Getting into an automobile accident any time is not a good thing – but, getting into an accident on a car lot could be your worst nightmare. Just imagine – you’ve decided to go car or truck shopping. You look around and spot the car of your dreams. Your credit is good and your auto insurance is up to date, so the salesman asks you if you’d like to take it for a test drive. You take the wheel, pull out into traffic and – crash! You’re in an accident.
Are you responsible for the damage? The car dealership has its own insurance, right? If they do, will you get stuck with the deductible? What’s this going to do to your auto insurance premiums? If you know the correct answers, you might save yourself additional stress and money. After all, the last thing you want happening is being held accountable for accident-related expenses that aren’t rightfully yours to pay – or wrongly believing you’re off the hook for damages you actually owe.
First, car dealerships do carry auto insurance on their vehicles. In most cases, their insurance covers anyone who drives the car off the lot, so a “test driver” would automatically be covered. However, if the test driver is at-fault in the accident, the assigned liability may change. Conversely, if the other guy caused the accident, their insurance may very well be responsible for paying the damages to the test vehicle, in addition to covering medical expenses should there be any.
Because Texas is not a “no-fault” auto insurance state, the second scenario would apply, in the event you were involved in collision that you weren’t responsible for. Again, the responsible party would have to pay for all damages to the vehicle you were test driving as well as your injuries.
Unfortunately, things can get worse. What if you were totally at-fault? Now, your auto insurance policy or the dealer’s would most likely have to pay for the damage to both the test-vehicle you were driving and the victim’s as well, including their injuries if they sustained any in the wreck.
Furthermore, if the dealership’s insurance wound up paying, it could make attempts to collect reimbursement from you or your insurance company for the sum of the damages. Generally, drivers insured by a liability policy are covered no matter what car they’re driving. Therefore, your insurance company would in all likelihood pick up the tab for the claim.
Larger dealerships normally carry more than enough insurance to permit them to make a quick claim for damages using their own policy, and usually won’t pursue attempts to collect from the test driver – even more so, if you’re not at-fault.
But, should you be liable for the crash, the dealership is well within its rights to go after you or your insurance company for the deductible they may have to pay, as well as the damages you caused because of your carelessness. In case of a serious accident, with severe injuries or a loss of life, the insurance companies and individuals involved would be expected to possibly file lawsuits against the driver responsible for the damages and injuries, which could exceed policy limits.
Should that driver be you – be prepared for an expensive change to your auto insurance premiums. That’s why it’s always a good idea to carry more liability insurance coverage than the minimum state requirements.
It’s also a good idea to check that you’re getting the best rate on your auto insurance. Why not get a free auto insurance quote today?
Have you ever taken a car out for a test drive and gotten in an accident. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.