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Who's liable for a joyride -- especially one that ends in a crash, causing injury and damage?
It's a question that parents hope they never have to ask, but unfortunate situations do happen. In Phoenix, for example, a 6-year-old girl was killed when her 8-year-old brother took their parents' car for a joyride and crashed less than a block from their home, Reuters reports.
So what happens if your car is taken for a joyride without your consent? Are you still liable for what happens to it? Here are some factors to consider:
Check Your Insurance Policy
To determine liability for a joyride, take a look at your car insurance policy first. You should check to see if your child or whoever took your car is covered under your plan.
Some car insurance policies cover every household member, while others may only cover licensed members. If your child is not covered, chances are that you'll have to pay out of pocket.
Usually, when you are applying for coverage, your plan will request that you list all household members and their ages, regardless of whether or not they are licensed to drive. Remember, failing to list everyone requested (especially if someone takes your car on a joyride later) can potentially be considered insurance fraud and can lead to dire consequences.
Many Possible Outcomes
Even if your teen or the driver is covered by your car insurance policy, it's unlikely that your plan will actually cover the joyriding incident.
Instead, here are the more likely scenarios that you'll probably end up facing:
Remember that all car insurance policies are different and will vary depending on which one you opted for. If your car is taken for a joyride, consider calling an experienced car accident lawyer near you to figure out who's legally responsible.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.