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Auto Insurance: Who Is Covered?

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Auto Insurance: Who Is Covered?

You’ve got a car, a license and a destination in mind. But what about auto insurance? Who’s covered under your policy? And what do you need to know about the relationship between your vehicle’s coverage and commercial activity you may engage in while driving?

man showing teen how to check mirrors while driving

Let’s take a quick look at common auto insurance coverage questions and who’s covered as well as when and why it might be worthwhile to talk with an agent about your policy.

Is auto insurance mandatory?

As noted by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI),1 state law “requires drivers to show proof they can pay for the accidents they cause. Most drivers do this by buying auto liability insurance. Liability insurance pays to repair or replace the other driver’s car, or other damaged property, and pays other people’s medical expenses when you’re at fault in an accident.”

Car vs. driver: Which one does the auto insurance cover?

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you’ve needed to borrow someone’s car or let them borrow yours? It’s common, and it may present some potential challenges for your auto policy coverage. In fact, the “right” answer to this question can vary a good deal by the insurance company with whom you have a relationship — and the policy itself. In most instances, auto coverage will be extended to drivers listed on your policy such as:

  • Spouse or partner
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Teen and adult children

Other members of your household (e.g., grandparents, in-laws, grandchildren) may be named as well.

Beyond that circle of drivers mentioned on your policy, the issue often becomes one of permission. For example, if you’re very ill and ask someone to drive you home, then you likely will be fine.

If you’re on a long road trip, however, and you’re planning to alternate driving your vehicle for long periods, consider talking with your insurance agent to determine whether it makes sense to just add the person to your policy.

Another common scenario worth consideration? Extended family members visiting your home or friends who need a car in a pinch. Again, talking with your agent before making that decision might save you trouble later if an accident were to occur. Your annual policy review can be a good time to have a chat about this topic, too.

» Tip: Even if your auto coverage will extend briefly to another driver outside of your home, contemplate the safety of doing so. If the driver were to behave in a negligent or criminal manner (including DUI), then it’s possible your auto policy wouldn’t cover their time in the vehicle. And if you’re planning to let someone drive your car (or boat, RV or motorcycle), you might want to mull over their driving habits, temperament and emotional regulation skills. Are they prone to road rage? Do they know how to navigate the driving? Are they likely to drive in a way that makes you feel safe for yourself and others on the road? Common sense may prove useful in sidestepping significant physical, emotional and/or financial trouble.

What happens to my auto insurance if I’m driving someone else’s vehicle?

Broadly speaking, for individuals, the coverage tends to follow the vehicle not the driver in Texas. If, however, you have permission to drive the vehicle, then the car should be covered. Borrowing a car from a repair shop? Your liability coverage likely will take care of it, although you might want to check your liability limits to ensure sufficient coverage — especially if the borrowed car is worth significantly more than your own.

Again, the policy, insurer and state laws are factors to consider.

With rental cars, your own auto policy will likely cover you sufficiently. However, as TDI notes,2 you may wish to talk with your agent about whether it makes sense under your policy to sign the rental agency’s liability policy and damage waiver.

Will my car insurance cover my ride-share gig?

As a means of earning or supplementing income, ridesharing (also known as ride-hailing or ride-booking) jobs have increased in popularity in recent years. The convenience of going on the clock to knock out a few runs is understandable.

When it comes to ensuring coverage for your vehicle, discuss your work with your agent. Some insurers offer ride-share insurance as an add-on to existing auto policies. Before talking with your agent, you’ll also want to research what insurance the company for which you work provides drivers.

What about other commercial activities? Do I need special auto coverage?

Generally speaking, if you use your car to deliver pizzas or provide another service, you’ll need a separate insurance policy or supplementary coverage to ensure adequacy. Delivery driver car insurance rates can vary widely and depend upon multiple factors.

With regard to business vehicles that you may own or plan to purchase, there are a number of details to consider — from your industry to the type of vehicle(s) you’ll maintain in your business fleet. The best bet? Reach out to your insurance agent to look at all the issues as well as how much coverage you need to carry beyond state minimum liability laws.

The takeaway

Making the decision to loan or borrow someone else’s car is one best made in light of whether the driver and vehicle have the necessary insurance coverage. Your policy and insurance agent are great resources to help you better understand the particulars of your situation; reach out to an RBFCU Insurance Agency professional for guidance and support. You can also request an online quote* any time of year.

Last updated April 2024.

Information in this article is general in nature and for your consideration, not as financial advice. Please contact your own financial professionals regarding your specific needs before taking any action based upon this information.

RBFCU Insurance Agency LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of RBFCU Services LLC. RBFCU Services LLC is affiliated with Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union (RBFCU). Insurance products are not deposits; are not obligations of the credit union; not NCUA insured; and not guaranteed by RBFCU Insurance Agency LLC, RBFCU Services LLC or RBFCU.

RBFCU Insurance Agency is an independent insurance agency. It is the role of the RBFCU Insurance Agent to obtain quotes from multiple carriers and offer comparisons to determine adequate insurance coverage.

Insurance coverage, discounts and other features are subject to individual eligibility and availability.

*RBFCU Insurance Agency LLC contracted with Vertafore, Inc. to access a Vertafore product called Consumer Rate Quotes. (“CRQ”). By using CRQ, you agree to these Terms of Use (“Terms”). Please read these Terms carefully as they contain legal terms that govern your use of this product.

By selecting the online insurance quote option, customers/members are exclusively utilizing Vertafore, Inc.


The following sources were last accessed in April 2024.

1“Auto Insurance Guide.” Texas Department of Insurance,

2“Do I need to buy insurance when I rent a car?” Texas Department of Insurance,