You're at the gas pump, maybe fiddling around on your phone and you hear the pump finish. You get back in your car and drive away, only to have someone stop you and inform you that you have an extra passenger: the gas pump you forgot to remove from your car.


First of all, you're not alone. A New York Times article claims someone drives off with the pump at least once a month. But, what do you do if you find yourself in this situation, and could you be on the receiving end of some legal issues?




Is It Illegal?

The short answer is no, you won't face any legal issues by accidentally driving away with the gas pump. You'll look pretty stupid and everyone will know what you did, but you won't get a ticket from the police. Most pumps are designed to break away to try to reduce the potential damage to the pump and to avoid a fire.


Photo by Hanindito Prabandaru on Unsplash
Photo by Hanindito Prabandaru on Unsplash


However, you might get in trouble with the gas station itself. If you cause damage to the pump or the station, you may be billed for any repair costs associated with fixing the pump. Gas stations tend to handle these situations differently depending on a case-by-case basis, but most will ask for the driver's contact and insurance information.

READ MORE: Is it the Law to Remain Outside of Your Vehicle While Pumping Gas


Why your insurance information? According to Kip Diggs, a spokesman for State Farm Insurance, since the driver is liable for the damages caused by their negligence,


The damage to the pump would be covered under the liability portion of the driver's auto policy. We would determine the damages through the normal claims process.


So while you might be on the hook for the damages, your auto insurance could minimize or cover the costs of fixing it. Overall, if you want to save yourself the hassle of potentially looking like a total fool, you may just want to double-check the pump before you drive away.



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