There are implications if you decide to lend your car to a friend or a family member. Know what to expect before you hand over your car keys.
It always seems harder to say “no” to a friend or close relative, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to borrowing your car. Most of us would trust someone we’ve known for years, but lending your car is beyond just trust — it’s about relying on the person’s ability to handle your car safely and ensure the car’s upkeep while it is in their care. Avoid any souring of future relations or misunderstanding by making clear the following pointers with the borrower.
GOOD DRIVING BEHAVIOUR
This is perhaps the most fundamental issue when you are about to entrust your car keys to someone else. It would be ideal to have first-hand knowledge whether they are drivers you have confidence in. If you’ve experienced their driving as a passenger, you’d know what kind of a driver they are. If they’ve been in car accidents before or have had difficulty finding their way around, it may be a good idea for you to politely but firmly decline their request.
VALID DRIVING LICENCE
Make sure the borrower has a valid driving licence. You don’t want someone getting caught driving without a licence — that would certainly spell trouble for the both of you. Even if the borrower has one, make sure he or she has at least two years or more of driving experience, and is mature enough to earn your confidence. Some new drivers are looking to hone their driving skills, and may be using your car for practice.
CAR INSURANCE CLAIMS
Your car insurance covers you and your named drivers. So if your relative happens to be a named driver in your policy, then he or she is covered by your insurance policy. But if an unnamed driver gets into an accident, any damage will result in your insurance company imposing hefty excess charges to your claim. And that excess could be compounded further if the unnamed driver is below 25 years old and has held a valid driving licence for less than two years, so be warned.
PAYING FOR DAMAGES
This is a tricky question to handle, but it is absolutely necessary. Make clear to the borrower beforehand that you intend to keep your No Claims Discount (NCD) benefits. If they get into an accident and the damages are minor enough to not warrant an insurance claim, they have to take ownership of their actions and be responsible for the charges out of their own pocket.
REASON FOR BORROWING
Know why they need to use your car. If their request sounds frivolous, think twice before letting them touch your car. However, if they need it for an emergency — such as needing to run important errands or other legitimately sounding scenario — then be a good Samaritan and lend your car to them.
COVID-19 AND SAFETY
Check whether your borrower is fully vaccinated and practises safe personal hygiene. Sharing a car cabin — which is a closed environment — with someone else is certainly not ideal these days, so make sure they are responsible enough to clean and sanitise your car’s cabin after using it. And make sure they are not using your vehicle to ferry unknown persons around.
If someone asks to borrow your car, keep these pointers in mind and share them with your borrower. It’s important that the two parties are on the same page before you let another person drive your car. If you feel uneasy at any point, learn to say “no” nicely.