The ability to drive other cars on your car insurance policy isn't always automatically included.
In fact, not all providers even offer it as an option. But temporary car insurance or having driving other cars (DOC) on your policy could help you if you need to drive someone else’s car.
Here's what you need to know.
What's ‘driving other cars’ insurance?
'Driving other cars' (DOC) is a clause in your policy that allows you to drive someone else’s car without being a named driver on their policy.
Driving other cars cover is only intended for emergency situations. For example, if your friend or family member needs to go to hospital.
If DOC isn’t included, you aren’t covered to drive other cars – even if your insurance policy is fully comprehensive.
If you do drive another car without being insured, you’re breaking the law and you risk a hefty fine, penalty points and a possible disqualification.
This could impact how much you pay for car insurance in the future.
Does fully comprehensive car insurance cover driving any car?
No, it doesn't. There was a time when many fully comprehensive policies automatically gave you third-party insurance to drive any car, but those days are gone.
So even if you're fully covered for your own car, don't assume you're insured to drive other people's cars otherwise you risk breaking the law.
Before getting behind the wheel of someone else's car, speak to your insurer to find out what the situation is.
If necessary, ask them about adding DOC cover to your policy. Some may do at an extra cost.
Can I get insurance to drive any car?
No - in the UK car insurance is attached to the car itself, not the people driving it.
An alternative option is to insure the car so that anyone can drive it. This is known as any driver car insurance. This sort of policy might appeal to a business that has several people who need to drive the same car, for example.
But even with any driver car insurance, there are likely to be restrictions on who can get behind the wheel. For example, a minimum age requirement.
How is ‘driving other cars’ cover different from temporary car insurance?
DOC cover offers the lowest level of cover (third-party only). If you have an accident, the policy only covers damage to other cars, property and people. You might be liable for the damage caused to the car you’re driving.
Temporary car insurance is another option. With this type of cover you get a fully comprehensive policy for another car for a short time, from 1 hour to 28 days. And once you’ve bought the policy, you should be covered instantly.
You might want to consider temporary car insurance if:
You’re buying a new car and you need car insurance to get it home
You’re a young driver who doesn’t have a car but can use a friend or relative's car
You’re looking for a new car and you need temporary cover while you’re test driving new cars
You’re a car enthusiast who owns a convertible or sports car and lets other people use it for the weekend or special occasions
You’re moving house and need to borrow a larger car or van
You’re going on a road trip and borrowing a car or you want to share the driving
There's an emergency and you need immediate cover to drive a friend or family member's car
Your car is in the garage and you need to borrow a car until yours is back on the road
Compare temporary car insurance quotes
What do I need to do to get DOC on my policy?
To get DOC insurance on your policy and be able to drive someone else’s car, you need to meet some requirements set out by insurance providers, including:
You need to be 25 or over when the policy starts
Your car insurance policy needs to be a fully comprehensive
The other car must have insurance already
Your car must be in a driveable state, and not written off
Your occupation isn't in the motor trade, where you often drive other cars
It also needs to be stated on your certificate of motor insurance that you have the DOC extension.
What’s the penalty for driving uninsured?
If you're pulled over by the police while you’re driving another car and it turns out you don’t have DOC cover, you could face serious consequences:
You risk getting 6-8 points on your driving licence for being convicted of driving without insurance.
If you’re within your first 2 years of driving, that’s enough to lose your licence even if you have a clean licence otherwise.
You risk facing a fixed-penalty fine of £300, and if it goes to court you could be fined much more.
It's likely to increase the cost of your car insurance – if you can even find an insurance provider to give you a quote in the first place. Many insurers don’t cover drivers with this conviction as they’re considered to be too high risk.
What can I do if I don't have driving other cars insurance?
If you don’t have DOC on your policy – whether that's because you’re too young or because your provider doesn’t offer it – you still have options:
Ask the other policyholder to add you to their policy as a named driver. You should have the same level of cover as them.
Get a temporary car insurance policy on the car you want to drive – you can do this kind of cover within an hour.
The owner of the other car can apply for any driver car insurance – cover that allows anyone else to drive the named vehicle.
Louise Thomas, car insurance expert at Confused.com, says:
“It's vital to check if you can drive other cars on your insurance policy before you get behind the wheel and drive someone else's car. The consequences of driving without insurance could be severe and risk impacting your policy long-term.
“It's best to err on the side of caution and have the policyholder add you as a named driver, or you can get a temporary insurance policy. This ensures you're legally entitled to drive their car and have the right protections in place.”
Can I drive a van on my DOC insurance?
Technically this can be done, but DOC cover is rarely provided for driving a van.
This is partly because the definition of a van is broad - it can be nearer to being a lorry than being a car.
It also risks allowing the driver to stray from personal use to commercial use, which requires a different policy completely. DOC cover is not designed for commercial use.
Can I drive my partner’s car?
As with all other cars, you can do this if you have one of the following:
- Have DOC cover
- You’re a named driver
- You have a temporary car insurance policy
Check the wording of your insurance policy to make sure you know what you’re covered for.
Can I drive someone else’s car in an emergency?
These rules apply, even in an emergency. You can drive someone else’s car if you have DOC insurance, temporary car insurance or you’re a named driver. But otherwise you shouldn't do so.
Can someone else drive my car?
In the same way that you must have proper insurance cover if you want to drive another car, other drivers must:
- Have DOC cover
- Be added to your own insurance policy
- Get temporary insurance before they drive your vehicle