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Ask the Car Insurance Expert

I allowed my daughter to drive my car to the store. She caused an accident while parking on a sheet of ice and my car was damaged. Will my insurance cover the damages?

Yes, your insurance provides coverage as defined by the policy when you give others permission to drive it, whether the borrower is a friend or relative.

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The situation is different if your daughter lives with you. In that case she should be listed on your car insurance policy to get coverage. If she lives with you and you specifically excluded her from the policy, then you would not have coverage in this event.

In any case, the amount and type of damage covered depends on the policy. All states, except New Hampshire, require drivers to carry minimum amounts of liability auto insurance, which pays for damage to other property caused by you or whoever borrows your car. Assuming your daughter doesn't live with you, or she lives with you and is listed on your policy, your liability coverage will pay for repairs of any vehicles she damaged up to the limits of the policy.

But to get coverage for damage the accident caused to your vehicle, you must have collision coverage as part of your car insurance policy. Collision coverage pays for damage your car suffers in a traffic accident. Like comprehensive coverage, collision coverage is optional. Comprehensive pays for damage caused by factors other than traffic accidents, such as natural disasters, theft, vandalism and collision with an animal.

Some drivers forego collision and comprehensive coverage to get lower car insurance rates, particularly if their car is older and has a relatively low value.

For more, see when your friend crashes your car: the rules of auto liability.

Last updated: Feb. 24, 2011 Redesign Survey