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Driving other cars on your insurance

Are you insured if you borrow someone else's car?

A woman about to get into a car full of people

So your car is in the garage for an annual service and you need to get to work. That's fine; you can just hop in your partner's car instead can't you? Not necessarily.

Don't assume you're insured

It's an easy assumption to make. If you have comprehensive car insurance on your own car, you might just assume you'll have the same level of insurance for driving other cars. Or at the very least, third party cover.

Unfortunately, it's not that straightforward. Many comprehensive car insurance policies don't automatically allow you to drive other cars at all. And those that do will often offer just third party cover.

This means that at best you'll only be covered for any damage you do to other people and vehicles (not your own) and at worst, you won't be insured at all.

Driving without insurance

There are severe penalties for driving without insurance, so it's best to check you're insured for driving other cars before you set off.

It's illegal to drive without at least third party insurance. Even if the car you plan to drive is insured, you also need to be insured to drive it. So your partner may have comprehensive insurance on their car, and you may have comprehensive insurance on your car, but unless you're a named driver on your partner's car, you may not be insured.

If you're caught driving a vehicle that's not insured, the police can issue you with a £300 fine and six points on your licence. If the case goes to court, you could also be disqualified from driving.

Insurers are understandably wary of drivers who have been caught without insurance, so you may struggle to get your vehicle insured in the future as well.

What are your options if you want to drive other cars?

There are several ways to make sure you have the right level of insurance when driving someone else's car.

Become a named driver

If you plan to drive the same car several times throughout the year, consider adding yourself to the insurance policy as a named driver.

The policyholder can ask their insurance company to add you to the insurance policy, so you'll know you're insured every time you use the car.

This can be particularly useful for couples who have two cars and want the use of both of them.

However, you must be careful to only add yourself as a named driver if you are not the main driver. If someone else pretends to be the main driver, but you drive the car most often, this is called fronting and is not allowed.

It's easy to get caught out if you're a parent insuring a car for a child. If you claim the parent and more experienced driver is the main driver, but the less experienced and younger driver actually uses the car most often, this is considered fraud. If an insurer suspects fronting has taken place, they can refuse to cover costs for damage and withdraw the insurance.

Temporary or short-term insurance

As the name suggests, this type of insurance allows you to take out comprehensive car insurance on another car for a few days at a time, usually between 1 and 28 days.

There are two ways to do this. You can become a named driver on someone else's insurance for a while, or you can take out a separate policy temporarily for the car you want to drive.

This type of cover is useful if you know you'll only need to drive the other car for a few days, rather than need access to it throughout the year.

Find out more in our guide to temporary insurance.

This type of cover is useful if you know you'll only need to drive the other car for a few days

Driving other cars cover

Driving other cars (DOC) cover allows you to drive other cars without being a named driver or taking out temporary insurance. But you will need permission to drive from the owner of the other car.

DOC cover was originally offered as an option for use in emergencies and wasn't intended to be used as a way to drive other cars on a regular basis.

That's why some insurers no longer offer this cover. And those that do often provide only third party cover.

This means that if you're involved in an accident, the car you're driving won't be insured if it gets damaged. The insurance will only cover any damage to other cars in the accident.

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