Five things to keep in mind
There are a number of reasons why you might need to drive a friend's, partner's or family member's car. If this is something you're going to do, it's a good idea to try to gather as much information as you can about car insurance cover to drive someone else's car.
So, to help you out before you get behind the wheel, here are five things you need to bear in mind:
1. Driving on someone else’s policy? Become a named driver
If you're driving on someone else's car insurance policy, the holder must contact their insurer and ask to add you to their policy as a named driver. This can also be done on a temporary basis. If you were driving and had an accident, you would claim on their policy and would get the same level of cover as the car's main driver.
Remember, you should only become a named driver on someone else's policy if you are not the main driver of the car. If you are the main driver but get someone else to claim that they are, this is called fronting and it is not allowed. For example, if a young person were to put their parent down as the main driver in order to get a cheaper premium, then their policy could be cancelled and they could be prosecuted for fraud.
The UK formally left the European Union on 31 January 2020.
The UK is now in a transitional period until the end of 2020 whilst the UK and the European Union negotiate.
There are no changes to the current rules during this transitional period.
We will update this page when details are known once the UK moves beyond the transitional period.
2. You must be insured on your/the owner’s policy
It's illegal to drive any car without insurance. If you're caught driving a car that you're not insured to drive, the police can give you a fixed penalty of up to £300 and six penalty points on your licence.
They can even seize the car you're driving, impound it, then charge you for the cost of moving and storing it. If you don't reclaim the car within 14 days, it could be destroyed. You could even be summoned to court, in which case you could get an unlimited fine, and be banned from driving.
3. Short-term insurance might be your best option
A short-term car insurance policy can be taken out for as little as one day, and up to 28 days. It can also be used in addition to your usual policy. This has the added benefit that, if you were to have an accident, it won’t affect the no claims bonus on your main policy. However, be aware that short term policies often come with restrictions such as having to have held a driving licence for at least one year. It also has to be taken out on a different car.
4. Driving Other Cars (DOC) cover
DOC (Driving Other Cars) cover is included in many comprehensive policies, so first of all check the small print of your insurance policy to see if it includes DOC cover. Speak to your insurer if you’re unclear. Be aware that some policies will include restrictions on DOC cover, such as only covering drivers aged 25 and over. You must also have permission to drive the car from the owner.
DOC cover is also usually limited to third party only, so if you were in an accident while driving someone else’s car, you would still have to pay for any damage to the car you were driving. Your insurer would only pay for damage caused to the other car involved in the accident.
In every case it’s always best to check with your provider if you’ll be covered. Most importantly, it’s worth noting that this kind of cover is designed for emergencies, and generally only gives third party coverage.
5. Learning to drive in someone else’s car?
If you’re practising in someone else’s car, you need to make sure their insurance policy covers you as a named learner driver. If you had an accident while learning, you would claim on their policy and would get the same level of cover as the car's main driver. It’s a good idea to always check with your insurer first if you’re not sure what your policy covers.
Published: 11th April 2016
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