The risks when you loan out or borrow a vehicle…

Brought to you by our Director of Training, Scott Marshall and The Safe Driver.

We all do it from time to time; we borrow things from family or friends. Whether it’s tools, clothes, a helping hand – even vehicles – we will often take advantage of someone’s kindness. If you’re the person lending something out, it’s important to keep tabs on your items. You could lose out if the borrower is not careful.

So let’s say you’re feeling generous. You loan your friend or family member your vehicle. Their vehicle is in the shop getting repaired and they have to run a few errands. The problems with this “loan” can be insurmountable. It’s not just “What if they get a ticket while driving my vehicle?” There are also tickets and fines that go to the vehicle owner instead of the driver.

If they get a parking ticket, that ticket and fine goes to you, which may stop you from renewing your vehicle licence if you’re not aware of it. If they run through a red light at a red light camera (it doesn’t matter if they didn’t mean it), that ticket goes to you in the mail. Going past a school bus with the lights flashing and stop arm out – in some cases the ticket goes to the vehicle owner, not always the driver. So let me ask you, do you want to lend out your vehicle to just anyone? How far does trust go?

If they get into a collision, not only could your vehicle not be drivable, but it could cost you more with your insurance. Insurance follows the vehicle you have insured, not the driver. Decide carefully if you loan your vehicle to someone.

Now let’s reverse things. What if you become the borrower and need to borrow a friend or family member’s vehicle? Here are a few things you need to consider.

Before taking over your friend’s vehicle to help you move furniture, take a weekend getaway, etc. ensure their licence plate sticker is current. Getting pulled over by the police for an expired tag means you’ll get the ticket, not them. Trying to get the money from them afterwards may affect your relationship.

Do they currently have insurance? Is it up to date? If they don’t, you may be held responsible financially in the result of any damage due to a collision. And that amount could go into the hundreds of thousands of dollars if there’s a lawsuit against you since you didn’t have insurance coverage for the vehicle you were driving. Also, the damage to the vehicle would not be covered so you would have to pay for the repairs.

Operating an uninsured vehicle is also against the law. It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure the vehicle they are operating has valid insurance. Both the owner of the vehicle and the driver would be held personally liable if there were injuries. The driver of the vehicle would be charged with “Drive No Insurance” which has the potential of a $5,000 fine.

It’s also a good idea to walk around the vehicle prior to borrowing it to determine if there is any damage. If there is damage that your friend or family isn’t aware of, they may hold you responsible for it once you return the vehicle. The same should be done once you return the vehicle to them. If any damage happened days after they’ve received the vehicle back but never noticed it, they may still hold you responsible for it.

There’s always a risk when you borrow or loan out a vehicle. Be careful and be smart. It’s not just friendship that’s at stake.