Twelve times a year, or once a month?
September 16, 2008 5:27 AM   Subscribe

My (Geico) insurance allows another person to drive my car up to twelve times a year and still be covered. Can they use up all twelve times in a single week?

I'm driving to a nearby town to catch a plane, and leaving my car with a friend there. My Geico insurance covers other drivers, as long as they're not driving it more than twelve times a year. But it's clear from conversations with Geico phone representatives that they mean "approximately once a month" not "twelve times any time that suits you." I'd like to know how this policy would play out practically, if there were a claim while my friend was driving.
posted by Estragon to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total)
What does your policy document say? What their call-centre monkey might wish to be the case doesn't really matter, what the actual insurance contract says does.

Also: how on Earth would they know how many times other people have driven your car?
posted by atrazine at 5:38 AM on September 16, 2008

Seconding atrazine. There's no way Geico can know how often your friend is driving the car.
posted by lunasol at 5:41 AM on September 16, 2008

As far as they know, any accident occurred the exactly one time your friend used your car.

Alternately, the entire week your friend is using your car is "one time".
posted by notsnot at 5:43 AM on September 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

I assume Estragon knows that Geico has no way to know how often their friend is driving the car, but he/she probably also wants to know if they would have to commit insurance fraud in order to get Geico to pay for said friend's fender bender.
posted by meta_eli at 5:46 AM on September 16, 2008

Did you read the actual policy? It most likely says that anyone that you give permission to drive is covered. The 12 times is probably just their guideline for listing other drivers.
posted by lee at 5:58 AM on September 16, 2008

OK, good point, meta_eli. If you're determined to stay within the letter of the policy, it seems like it doesn't really matter if the person drives 12 times in one day or over the course of the year. If the policy says 12 times, they get to drive 12 times.
posted by lunasol at 6:02 AM on September 16, 2008

Post the contractual language, including any definitions. Linking a blank contract of the type you signed would be even more helpful. Nothing posted here should be taken as legal advice.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:06 AM on September 16, 2008

Insurance agent here. You didn't say what state you lived in, so I may not be licensed there, but I did work for GEICO some years ago. I'm thinking the person on the phone just picked an arbitrary number and blurted it out or maybe that's just a new guideline or something. There is no restriction on who can drive you car. However, if there is a claim, called a lending loss in this instance, it can impact your rates severely.

They won't know your friend is driving the car unless something happens in it. And if your friend is getting into 12 accidents a year, you may want to re-evaluate who you let drive your car.
posted by sephira at 6:25 AM on September 16, 2008

It's really strange that there's a number. 'Round these parts, so long as the car's insured and whomever is driving it is insured, it's an insured car. It's even like that with our business insurance---volunteers can drive so long as they're insured, but ideally if they drive more than a couple times we're ask to add them to our policy.

This is one of those things that gets written into policies or told to customers that may or may not actually be legal in the state you reside.
posted by TomMelee at 6:27 AM on September 16, 2008

My parents were recently told the same thing- The call center lady told them, "Not more than maybe once a month" or 12 times a year. My Dad is a stickler for the letter of the law and when my wife and I borrowed his car twice this month he just about died. Heh.
posted by GilloD at 7:31 AM on September 16, 2008

Thanks for the responses. The policy document is huge, I can't find it online, and it's not clear which portion pertains to this question. The phone reps mention the 12-times policy every time I talk to them, so I assumed it would be well known. I'll call them and ask them what the basis for it is.

Yes, I realize they can't know the number of times my friend has used the car, but if there was a significant accident while I was away for a week, and my lending the car for that period in some way voided the insurance, they would be likely to look into it and likely to figure it out, and then things would get sticky.
posted by Estragon at 7:33 AM on September 16, 2008

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