If you have comprehensive car insurance, you might naturally assume that you’ll have cover even if you drive another person’s car. But hold up. It’s quite likely that your comprehensive car insurance won’t cover you. In fact, if you get behind the wheel of someone else’s vehicle, you could be breaking the law.
Let’s explore how you can ensure that you’re fully covered should you need to drive another person’s car.
Does my car insurance cover me to drive another car?
Back in the day, it was typical for comprehensive car insurance policies to include ‘driving other cars’ (DOC) cover. But that’s no longer the case. Most insurers have removed this clause from comprehensive policies.
To be sure, check the terms and conditions of your car insurance carefully to see if you have DOC cover and what it specifically includes. You can also talk with your insurer to find out more.
Typically, where DOC cover is available, it’s only for drivers who are 25 or older. Insurers see younger drivers as high risk and therefore tend not to make this type of cover available to them. It might also not be available to people whose jobs insurers consider as ‘high risk’.
DOC cover was originally intended to be used in emergency situations. Its goal was not to provide a way of driving other people’s cars regularly. That’s why even when it’s available, it only provides third-party cover.
If you get into an accident driving another person’s car, DOC insurance will only cover the others cars involved in the accident. You’ll personally have to foot the bill for repairing the car you were driving.
Therefore, if you will be driving other people’s cars regularly, it might be wise to explore other policies (see below) that can fully cover you in case of an accident.
How else can I get cover for driving another car?
1. Be added as a named driver
If you have a family member or friend whose car you are probably going to drive occasionally (e.g. to run errands), it might be a good idea to ask them to add you as a named driver on their policy.
This way, you can drive the car knowing that you have the same level of cover as the owner.
2. Take out a short-term insurance policy
If you only need to drive another car for a brief period, applying for a temporary or short term-insurance policy could be an affordable and convenient option.
This type of insurance lets you take out comprehensive car insurance on another car for a few days at a time. Short-term policies are usually taken out for between one and 28 days. Note, however, that short-term insurance might be hard to get if you have penalty points on your licence.
3. Get your own insurance policy for the car
You can actually insure a car you don’t own. However, you have to inform the insurer that you are not the owner or the registered keeper when applying.
The rules here vary from one insurer to another. For example, some will only give you cover as the main driver if you are also the car’s registered keeper. Others might only cover you to drive a car you don’t own if it belongs to a spouse or civil partner, a parent, an employer or a lease company.
It’s always good to read the wording on the policy documents carefully before you apply.
One thing to keep in mind is that getting insurance for a car you do not own can be expensive. That’s because insurers see you as a higher risk. Without any vested financial interest in the car, the company might assume that you’ll not be as careful when driving it.
What are the consequences for driving another car without insurance?
If you drive another car without insurance and you’re caught, you’ll be charged with an IN10 motoring offence. You’ll get six to eight penalty points on your licence and a fixed penalty of £300.
If your case goes to court and they find you guilty, you could get an unlimited fine and a possible driving ban.
So, before you get behind the wheel of someone else’s car, check that you have sufficient cover to avoid financial liabilities as well as legal difficulties.
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