Driving someone else’s car: what you’re (not) covered for

Driving someone else’s car: what you’re (not) covered for

Back in the early days of Cuvva, nobody shared their cars. It would have been unthinkable. 

But these days we’re all doing it, and we think it’s great. For anyone who can’t afford their own car, or who only needs one very occasionally, car sharing is the answer to their prayers. The only downside is the minefield that car sharing and insurance can be.

So let’s clear things up. Here’s what you need to know about car sharing and insurance.

Most car insurance policies don’t cover you to drive other people’s cars. Even comprehensive ones.

If you have an annual car insurance policy, you probably aren’t covered to drive someone else’s car. Even if your insurance is comprehensive.

This wasn’t always the case. Back in the day, most comprehensive policies came with “Driving other cars” (DOC) insurance. This meant you had third-party insurance in any car.

Nowadays, it’s much less common. But it’s not unheard of.

To find out if you’re covered to drive someone else’s car, check your policy certificate and documents.

If you’re not, you might be able to add it, as long as you have comprehensive insurance. But you’ll probably have to pay a bit more.

While driving someone else’s car, you’ll only have third party cover. There won’t be any cover for damage to the car you’re driving, so if something goes wrong, you might end up having to cover the owner’s costs yourself.

You’re not covered by the car owner’s insurance.

In the UK, drivers are insured for specific cars. So even if the owner of the car has comprehensive insurance, you can’t get behind the wheel without insurance of your own.

If you don’t have your own annual insurance policy, there are two things you can do to (legally) drive someone else’s car.

Getting insured to drive someone else’s car: your options

1) Be a named driver

One way to drive someone else’s car is to become a named driver on their policy. This means you’re insured on the same policy as the main policyholder.

Adding a named driver to a policy usually comes with a small-ish admin fee. It also affects the cost of the policy.

If you’re adding a younger driver as a named driver, the cost will usually go up. It’s a risk thing.

The cost of adding a named driver depends on things like their:

  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Relationship to the policyholder
  • Number of vehicles
  • Year of driving experience
  • History of driving convictions

Being added as a named driver can be a good option if you’re planning to drive the car fairly regularly – if you’re a learner driver who wants to practise in your parents’ car, or if you regularly borrow a family member’s car.

If you don’t plan to drive the car very often, being a named driver can be (relatively speaking) pretty expensive for the policyholder.

Watch out for “fronting”.

If you’re a named driver on someone else’s policy, make sure you’re honest about who the main driver is. If you’re likely to be doing the bulk of the driving, you could be committing insurance fraud. It’s called “fronting”.

Fronting means putting the cheaper driver forward as the policyholder, and adding the more expensive driver as a named driver, to keep the price down.

2) Get temporary car insurance

The other option is temporary car insurance. This means getting insured for just hours, days or weeks at a time.

It’s particularly good if you’re only planning to drive someone else’s car once, but only occasionally. In these cases, it’s cheaper than being listed as a named driver on their policy.

Like any other kind of insurance, the cost of temporary car insurance depends on things like your:

  • Age
  • Vehicle
  • Address
  • Excess
  • Occupation
  • Claims history

(In case you’re wondering, here’s a detailed explanation of how we price our temporary car insurance policies. 🤓)

If you do get temporary car insurance, the person who owns the car still needs to have the car fully insured.

Learner drivers insurance: how provisional licence holders can get insured

Learner drivers need insurance too.

When you have driving lessons, the insurance is taken care of for you, and the cost is included in the lesson price.

But if you want to get extra practice outside your lessons, or to learn with a trusted friend or family member, you need insurance.

You can do that as a named driver on a parent or friend’s car, or you can get temporary learner driver insurance.

Brush up on your Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) knowledge

The Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) says that a car has to be insured all the time – even if you don’t drive it.

That means you can’t buy a car, leave it uninsured, and then get temporary insurance for the rare occasions you drive it.

And if you’re borrowing someone else’s car, they need to have the car fully insured all year round.