When it comes to driving other people’s cars, a lot of people believe that if you have a fully comprehensive policy on your own car then you’ll have third party cover from your insurer on someone else’s car. But is this the case?

According to Confused.com, this is no longer quite as simple as it used to be. “If you borrow a friend or family member’s car under the assumption your insurance allows you to drive any other motor with third-party cover, you could be breaking the law,” they say. This is why it’s important to not just assume that you’re covered, but to investigate further.

DOC cover

DOC cover is cover for driving other cars (DOC). Traditionally, this was a standard fixture on many fully comprehensive insurance policies, and gave drivers third party only cover for driving other vehicles – providing that you are fully comp on your own car and that you have the owner’s permission. Third party cover is the legal minimum when it comes to car insurance in the UK. According to Gov.uk, “this means you’re covered if you have an accident causing damage or injury to any other person, vehicle, animal or property. It doesn’t cover any other costs like repair to your own vehicle.”

However, it is becoming increasingly common for DOC to no longer be automatically included. And even when companies do offer DOC cover, Go Compare advise that there are often rules that come with it, such as: the customer doesn’t own the second car, hasn’t hired it, and they’re over the age of 25. This can be problematic for young drivers.

According to Go Compare, “DOC is intended for emergencies only and doesn’t cover you to drive another car regularly.” There may be instances when you may need to drive a car that isn’t yours, such as driving relatives to an airport or borrowing a family member’s car if yours is in the garage, but if you’re in this position then it’s recommended that you contact your insurance provider directly to check the terms of your policy before setting off. If you don’t check and are involved in an accident in a car that isn’t yours, your insurer may refuse your claim.

Car key exchange

Take precautions

If you’re planning on using a car that isn’t your own on a more regular basis, then it’s a good idea to take more permanent action.

Moneysupermarket recommend that one option is getting yourself listed as a named driver on the car owner’s insurance policy, which would mean that you are fully covered to drive their car.

Another option is temporary car insurance. Confused.com say that temporary car insurance is fully comprehensive car insurance that covers a person to use a vehicle for between 1 and 28 days. You could get one day insurance for emergencies, or if, for example, you need to use a larger car to move home. These types of short term car insurance can be useful in a variety of situations; classic car owners may only need weekend cover, while young drivers who don’t have their own car may want cover for specific occasions, such as coming home from University for a few weeks or to drive to a festival.

Driving without insurance

Gov.uk information states that “it’s illegal to drive a vehicle on a road or in a public place without at least third party insurance.” This applies even if the vehicle itself is insured; if you’re not correctly insured to be behind the wheel of the car, then you can be penalised.

If you’re caught driving a car that you are not insured to drive, you can be charged with a motoring offence. According to Gov.uk this is known as a Code IN10, which is classified as ‘using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks’. If you are charged with a Code IN10 then you can receive between six and eight penalty points on your licence. If the case goes to court, you could get an unlimited fine and even be disqualified from driving. You will also have to tell your future insurance companies of your conviction for five years after the date of the conviction. The police also have the power to seize and destroy any vehicle that is being driven uninsured.

Find out more about the consequences of driving without insurance here.

Driving an unfamiliar car

Once you are insured to drive other people’s cars then there are a few more things to think about before you get behind the wheel. If you’re a young driver or a new driver then you may have only driven one or two cars before. Driving someone else’s car could mean that it’s a model you’re unfamiliar with, and it’s worth spending a few minutes getting used to the layout and controls.

Check out this article from our sister brand drive like a girl for more information on how to familiarise yourself with a different car.

Car insurance from insurethebox

At insurethebox you are not covered to drive other people’s cars. This is because our policies are based on having a black box fitted to your car. This telematics box shows us how safely you drive and can help you earn Bonus Miles and get a cheaper renewal if you drive safely.

The only exception is if your car is damaged then you are covered to drive a courtesy car, provided by one of our approved UK repairers. To find out more, visit the help section of our website.