Does your child have the consent to drive your car?

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The child steals his parents’ car. Kid breaks down car. A parent is sued?

Like many relationships, it’s complicated. A recent court case was resolved in Ontario that clearly outlined something that eats away at the peace of mind of many parents when there are cars in the driveway and keys close at hand. What if my wonderful offspring steals my car without my permission – and crashes, causing damage and injury or worse?

The Ontario decision exonerated Mom from damages. On the night in question in 2017, her son – who lived with her – was at home with a friend. “Tthe companions smoked “ a lot of weed ” and the complainant [the friend] also consumed a large amount of Crown Royal whiskey, wrote Ontario Superior Court Judge Edward Belobaba, “according to Canadian insurer.

When the son asked his mother for permission to drive his friend home in his car, she said no. After going to bed, her son began to search for his car keys, before finally finding them in his room, after searching there for 5-10 minutes. He took his car, ran over it and injured his friend. The friend sued both the son and the mother, claiming the driver had implied consent. The mother’s insurance company said no. The driver only had his G1 and had previously only driven with his mother in the car with him.

Although the onus is on the owner to prove that he has not given consent, the law takes into consideration the components of a household. In the above case, “the son had never before attempted to take the car without his mother’s consent. The mother regularly hid her keys in her room because she did not trust her teenage children. The mother had explicitly refused her son’s consent to take the car on the evening in question.

“This is not a case where the vehicle owner did not take reasonable care with his car keys. Nor is this a case where the owner has demonstrated ineffective control over an irresponsible family member, ”Judge Belobaba wrote.

According to Sound Insurance broker Debbie Arnold, you need to notify your insurance company of any qualifying drivers who live at your address – this is a significant change. If they have their own vehicle and insurance, the business may check them out. If they have what Arnold politely calls a “disputed” record, your company may tell you that it wants the driver to be banned from using your vehicle (s) – whatever. he is coming. The excluded pilot form – OPCF 28A – leaves no room for maneuver. In all caps, it says:

  • THIS POLICY DOES NOT PROVIDE THE INSURANCE REQUIRED BY LAW;
  • THIS POLICY DOES NOT PROVIDE ANY COVER FOR DAMAGE OR INJURY CAUSED BY THE EXCLUDED PILOT; AND
  • THE OWNER OF THE AUTOMOTIVE AND THE EXCLUDED DRIVER MAY BE PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMAGE OR INJURY CAUSED BY THE EXCLUDED DRIVER.

If you have a vintage Mustang or a high-powered German sports car in the garage and have told your licensed child living at home that he cannot drive it under any circumstances, you have to make a choice: either have them (and their driving record) on your policy or sign an opt-out form. But you cannot “once” or “only in an emergency” clause this clause. If you allow that excluded person to drive that car and something happens, your insurance company will sue you.

For most of us, the list of eligible drivers isn’t a problem. You take your premiums on higher premiums based on the records of your younger drivers, until they leave your policy and get theirs. But if you have a change in your household situation – maybe an adult child has returned home – they should be added as an eligible driver if they don’t have their own policy and will be driving your vehicle. . I once had four children living with me and listed on my auto insurance policy, although the premium premium was only for the most recent driver. The Canadian Underwriter article discusses a common problem that arises in Ontario: implied consent.

Does your child have to ask you explicitly every time he wants to use the car? Or is it implied that there is a general understanding? Authorization isn’t required every time, but similarly, if you’ve made it clear that someone can’t use your car, that doesn’t mean you need to hide your keys every time they’re not. in your hands. A judge will examine the reasonable application of the law: “Section 192 (2) of the Traffic Laws provides that the owner of a motor vehicle is not liable if the motor vehicle was in the possession of another person without the owner’s consent. “

In another case from 2012 a young man was living at home with his parents. His license was suspended in 2005 and his truck remained inactive until his mother transferred ownership to his name in 2009. Fast forward to 2012: the parents were away and the son – the license still in suspension – was driving the vehicle while impaired, was in an accident and injured someone. The son admitted to the police that he was not allowed to drive the truck. His mother refused to press charges for theft, and he went to court, with the mother also named in the lawsuit. The complainant’s insurance company said mom gave her implied consent because the keys were hanging on the door. She said he had never taken the vehicle before, never asked to take it, that his license had been suspended and that she had no reason to believe it would start now. The judge agreed, stating that you shouldn’t have to hide your keys to prove that you didn’t give your consent.

Drunk driver crashes dramatically, landing on parked cars

If you don’t want to go the route of exclusion, make sure you have “All Risks” coverage. “This coverage includes loss or damage caused if a person who lives in your household steals an automobile described.”

Anyone who is licensed and qualified can drive your car – with your permission. An exemption would be if they (or you) were convicted of being impaired, which would result in coverage restrictions.

Whenever someone else drives your vehicle with your consent, they take control of your driving record. Be careful who you are giving the privilege to and be clear in your consent. It’s a conversation worth having without the cops at your doorstep.



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