A client of mine “Dave” borrowed a pickup truck from his friend “Joe” to bring a load of mulch to Dave’s house, figuring this was less expensive than renting one or having the mulch delivered. While the truck was at the top of Dave’s driveway (house is on a hill), it rolled down the driveway and hit a tree in Dave’s front yard, causing ~$3,000 in damage to the truck.
Generally speaking, auto insurance follows a vehicle, and not a person. Since Joe gave Dave permission to drive the pickup truck, Dave would be covered under Joe’s auto insurance while Dave was driving Joe’s truck, and we would first look to Joe’s auto insurance in this scenario. The truck is older, so Joe only carries liability coverage, and does not have Collision coverage. Unfortunately, Joe’s insurance would NOT cover the damage to his own truck in this scenario (Liability only covers other vehicles, not Joe’s vehicle).
Dave contacted his own insurance to see if the damage would be covered under his own Collision coverage as a “temporary substitute vehicle.” Thankfully, the insurer covered the damage above his $500 deductible.
I reviewed a few other insurers’ auto policy forms to see if they would cover this. Some will, some won’t.
While this is somewhat of a “freak accident,” many accidents are out of the ordinary.
I like sharing real-life stories with people because it can make concepts easier to understand. If you have an interesting insurance story that you would like to share, I would like to hear it. Email me at email@example.com.