Am I insured to drive any car on my current policy?

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Don’t assume that because you have comprehensive car insurance you’re covered to drive someone else’s car. If you do get behind the wheel without checking you’re insured, you could be driving illegally.

Can I drive another car on my own insurance?

Driving other cars, or DOC, used to be a standard element of comprehensive car insurance policies and gave the policy holder third party only cover to drive someone else’s car. Naturally, they would’ve needed the car owner’s permission too. But times have changed and DOC is not usually included in most policies, even if you have comprehensive cover.

In fact, it’s quite likely that your comprehensive policy doesn’t offer any cover if you get behind the wheel of another person’s car. If you’re unsure, check your certificate of insurance (which will state whether you have DOC cover) – or contact your insurance provider.

using family members cars

What level of cover will I have if I am insured to drive other cars?

This will depend on your insurance policy, so check the wording carefully. If you are covered, it will generally be on a third party only basis, and this will be shown on your certificate of insurance. This means that if you’re involved in an accident with another car and you’re at fault, any damage to the car you’re driving won’t be covered. Plus, you won’t be covered if that car is stolen or damaged by fire. If you have a higher level of DOC cover, this will be stated in your policy documents.

Even if you have the right to drive other cars, it might come with certain conditions. Many insurance providers take the view that DOC cover is for ‘emergencies’ only. Check your policy wording if you’re unsure what you’re covered for.

Where DOC cover is available it is typically only available to drivers aged 25 and over – those under 25 are considered to be too high a risk to be offered DOC.

Consider becoming a named driver

If you need to drive someone else’s car every now and then – say another family member’s car – it might be a good idea to add your name to their policy. This will give you the same level of cover as the main driver.

The main driver on a policy must be the person that drives the car most of the time; as a named driver, you should only be using the car occasionally.

Be aware of 'fronting', though. This usually happens when a more experienced driver insures a car in their name, but a younger driver actually uses the car most often. The aim of this is to reduce the young driver’s premium. Fronting is illegal and could invalidate a car insurance policy.

You should also be aware that if you are added as a named driver, you typically aren’t able to build up a no claims bonus on that policy (you can still build up a no claims bonus if you have your own car and you’re insured as the main driver). Some insurance providers may let you do this, provided you take out your own policy with them in the future, so check with the provider.

What’s short-term insurance?

A short-term or temporary car insurance policy provides cover from one day up to 28 days. It’s a good solution if you need to borrow someone else’s car for a few days, or maybe your son or daughter is back from university for the holidays and needs to use your family car

How can I compare insurance for my car?

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