I got into an accident after my friend asked me to drive her car. She insists I pay her full deductible. Is that fair?

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Dear Quentin,

I have a moral question that you maybe could give me some advice with. My friend asked me to drive her car with her in the front passenger seat. A truck was speeding down a two-way road, and we were hit in the very back left side of her car when he veered into my lane.

We were upset about what happened, and I called the police to take a report. While waiting for the police to come, my friend told me that she had an extremely high deductible. I then told her that I would try to help her with part of it. And I did — in cash.

A month and a half went by, and I received two very rude text messages stating that I owe her more money for the rest of the deductible, travel time and rental-car costs she incurred. Should I pay?

Substitute Driver

Dear Driver,

No. 

It was generous of you to help out, but you have paid enough already. Your friend made a decision to buy a car, get insurance, and ask her friend to drive it. She literally put you in the driver’s seat. It was her car, her insurance, her decision, her problem.

Your friend appears to misunderstand how car ownership and auto insurance work. Even if she paid her deductible in the first instance, her auto-insurance company can claim that deductible from the wrongful party’s insurance — in which case your friend should reimburse you. 

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If this was a hit-and-run, your friend should check her policy. For instance, if your friend or former friend makes a claim in her collision coverage as the result of a hit-and-run, she would pay out of pocket for her collision-coverage deductible, according to AllState.

However, “if you make a claim that involves multiple coverages (for example, against your personal injury protection coverage for injuries and against your collision coverage for car repairs) you may have to pay multiple deductibles,” the company adds.

Obviously, she can’t claim on a driver’s insurance if he has fled the scene. Auto liability insurance helps pay another person’s medical expenses if you cause them harm — but it does not cover medical expenses or car repairs after a hit-and-run, AllState says. 

Your friend cannot find anyone to blame for this unfortunate series of events — the other driver aside — so you’re it. She needs to grow up, read her insurance policy and do her own paperwork. You have already gone above and beyond reasonable expectations. 

Furthermore, a “thank you” from your friend would have been nice.

You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus at qfottrell@marketwatch.com, and follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.

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