Am I Covered To Drive Any Vehicle? Pros And Cons of Vehicle Insurance
Am I Insured To Drive Any Car or Vehicle?
Every now and again you’re likely to be in a situation where you need to drive someone else’s car, but are you insured? Even with ‘fully comprehensive’ vehicle insurance, you probably aren’t insured to drive any car.
Creating Confusion: ‘Fully Comp’, ‘Third Party’ and Driving Other Cars
One of the most common questions people ask about driving any vehicle is:
“If I am ‘Fully Comp’ can I drive any car?”
The answer is most likely no, but you can see why the names of these types of insurance cause confusion. Fully Comprehensive car insurance implies that it covers you for any driving activity, but this is not the case. Instead, a comprehensive car insurance policy provides a high level of protection for your car, specifically, including Third Party damage to other cars, fire damage or theft of your own car and accidental damage.
When you take out car insurance, you insure a particular car or group of cars, of which you are a named driver. If you need to drive someone else’s vehicle, you either need to become a named driver on their vehicle insurance or have a Driving Other Cars (DOC) clause included in your own car insurance.
“Am I insured 3rd Party on any car?”
If your insurance policy does include DOC cover, which will be stated in your certificate of insurance or policy schedule. If you’re unsure, contact your insurance provider to ask directly.
What level of cover is available with Driving Other Cars cover?
If your personal car insurance policy does offer cover for driving other cars, it’s important to know to what level you are insured. In most cases, it will only apply in emergencies, such as needing to drive someone to a hospital.
It’s also likely that the cover supplied will be Third-Party Only. This means if you’re involved in an accident and you’re at fault, the insurance will not cover the car you are driving. It also won’t cover theft or fire damage to that car.
If you have a higher level of DOC cover, this will be clearly stated in your policy documents. You are unlikely to be offered DOC cover if you are under 25, have criminal convictions or prior claims on your car insurance policy.
Can I get Cover for Driving Other Cars?
There are two ways to get cover for driving another person’s car:
Become a Named Driver on their policy
If you are sharing a car with a family member, or need to drive someone else’s car occasionally, you could add your name to their policy. This gives you the same level of cover as the main driver, as long as you are not driving it most of the time.
If you are learning to drive in someone else’s car, such as a family member, this is the most appropriate way to get cover.
Get Short-Term Vehicle Insurance
A short-term or temporary car insurance policy can cover you for as little as 1 hour and as much as 28 days. This is a good solution if you are borrowing a car as a one-off, but requires some planning ahead and can have more conditions than a standard insurance policy.
Short-term insurance is usually available to drivers over 25, as younger drivers are considered high-risk by most insurers. If you have penalty points on your license however it may be difficult to get short-term insurance.
Driving Other Cars Professionally
If you are employed in the motor trade, for example as a mechanic, you will need to drive your customers’ cars from time to time to move them around your premises. This type of driving is covered by Motor Trade Insurance, which will be held by the company.
This can be third party only, third party, fire and theft, or comprehensive, just like a private car insurance policy, but specifies only the drivers, not the vehicle.
Motor Trade Insurance is predicated on you driving only cars that you have permission to drive in connection with your business. You will need to prove to your insurer that this is the case should you need to make a claim on Motor Trade Insurance.
Motor Trade Insurance also provides coverage for car dealerships to allow customers to take vehicles for a test drive. Customers buying a car from a private seller will need their own DOC for test drives on their policy or a temporary policy for the day of the test drive. Alternatively, the seller can have their policy extended to allow test drives by potential buyers.
Driving Other Cars Uninsured – Consequences
In the UK, a driver who is in an accident or caught without DOC insurance faces heavy fines and up to 8 licence penalty points. You could face a driving ban if you drive other cars without insurance.
The car’s owner could also face prosecution for allowing an uninsured driver to use the car. The owner’s insurer will need to meet any third-party damages, so would likely cancel the policy and may even take legal action to recover costs from the car’s owner. Both the owner and the driver would find getting car insurance in future very difficult, as insurers take convictions for driving without insurance very seriously.
How can I drive someone else’s car legally?
To sum up, you can legally drive another person’s car if:
- You are added as a named driver on their policy and you are only driving it occasionally
- You have taken out temporary or short-term car insurance for the vehicle in question
- You are driving their car in an emergency, with their permission, and have your own DOC insurance as part of your regular car insurance policy.
If you are unsure, check your insurance documents or speak to your provider before driving. Never assume you can drive another person’s car legally.
If you are looking for comprehensive car insurance that will allow you to drive other cars, we can help. Talk to our advisors about Driving Other Cars.