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Can I drive someone else’s car?

You may be wondering, if I have comprehensive car insurance, can I drive any car? Well, no, it doesn’t quite work like that.

Don’t assume that because you have comprehensive car insurance you can get behind the wheel of any car. In fact, if you do drive someone else’s car without checking that you’re insured, you could be driving illegally.

You may be wondering, if I have comprehensive car insurance, can I drive any car? Well, no, it doesn’t quite work like that.

Don’t assume that because you have comprehensive car insurance you can get behind the wheel of any car. In fact, if you do drive someone else’s car without checking that you’re insured, you could be driving illegally.

Written by
Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
Last Updated
31 MAY 2024
5 min read
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Can I drive someone else’s car with my insurance?

It’s unlikely that you can drive someone else’s car with your insurance.

Driving other cars (known as DOC) used to be a standard feature of comprehensive car insurance policies. It gave the policyholder third-party only cover to drive someone else’s car with their permission.

However, times have changed, and DOC is not usually included in most policies. Even those with comprehensive cover may not be insured to drive any car. 

As always, if you’re unsure about what your policy does or doesn’t cover, check your certificate of insurance (which will state whether you have DOC cover) – or contact your insurance provider directly.

Can a named driver drive another car?

To drive someone else’s car legally, it’s best to be added to their insurance as a named driver.

However, being a named driver on one policy doesn’t mean you can get behind the wheel of any car.

What level of cover will I have if I am insured to drive any car?

If your policy does offer car insurance to drive other cars, it’ll likely be in an emergency only. It will generally be on a third-party only basis, which 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. Nor will you be covered if that car is stolen or damaged by fire.

It’s possible to have a higher level of DOC cover, but if that applies to you, it’ll be clearly stated in your policy documents.

Where DOC cover is available, it’s typically only for drivers aged 25 and over. Those under 25 are considered to be too high a risk to be offered DOC.

It’s also unlikely you’ll be offered DOC cover if you have criminal convictions, or you’ve made a claim on your car insurance policy.

How can I get cover for driving another car?

If you don’t currently have cover to drive someone else’s car, there are steps you can take to ensure you’re insured to drive other cars. These include:

Adding your name to their policy

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

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

Watch out for ‘fronting’, where a more experienced driver insures a car in their name, but a younger driver actually uses the car the most. This is illegal and could invalidate a car insurance policy.

Also, be aware that if you’re added as a named driver, you probably won’t be able to build up a no-claims bonus on that policy.

Getting short-term insurance

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

Can I drive my partner’s car?

Even if you have comprehensive car insurance, it probably won’t cover you for driving your spouse or partner’s car.

Unless your policy states otherwise, you’ll only be able to drive your partner’s car if they’ve added you as a named driver or have a family or any-driver car insurance policy.

Can I get insurance for anyone to drive my car?

An any-driver insurance policy allows anyone to drive your car at any time, provided they have your permission.

This type of car insurance is unusual, as most people only have one (or a few) named drivers added to their policy.

If anyone is covered to drive your car, your insurance provider can’t be sure who’s driving – or know their driving experience or history. This makes calculating the risk of a claim tricky to impossible. As a result, any-driver policies are often eye-wateringly expensive.

What happens if I drive without insurance?

The penalties for driving without insurance are severe, so never assume you have DOC cover. If you’re caught driving without insurance, you could:

  • Get a £300 fine and six penalty points
  • Get an unlimited fine and be disqualified from driving if the case goes to court.

How can I compare insurance for my car?

Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. We’ll compare a variety of car insurance providers to find a deal that suits you, at a price you can afford.

Frequently asked questions

What is a named driver?

A named driver, also known as an additional driver, is the term used for any other people who are insured to drive your car. By adding them to your policy, you’ll be able to share your car with another person. This is particularly useful for couples or those with family members who are learning to drive.

Can I get insurance for my family?

Yes, there are a couple of options for family car insurance. You can add family members as named drivers on your car, and vice versa.

If your household has more than one car, you could take out a multi-car insurance policy. Many providers offer a discount for insuring two or more cars under one policy, so it might help you save money.

How does my occupation affect which cars I can drive?

Some policies won’t provide DOC cover for people in occupations considered high-risk.

Your job is one of the factors providers consider when pricing up quotes for car insurance.

Can I drive someone else’s car in an emergency?

You can only drive someone else’s car in an emergency if you’re a named driver or you have DOC cover on your own policy. 

If you’re in a situation that requires immediate action, it’s best to call the emergency services for help.

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