Could you possibly advise us on how best to handle international visitors using our vehicle? We are traveling to Europe this summer and friends from there will be using our car (two different families at two different times). I would like to ensure that we are adequately covered in the event that they should be involved in any kind of motor vehicle accident in our car. I also wonder if they can take our vehicle into the US?
Never Loan Your Vehicle
I didn't have the necessary knowledge in this area of the law, so I spoke to a very knowledgeable acquaintance about this question. He summed it up succinctly by saying "Never loan your vehicle to anyone!" If they are involved in a collision with your vehicle, you are the first person in line to pay the resulting legal bills because you are the registered owner and you have the ultimate responsibility even if you are not driving or even in the vehicle at the time.
A Worst Case Scenario
The picture he painted was a multiple vehicle collision involving injury or death. You have the usual two million dollar liability coverage that most of us buy. Damages of five million dollars are awarded. Where are you going to come up with the additional three million that your insurance will not provide? You may be looking at the driver or their estate to pay the bill, but the courts will be looking at you. It's a very scary picture.
Intersection Safety Camera Tickets
In addition, you are responsible for tickets issued by Intersection Safety Cameras and can no longer nominate the driver to remove that onus.
Who Can Drive Your Vehicle?
Anyone with a valid driver's licence from another country appropriate for your vehicle may drive your vehicle with your permission, and this includes using it to travel into the United States as long as their customs requirements are met. A letter of authority may help ease the way if anyone becomes curious.
Check Your Insurance Coverage Carefully
If you can't say no and do loan your vehicle to someone else, I would suggest that you consult an Autoplan Agent and your private insurer if you have one. Tell them all about the circumstances of the loan and ask what they recommend you do to protect yourself. It may mean increasing your coverage significantly, but the expense of doing this may be a huge bargain if the unthinkable were to happen.
Liability for Employees
I quit carrying two million coverage before the turn of the century. Absolute minimum should be five. For the difference in cost it is just not worth taking the chance.
I have loaned my car to visiting relatives and never had a problem. For one set I reminded them that we drive on the wrong side of the road. Apparently they took one look at Vancouver traffic and drivers and thought New Delhi was a piece of cake. They used the car for touring the Province and Alberta. In cities taxis worked fine.