"It's a gray area," she says.Say, for instance, your brother-in-law, who has a criminal record, gets drunk, takes the keys off the counter and crashes the car, injuring others. Generally, your car insurance would not provide coverage if you say you didn't give him permission to drive the car. Saying the car was stolen doesn't get you completely off the hook, either, even if you go so far as to press charges against him. "Potentially someone could sue you for negligence for leaving the keys out," says Benny Agosto Jr., a partner at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend, a personal injury law firm in Houston. In cases like these involving family members, car owners typically say the borrowers had their permission to drive, Agosto says. Your insurance company then has a duty to defend you in a lawsuit, but it reserves the right not to pay the damages if it finds you were negligent. However, Agosto says, insurance companies often agree to pay a claims settlement in order to avoid getting sued by policyholders for bad faith.