accident? This article will describe all about that in detail. Let’s get started. 

Liability Coverage

Almost every state in the US (except Virginia and New Hampshire) requires you to buy liability coverage to legally drive a car. This auto insurance policy is what pays for the cost of medical treatments and repairs of the other driver in an accident that’s your fault.

Since you are the reason for the accident, you are liable to pay. The other driver can sue you if you do not have a liability insurance policy. This could not only make you pay hundreds of thousands of dollars but also could land you in jail. So there’s no question about getting a liability policy or not. 

But if you do not own a car and occasionally rent cars, then getting a non-owners car insurance policy would be the best option. It covers the liability part and makes you legally fit to drive a car. Now let’s see how liability insurance is needed when it comes to carpooling. 

When You Are Driving 

When you are driving the car along with other people, you are liable for any accidents and damages. It must be noted that when driving a personal car if you get in a car accident, your liability insurance would pay for the medical treatments and repairs of the other driver. The maximum amount that your insurance company would pay is predetermined. 

If the cost of medical treatments and repairs is higher than the coverage limit of your policy, you’ll have to pay the remaining amount. This is why it is recommended to have liability coverage with a decent coverage limit. It might increase the cost by a bit, but if you look for affordable car insurance, you can find low-cost auto insurance policies with great coverage limits. 

When it comes to carpooling, not only the other car will claim your liability coverage, but the passengers of your car will do the same. This is why you need to talk to your auto insurance company and let them know about carpooling. They might suggest making some changes to your policy, most likely increasing the coverage limit and some other tweaks. 

So it is very important that you let your auto insurance company know about carpooling before you start it and make the necessary changes to your liability coverage. Increasing the coverage limit will cost you a bit of money, but it is much better than getting sued by multiple people and paying even a million dollars in damages. 

When You are in a Carpool 

When you are riding in a carpool, it is absolutely necessary to have a personal injury protection plan and underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. Let’s say that you get in a car accident while carpooling. The only thing you can do is claim the liability coverage of the driver at fault. But since there are other people who’ll be claiming, there’s a good chance that the driver’s liability coverage would be lacking. 

You can sue the driver, but you still have to pay for the expensive medical bills and other costs (lost wages, etc). This is why it is necessary to have a personal injury protection plan before you get into carpooling. There are 12 states in the US that are called “no-fault” states where you need to have a personal injury protection plan. 

But even if you don’t live in these “no-fault” states, it is very important that you get a personal injury protection plan. If your health insurance covers road accidents and injuries, then you can skip the PIP plan. The great thing about having a personal injury protection plan is that it also covers lost wages for the days you cannot work and earn due to the accident. 

Coming to uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, this policy can be claimed when the driver at fault either does not have a liability insurance policy or has one but the coverage limit is not adequate to pay for the costs of medical treatments, etc. Since you will be carpooling and other people will be involved in the accident, it is very likely that the driver’s liability coverage would be inadequate. 

So having uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage would be very important for carpooling. Just have the right auto insurance policy that covers medical injuries and you’d be good for carpooling.

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