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Car titled and registered in my name but driven by someone else who maintains their own insurance policy.

San Diego, CA |

I own a car that is titled and registered in my name, however driven by someone else who maintains their own insurance on the car. This person got in an accident that they are at fault for. Their insurance is requesting my insurance on the car - which I don't have since I don't drive the car and the person who does has their own insurance. They have requested me to sign an affidavit of no insurance. As the owner on the title and registration was I supposed to maintain insurance in addition to the driver maintaining insurance on the car? If so, what kind of penalties am I now facing? By signing this affidavit, what does it mean? Does it make me financially responsible for this accident? Can the driver of the other car come after me for more $?

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

As the registered owner of the vehicle, you have legal responsibility under California law to maintain liability coverage on your car, even if you do not personally drive it. Your insurance would be the primary carrier when you have a permissive user. However, if you did not have coverage, then I would expect your permissive driver's insurance carrier to cover for the cost... except that if he is a regular, or only, driver of the car and he did not notify his carrier that he was the exclusive driver of the car, his carrier may claim he was in violation of the terms of his policy and refuse to cover. If so, was this done to avoid paying a higher premium? If that happens, you may find yourself legally responsible and without any insurance to cover for the accident. How did you end up with this arrangement with you owning a car but someone else as the exclusive driver?

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Posted

As I am licensed in Florida and Vermont, I can only provide you with some general guidance. California may well be a compulsory insurance state. Depending upon how frequently or exclusively this person drove your vehicle, and what he told his insurance company about the arrangement, he may or may not have insurance coverage. If he misled his insurance carrier, they may well void his coverage.

I suggest that you may wish to consult with a civil defense attorney in your area who is familiar with California insurance law before you sign any affidavits or say anything further.

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