Your car insurance covers you to drive your own car. But from time to time, you might want to drive someone else’s car, whether you’re borrowing your partner’s wheels, a van for a house move, or taking a friend’s car to get its MOT done.
Do you know whether you’re covered by your car insurance? And what can you do if you’re not?
The answers aren’t simple. Luckily for you, we’ve done some digging to find out the rules and regulations, and this article has all the answers. Let’s dive right in.
Table of Contents
Can I drive someone else’s car on my insurance?
It’s an urban myth that your car insurance will cover you to drive any car. Only a minority of policies now offer ‘DOC’ (Drive Other Cars) coverage:
- If you have third party or third party fire & theft insurance, the answer is that you’re definitely not insured for driving other cars.
- If you have fully comprehensive car insurance, driving other cars might be covered.
Only about one in ten policies now features insurance to drive any car as standard. With some fully comp insurance, drive any car can be added as an extra feature, but it could also cost you money.
So how to answer the question: can I drive another car with comprehensive insurance?
First of all, you’ll need to look at your policy document or insurance certificate carefully. Your document will mention whether you have DOC cover or not. You could also phone your insurer. But let’s find out the answers to most of your questions in the below article.
What is Drive Other Cars cover exactly?
DOC cover was intended for emergencies. For instance, if someone has an accident and can’t drive, they can ask a friend or family member to drive them to Accident & Emergency in their car.
You must also know that fully comprehensive Driving Other Cars cover:
- Only offers the basic legal minimum – third party insurance – when you’re driving someone else’s car. It means that even though you have a fully comprehensive car insurance policy (including drive any car insurance) for your own vehicle, when you drive other cars it isn’t. So if you do have an accident that is your fault, you’ll have to fund repairs out of your own pocket for you and your vehicle.
- Is not intended to let you drive someone else’s car on a regular basis, or just take it for a spin – you might consider alternatives policies.
- Usually won’t cover another car owned by your partner living at the same address for example.
If you have DOC cover, you should also check every time you renew your policy. Sometimes insurers change the details of policies on renewal, and that cover might have been removed.
What are the alternatives to Driving Other Cars cover?
The most common alternatives to Driving Other Cars insurance are:
- Named driver: you could get added as a named driver on someone else’s car insurance policy. If you want to drive a partner’s, family member’s or friend’s car on a regular basis, you should not depend on DOC insurance. In fact some DOC policies won’t cover you for driving a car that’s owned by your partner for example if you are not a named driver on the car policy.
- Temporary car insurance: if you don’t have DOC cover and you’re not a named driver, you could also consider temporary car insurance for the limited duration you need the car.
- Any driver insurance can sometimes be helpful if a car is being shared between different people, for instance a disabled person whose car might be driven by carers or friends. It’s the other way around from ‘Driving other cars’ and it’s still a bit of a specialist product.
Do I need my own insurance if the car is insured?
Even if a car is fully insured, you’ll need your own insurance to drive it unless you’re a named driver.
Insurance companies see car insurance as a two-part risk that includes both the car and the driver. So even though a car is insured, it’s insured with a particular driver (plus any named drivers). That means any other driver needs to have their own insurance, whether that’s a temporary insurance or DOC cover.
So you’ll need to ask yourself if you are insured to drive another car on your insurance before you get behind the wheel even if the car is fully insured.
There are a few exceptions to this rule. In some special situations you are covered by the car owner’s professional insurance:
- Driving lessons – your instructor’s licence will cover you while you’re having the lesson.
- Hire cars – the hire company has ‘any driver’ insurance (you might want to check!)
- Test drives with a dealership – the dealership should have insurance in place to cover you (this isn’t the case with private sellers.)
Remember that driving without insurance is a serious offence. It’s your job to check that you are covered to drive.
Let us summarize quickly:
|Can I drive someone else’s car?||Level of cover provided on other cars|
|I have DOC insurance||yes|
But, subject to exclusions
But, subject to exclusions
|I am named driver on this car||yes||Same as for main driver|
|Car is insured for ‘any driver’||yes||Usually fully comp|
|I am on driving lesson||yes||Fully comp|
|I am on test drive (dealer)||yes||Fully comp|
|I am hiring this vehicle||yes||Fully comp (may have exclusions)|
Compare Drive other Cars Best Insurances
Let’s have a look at some of the insurance providers offering this kind of DOC cover:
|Provider||Type of insurance||Comment|
Can I drive an uninsured car with my DOC insurance?
The safest course of action is to assume that you are not insured to drive an uninsured car unless it is clearly stated in the policy that you’re covered.
The best advice we could give you is to ring your insurer and ask clearly if you can drive another car on your insurance if it’s not insured.
Some DOC insurance policies are written so that you’re insured to drive any car whether it is insured or not, as long as it has a valid MOT certificate. But other policies stipulate you can only drive other cars if they are validly insured. You need to check your policy.
Can everyone get to drive other cars?
If you specifically want a car insurance to drive any car you may be able to find a policy that offers it. However, some people will have problems arranging DOC insurance:
- Drivers under 25 won’t normally be given DOC insurance even if it’s normally standard with a particular insurer.
- If you have what’s deemed a high risk job, or if you work in the motor trade, you may not be able to get insurance to drive any car other than your own.
- If you have points on your licence, insurers might also not want to offer you cover.
Can anyone drive my car?
- Anyone who has fully comp insurance which includes DOC cover can drive your car if necessary. However, you should check the policy for exclusions.
A frequent exclusion from DOC cover is partners or family members living at the same address. If this is the case, then, as mentioned earlier, you’d need to be added as a named driver to drive your partner’s car.
- Anyone, if you purchased an ‘any driver cover’. In that case, anyone driving your car would be insured. For instance, driving instructors or businesses that run a van or car pool get it. But it can be expensive, so it’s only worth considering in special circumstances.
The table below shows roughly what it will cost you to insure an older Group 1 car in different circumstances – we assumed a driver over 40 with a clean licence and five years No Claims Bonus as the single driver, but of course the mix of named drivers could change the second total.
|Type of policy||Cost per year (outside Greater London)|
|Fully comp, single driver||£200|
|Three named drivers fully comp||£400|
|Any driver, fully comp||£800|
So let’s just summarise the answer to “Can someone drive my car?” in a table – a quick and clear way for you to find exactly the information you need.
|Situations||Can someone drive my car?||Level of cover|
|They have DOC insurance||If they have DOC cover on their fully comp insurance, yes, but it is subject to exclusions||Third party only, ’emergency’ use|
|They are a named driver for the car||Yes||Same as for main driver|
|They have ‘any car’ insurance||Yes||As per policy|
|‘Car jockeys’, mechanics, breakdown assistance||Yes||Check their policy|
|Family members living with you but not named drivers||No|
Does adding a second driver increase insurance premiums?
A ‘named driver’ is someone who is not the main driver of a car but who is insured to use it on a regular basis.
For instance, many couples are named drivers on each other’s cars. That gives them flexibility if one car’s out of action, for instance. Named drivers don’t have to live at the same address, so children who have moved away can still drive Mum’s car – or Dad can drive theirs.
Adding an extra driver insurance (named driver) will have an effect on the premium that you’ll pay. That effect (up or down) will depend on whether the insurance company thinks the second driver is a better or worse risk than you are. Insurers consider the total risk presented by the car and all the named drivers when they’re deciding the right price to charge.
If you are a young driver and you add a second driver who is experienced, over 30, and has a 5 year no claims bonus, you might see your premiums reduced.
On the other hand, if you’re a 50 year old with a clean licence and 10 years’ No Claims Discount, and you add your 21 year old daughter who has only just passed her test, your insurer will probably hike your premiums a good bit!
However, make sure you tell the truth about who is the main driver. Trying to manipulate the premium downwards by saying ‘Mr Safe’ is the main driver when it’s actually ‘Boy Racer’ who uses the car ninety percent of the time is called ‘fronting’. It could invalidate your insurance. It’s also a form of insurance fraud, which is a criminal offence. If you’re trying to reduce your insurance premiums, the last thing you want is a criminal record!
Is a named driver on my policy insured to drive another car?
If you are the named driver on a car insurance policy, you’ll generally have the same cover as the main driver. But this might not apply to DOC cover.
If the policy document says that the policyholder is entitled to drive any other car, that’s exactly what it means – only the main driver, and not any named drivers. A few companies used to cover named drivers too, but that has become very rare. You definitely need to check.
Can I get temporary insurance to drive another car?
If you want to drive another car on a temporary basis, then temporary insurance might be the best option.
This can cover you from one day to nearly three months. However, it may have strict conditions attached and like DOC cover, it may not be available to all drivers. But it will give you peace of mind since instead of having to ask yourself “am I insured to drive other cars?” you will know for certain that you’re insured to drive this particular car.
Temporary insurance could cover you if:
- You want to share the driving on holiday with a friend.
- You want to borrow your parents’ or partner’s car while yours is in for repair.
- Your grandma is ill and wants you to do the driving for her.
- You’re car sharing with a colleague.
To get to know more on Temporary Car Insurance, check out our article.
So if you want to be insured for driving someone else’s car, insurers have a range of policies that can cover you – and offer better cover than a DOC clause in your own policy.
A couple of insurers have also trialled ‘drive any car’ insurance policy, but it’s not commonly available and remains rather an expensive and specialist product.
Am I insured to take a car for a test drive?
Motor traders have an insurance policy that covers customer test drives.
So if you’re buying from a dealership, whether you’re buying new or second hand, you’ll be covered (nonetheless, it’s worth asking just to make sure.)
However, if you’re buying from a private seller, you normally won’t be covered by their insurance. So unless you have full DOC cover on your own policy, you should take out a temporary insurance for the day you’re taking the car through its paces. Even if you have full DOC cover, check your policy for any exclusions before you get behind the wheel.
What happens if you drive without the right insurance?
Driving without insurance is a serious offence and at the very least will put points on your licence.
It’s treated as a strict liability offence – that means there is no defence. It’s up to you to make sure you’re insured.
Offence IN10 – driving without insurance – carries a fixed penalty of £300 and 6 penalty points. That means you’re half way to losing your licence. If the case is considered more serious, and you’re taken to court, you could be fined up to £5,000 and get 8 points on your licence, or even be disqualified. Disqualification is most often applied to recurrent offenders.
It’s worth pointing out that if you’re a new driver (passed your test within the last two years) 6 points will result in your losing your licence.
|Driving without insurance||Points on the licence||Fine|
|Fined by police||6||£300|
|Taken to court||6-8||£5,000|
This endorsement stays on your licence for 4 years. It will definitely make your car insurance more expensive. In fact, you might even find it’s difficult to get any car insurance at all for your own motor – let alone comprehensive insurance driving other cars!
The owner of the car is also liable. They have allowed their car to be driven without valid insurance (or by an uninsured person), and that’s an offence, too. The car could be seized: that happens to 1,500 cars every year. It could even be destroyed.