Is driving your roommate's car a good idea?

Late August rolls around. You pack up for college (or pack up your kids) and head off to school for yet another exciting year on your own. When you get to school and finish unloading, your roommate pulls up in a new Chevy Camaro. He bought it as an early graduation present to himself. It has a beautiful black paint jobs, nice new rims and is very, very fast.

He offers to let you take it for a spin. Why not?! Fast car, college campus; that’s one way to look cool on front of your friends. Unfortunately, you crash into a telephone pole and a hit nearby pedestrian. You break her leg and total the car. Bad news… for your roommate and his auto policy. Since the insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver, this claim would fall under your roommate’s policy. His insurance company is not going to be very happy to write a check to him for $40,000 and especially not happy to write a check to the girl you hit for $500,000 (assuming he even has that much coverage).

At the end of the day, this is a very bad situation. For you and for your roommate. It is going to make the next 8 months together very uncomfortable.

Do us a favor. Don’t drive the car. Don’t lend your car, even if it is “just an old pickup truck.” Like William Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “Neither a borrower, nor a lend be; for Loan oft loses both itself and friend.”