Can I drive another car on my insurance?

If you have a fully comprehensive car insurance policy, you might be under the impression that this enables you to drive any other car - but this isn’t necessarily the case. You shouldn’t automatically assume that you are insured to drive someone else’s car, and you should always check the terms of your car insurance before doing so.

The consequences of driving another car when you’re not insured to do so can be severe. Technically, you’re breaking the law, and this carries a range of punishments. As a minimum, police can hand you a fine of £300, and add six penalty points to your licence. 

However, in more serious cases the fine may be an unlimited amount, and the offending driver may be banned or disqualified from driving altogether. Ultimately, police also have the power to seize, and even destroy, the vehicle driven by an uninsured driver.

Given all of that, is it worth driving another car without a second thought? Absolutely not. But, if you need to drive someone else’s car, and ensure you’re covered, here are some tips to follow.

Check your car insurance

This is the obvious starting point. Check the details of your car insurance policy first, to see if you are covered to drive someone’s else’s vehicle. If it’s not clear in the terms and conditions of your policy, contact your insurer to ask. If in doubt, it’s safe to assume you’re not, and you should make other arrangements.

Generally, driving other vehicles doesn’t come as standard, and while some fully comprehensive car insurance policies may include something called Driving Other Cars (DOC) cover, it seems to be becoming less common.

In some cases, if a car insurance policy does have DOC, the level of cover might reduce. You might be covered on a fully comprehensive basis when driving the car named in your policy - your own vehicle - but if you’re driving someone else’s this could reduce to third party cover. This, of course, means that if you’re involved in a collision when driving someone else’s car, you’ll be covered for the damages sustained to the other driver’s vehicle. You’d be liable for any costs arising from the damage to the car you were driving.

If you’re not covered to drive someone else’s car under the terms of your own car insurance policy, there are options you can take.

Arranging temporary car insurance

Temporary car insurance can be a great way of making sure you’re insured to drive another vehicle - it’s flexible and cost effective, too. This is a useful option if you know you will be driving someone else’s car at some point in the near future. Perhaps you’re travelling to another part of the UK on holiday with friends or family, and want to share the driving, or need to drive your parents’ car for a period of time if your own is unavailable.

You don’t necessarily need to arrange this way in advance of a trip. With the RAC, temporary car insurance - or short term cover, as it’s also known - can be instant, so you can contact us on the day you’re driving that car and arrange insurance cover. In fact, not only is daily insurance available, short term cover can start from just one hour. 

Adding a named driver

If you need to drive someone else’s car on a more regular basis, rather than just on ad hoc occasions, then being added as a named driver to someone else’s car insurance policy is a good option. 

In theory, anyone can be added as a named driver, but the main insurer needs to action this. More commonly, a named driver is a spouse, parent or son and daughter. So, if you need to regularly drive your father’s car, for example, he would need to contact his insurance provider to add you on to his policy. You would then have the same level of cover as him, and be entitled to drive his vehicle. 

However, be aware that the named driver should never be the main driver of the vehicle. Adding someone else, or being added, as a named driver to someone else’s car insurance policy, but actually being the main driver, might be considered as ‘fronting’, which is illegal and viewed as a form of fraud.

In conclusion, it’s your responsibility to make sure you’re insured to drive any vehicle before getting behind the wheel. If you’re not sure, don’t assume you are safe to do so, and speak to your car insurance provider.

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