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Does my car insurance let me drive other vehicles?

Comprehensive car insurance used to cover driving other cars (DOC) but that is no longer the case. Just because you have comprehensive insurance, does not mean you are covered to drive someone else’s car. It’s important to check you’re insured before driving another car, or you could be driving illegally.

In this guide:

Can I drive another car on my insurance?

Driving other cars (DOC) used to be a standard part of most comprehensive car insurance policies but it’s now quite likely your comprehensive policy doesn’t offer any cover if you are driving someone else’s car. It’s essential that you check your certificate of insurance or contact your provider directly before getting behind the wheel of someone else’s vehicle. You’ll have to request DOC cover and pay for it as an extra.

The level of cover you have to drive other cars will depend on your policy, so you should check the wording very carefully. If it is offered, it will generally only be on a third-party basis. This means if you are involved in an accident with another car and you’re at fault, your insurance will only cover the other car. You will have to fork out for the one you were driving yourself. You also won’t be covered if the car is stolen or damaged by fire.

If you do have DOC cover it will be under specific conditions. Most DOC is for emergencies only so make sure you check the wording carefully before driving someone else’s car. A higher level of DOC cover will be clearly stated in your policy documents.

DOC is typically only available to drivers aged 25 and over. If you are under 25 you are generally considered as too high risk by insurers.

What types of cover can I get?

If you need to drive another person’s car there are ways you can make sure you’re covered. You can apply for short term insurance or even add your name to the car owner’s policy.

Short term or temporary car insurance provides cover from one day up to 28 days. It is a good solution if you need to borrow someone’s car for a few days, or if your child is back for their university holidays and will be using your family car.

If you want to drive the car over a longer-term, for example if you drive a family member’s car every now and then, it may be worth adding your name to their policy. As a named driver you will have the same level of cover as the main driver.

Make sure the main driver drives the car most of the time and you only use it occasionally, otherwise you could fall foul of fronting. This is where a more experienced driver insures a car in their name, but the younger driver actually uses the car most often. Usually this is to reduce the young driver’s premium, but it is illegal and could invalidate your insurance policy if caught.

Why can’t I get DOC cover?

Now that DOC cover isn’t offered as standard, there are three main reasons you might be unable to get it:

  1. You’re under 25. Most insurers exclude anyone who falls under the bracket of “young driver” because they are considered a high-risk group. If you are under 25 and want to drive someone else’s car you will need to be added as a named driver on their policy or take out temporary cover.
  2. Your job is considered high-risk. Some professions are also considered high-risk by insurers. Don’t assume you are covered just because you are a professional driver! In fact, jobs where the policyholder is more likely to be driving other cars are usually excluded from DOC cover.
  3. You want to drive a powerful car. If you normally drive a small car with a small engine but want to borrow your friend’s sports car your insurer will be unlikely to cover this.

The best way to find out whether you have cover to drive other cars is to check your policy documents. If you are buying insurance knowing you will need to drive someone else’s car make sure DOC is included. You can compare car insurance to find the best deal and cover using our free comparison tool.

What should I watch out for?

Your car insurance will either be tied to you or linked to your car. Make sure you know what kind of policy you have, but don’t assume that just because it’s tied to you, you can automatically drive another car!

If the car belongs to your partner, you may not be covered to drive it even if you’re listed as a named driver on their policy. Make sure to check the documents carefully or contact your insurer.

If your car is scrapped, even if you have a DOC inclusive policy you cannot drive another car automatically. You will need to get cover for this other, new car.

It’s also essential to check your policy details when your insurance renews as DOC cover can be removed.

Make sure you check the conditions for DOC with your insurer. Driving someone else’s car without insurance could lead to fines as well as an IN10 (meaning six to eight points on your licence). An IN10 can dramatically increase your premium and could mean insurers will simply refuse to insure you at all.

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