Borrowing someone else’s car isn’t quite as simple as jumping in behind the wheel because you’ll need to make sure you’re insured first. If you aren’t, you could face penalty points, disqualification, and higher insurance premiums.
So, to make sure you stay on the right side of the law and for ideas on how to get cheap car insurance, mustard.co.uk share their advice and top tips.
The short answer is that it depends. If you have comprehensive car insurance, it may include ‘driving other cars’ (DOC) which would allow you to get behind the wheel of another vehicle (with the owner’s permission of course). If DOC is included, it should be clearly set out within your policy documents.
DOC used to be fairly standard across most comprehensive policies so it’s often a common misconception that comp cover means you can automatically drive another car. Nowadays, that simply isn’t the case and you shouldn’t assume DOC is included.
If DOC is something you need or want, you can usually add it as an optional extra for a small charge.
No, if DOC is included as part of your comprehensive policy, it doesn’t mean you’ll get comprehensive cover. In fact, DOC simply provides third party only (TPO) cover, which is the minimum you can have by law.
TPO covers the cost of damage you cause to other people’s property. It also compensates other people for injuries. Crucially, third party only cover doesn’t pay to repair the car you’re driving and it won’t compensate you if you’re injured and need time off work.
Ultimately, it comes down to risk and cost. Having it as an optional feature means insurers can use it to make extra revenue.
More importantly though, by making DOC optional, insurers get to decide which drivers are entitled to it. This allows insurers to minimise the risk of an expensive claim being made by only offering it to drivers they consider the safest on the road (from a statistical viewpoint).
Whether or not you’ll be able to add DOC to your policy depends on your circumstances. As a general rule, you could struggle to get DOC if:
- You’re under 25 — according to statistics, young drivers under 25 are more likely to be involved in an accident so you’ll usually need to be 25 or over to be eligible.
- You have a high risk job — insurers consider some jobs to be riskier than others, for example if you’re constantly driving, this puts you at greater risk of having an accident (and insurers could be reluctant to provide you with DOC).
- You’ve got a criminal conviction — it can be tricky to get affordable car insurance if you have any convictions.
- You’ve made a recent claim — to insurers, this suggests you’re more likely to make another claim, making you a higher risk to insure.
Bear in mind that insurers set their own terms and conditions so always check what your policy says or speak to your provider about what your options are.
DOC isn’t really a long-term solution for borrowing someone else’s car and there are other, cost-effective and more appropriate ways to ensure you’re covered.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to be added as a named driver on the policy. Depending on your age and driving experience, this could even help lower the policyholder’s premium.
You could also take out temporary car insurance which has a number of benefits. The main advantage is that short-term car cover is usually very flexible so you can find policies that last as little as one hour up to several days or weeks. Doing this also means you only pay for the time you need cover for, so it can also work out cheaper than being added as a named driver. However, bear in mind that although the overall temporary policy can work out cheaper, the cost per day is likely to be more expensive compared to annual car insurance.
If you’re looking for temporary car cover or just want to compare what different policies include, remember that shopping around on comparison sites like mustard.co.uk, really is the best way to find affordable car insurance for your needs.