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Does my car insurance let me drive other vehicles?

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Last updated: 04/08/2021 | Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Comprehensive car insurance used to cover driving other cars (DOC) as standard, but that is no longer the case. 

If you want to be able to drive another car, you'll likely need to take out a temporary policy, or become a named driver. We'll go over your options in this guide.

In This Guide:

Can I drive another car with comprehensive insurance?

Driving other cars (DOC) cover used to be a standard part of most comprehensive car insurance policies but this is rarely the case any more. 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 or else you'll be driving illegally. 

If I do have DOC cover, can I drive another car any time?

The level of cover you have to drive other cars will depend on your policy, so you should check the wording very carefully. If DOC is offered, it will generally only be on a third party-only 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 typically only be valid 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 car insurance policy document.

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 policy do I need to drive another car?

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 cover

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.

Named or additional driver cover

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 motorist 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 motor 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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 insurance provider 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 auto 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.

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