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Can I drive someone else’s car on my car insurance policy?

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Not all insurers let you drive other cars (DOC), even if you have a comprehensive car insurance policy. And even if you can drive someone else's car, it's usually with third-party only cover.

But if you need to drive a friend or relative's car in an emergency, there are other options available to you.

Here's what you need to know.

A driver behind the wheel of someone else's car

No, you're not automatically insured to drive any car - car insurance policies apply to the car itself. It's the policyholder that decides who's covered to drive the car.

Every car needs its own insurance policy, so you can't insure yourself to drive any car.

If you have DOC on your policy, you might be able to drive someone else's car in an emergency. But this doesn't entitle you to drive any car.

Comprehensive insurance is the highest level of cover you can get. So some drivers might think they can drive other cars on a comprehensive policy, but this isn’t the case.

Does comprehensive car insurance cover driving any car?

No, having comprehensive cover doesn’t automatically mean you can drive other cars. Some insurance providers might offer DOC cover, but often this is only third-party only cover.

This means you’re only covered for:

  • Property damage
  • Damage to another vehicle
  • Injuring another driver, pedestrian or passenger

Third-party only doesn’t cover the vehicle you’re driving or medical costs if you’re injured.

Before you drive someone else's car, speak to your insurer and find out whether your policy has DOC. Some may let you add or enhance DOC cover at an extra cost.

Does a third-party or third-party, fire and theft policy cover driving any cars?

No, you can’t drive other cars if you have third party or third-party, fire and theft insurance.

DOC lets you drive someone else’s car without being a named driver on their policy. If you have DOC cover, there are usually some restrictions. For example:

  • You should only drive someone else's car in an emergency. For example, if your friend or family member needs to go to hospital.
  • DOC cover applies to the policyholder only - named drivers aren't covered.
  • You only have third-party cover while driving someone else's car. So if you're involved in an accident, any damage to the car you're driving isn't covered.
  • The other car must have a valid insurance policy already. You can't drive an uninsured car, even with DOC insurance cover.
  • You must have the owner's permission to drive the car.

You can find out if you have DOC cover on your certificate of motor insurance. If you don't have a paper copy, try logging into your account with your insurer.

You should find it under your 'policy documents' section. If you can't find your certificate of motor insurance, it might be listed under your last renewal letter.

If DOC isn’t listed on your certificate, you aren’t covered to drive other cars. That applies even if you have comprehensive insurance.

If you drive another car without insurance, you’re breaking the law and:

  • You risk getting 6-8 points on your driving licence and get an IN10 conviction.
  • You get a fixed-penalty fine of £300, this could increase if your case goes to court.

An IN10 conviction can increase the cost of your car insurance too. The average price for a policy with this conviction is £1,953*.

You might struggle to find an insurer if you have an IN10. Most don’t cover drivers with this conviction as they’re considered to be too high risk.

If the car doesn't have insurance, you must keep it off the road and get a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).

That depends on the insurer. If you want to add or upgrade your DOC cover, call your insurer and ask what your options are.

We don't ask about driving other cars in our list of optional extras when you get a quote.

To get DOC insurance on your policy, you need to meet some requirements set out by insurance providers. These are:

  • You need to be 25 or over when the policy starts
  • Your car insurance policy needs to be 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

If you don’t have DOC on your policy, you still have options if you need to drive someone else's car:

  • Buy a temporary car insurance policy on the car you want to drive. If you need to drive the car in an emergency, you can get temporary cover to start instantly.
  • Ask the other policyholder to add you as a named driver. You should have the same level of cover as them.

What our motor insurance expert says

"If you need to borrow a friend's car - even if it's for a few hours - make sure you're properly covered to drive. Driving other cars cover isn't as common as it used to be, and most of the time only offers the bare minimum of cover. Before you use the car, make sure your certificate of motor insurance explicitly states that you can drive other cars and what restrictions are in place.

"A better solution is to buy short-term insurance for the time you need the car. This gives you more protection and removes the risk of you driving without insurance".

DOC cover offers the lowest level of cover (third-party only). Temporary car insurance gives you comprehensive cover for another car for a short time, from 1 hour to 28 days. Your cover should be active as soon as you've bought the policy. And if you're involved in an accident, it doesn't affect the owner's no-claims bonus.

Temporary car insurance could be a useful option in these scenarios:

  • 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
  • You’re a young driver who doesn’t have a car but can use a friend or relative's car
  • 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

Someone else can drive your car if they have one of the following:

  • They have valid DOC cover of their own
  • You've added them to your insurance policy as a named driver
  • They've bought temporary insurance to drive your car

When you compare car insurance quotes with us, we'll ask you if you want to 'add another driver' to your policy. If you do, you need their:

  • Personal details: Name, date of birth, marital status:
  • Occupation
  • Type of driving licence and their driving licence number (optional)
  • Relationship to the policyholder

We'll also ask you "who will be the policyholder?" This should be the person who’s doing most of the driving.

It depends on how long they need to drive your car.

Car insurance policies that have the policyholder and 1 additional driver cost £630, on average**. This lets both of you drive your car for 12 months.

If they only need your car for a day, they can buy a 24-hour temporary car insurance policy for £37***

It's up to you to weigh these costs up and decide which option suits you better.

Compare temporary car insurance quotes

*Confused.com data October 2022 - October 2023.

**Confused.com data October 2022 - October 2023. Comprehensive policies only.

***Based on Tempcover data August 2023.

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