Lending your car to a relative can be costly
LARGE numbers of people who lend their car to a family member end up getting it back damaged, new research shows.
And many of those accidents are not covered by insurance.
According to an AA survey, seen by the Irish Independent, more than one in five people admit that a friend or relative crashed their car after it was borrowed.
The AA surveyed 15,500 motorists and found that a high proportion of claims that relate to uninsured drivers each year involve a friend or relation of the vehicle's owner.
People who suffer losses due to an accident involving an uninsured driver have to apply to the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland, which was established to compensate road users injured by uninsured or unidentified drivers.
The AA advises car owners not to loan out a car to an uninsured friend or relative.
AA director of consumer affairs Conor Faughnan warned that it was a criminal offence to let someone drive a car if they were not insured.
"Not only is the practice illegal, you are also, of course, leaving yourself exposed financially if they crash your car. Collisions happen every day on our roads and are all the more likely when someone is driving a car that they are not used to."
He said 22pc of those polled admitted their car was damaged after it was loaned out to a relative or friend.
And 320 of the 15,500 people surveyed revealed that their car was completely written off.
A further 160 people said the damage amounted to more than €3,000.
Mr Faughnan said the same number admitted that the person who did the damage was not insured at the time, adding: "Many of these respondents shared that they didn't report the incident to their insurance provider, leaving them or the person who borrowed the car to bear the full financial burden."
The AA warned that lying to gardai and your insurer about who was driving when a collision occured was insurance fraud and a serious criminal offence. "If you are caught lying about the circumstances of a collision your insurer has the right to refuse it," Mr Faughnan said. "They are obliged to pay any third-party damages but reserve the right to recover them from you the policyholder. As you are committing a crime, gardai may become involved as well."
Mr Faughnan said it would be wise not to assume someone who has "driving of other cars" on their own insurance policy had fully comprehensive cover. Most policies will only provide third-party cover for driving other cars.