There’s always confusion around car insurance and whether you can drive someone else’s car and still be insured under your policy.
The main types of insurance in the UK are comprehensive, third party and third party fire and theft. These all offer different levels of cover and it’s important that you understand the difference between them before taking out a policy.
Third party insurance only covers the damage to other vehicles that are involved in an accident and you will not receive compensation to fix the damage to your own vehicle. Third party fire and theft insurance offers the same level of cover as third party, but will also provide compensation if your car is involved in a fire or is stolen. Comprehensive insurance, sometimes referred to as ‘fully comp’, will cover the cost to fix any damage to your car as well as other vehicles that were involved in the accident, whether it was your fault or not.
But do any of these kinds of insurance cover you when you’re driving someone else’s vehicle?
If you have the minimum levels of cover (third party or third party fire and theft insurance), then it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to drive someone else’s vehicle using your policy. However, every insurance policy is different, so it’s important that you check the small print in your policy document. This document should outline whether you’re covered to drive another car and the type of cover you will have.
Most policy providers only allow you to drive other vehicles if you have a minimum of comprehensive cover. But even with this form of insurance you might not be able to drive another car.
Comprehensive car insurance is designed to insure you for any accidents in a variety of different situations. For example, you can make a claim if you’ve discovered damage to your car but can’t prove who was to blame. It will cover your vehicle if it’s parked on the street or if an accident was caused by you. It can also compensate passengers or drivers that were injured in the incident. This is why it’s the most popular form of insurance in the UK, despite typically being the most expensive
Just because you have comprehensive car insurance doesn’t automatically mean that you can drive another person’s vehicle. Some providers allow you to do so, while others might claim in the small print that you won’t be covered. Having fully comp insurance on your own vehicle doesn’t mean that you’re fully comp on someone else’s.
If your insurance provider does allow you to drive a different vehicle, it’s likely that they will only provide third party cover as a maximum. This means that if you’re involved in a collision, the policy will pay for the damages made to the other vehicle involved, but you will need to pay to have the vehicle you were driving fixed. This could cost thousands, depending on how severe the damage is.
In the past, many comprehensive policies would cover you when you’re driving other vehicles, but now it isn’t as common. You should always check your certificate of insurance or your policy documents to confirm what you’re protected against.
If you’re in doubt, it isn’t worth getting in the car. It is illegal to drive without insurance, even if you thought you were covered, and you could be fined up to £300 or have six penalty points added to your licence. These would stay on your record for five years. The punishment could be more severe if you already have convictions on your licence.
If your insurance policy doesn’t cover you to drive someone else’s car, there are a couple of ways that you can become insured on a second vehicle.
First, you could be added as a named driver to an insurance policy. A named driver is someone who is insured to use a vehicle, but they aren’t the main driver and don’t use the vehicle as frequently as the owner. They will have the same level of cover as the main policyholder and means they are completely covered should any incidents occur. An example of a named driver would be a father who might occasionally need to use his daughter’s car. The named user should never be the person who uses the vehicle most regularly. This is known as fronting and is illegal. If you’re caught, you may be refused insurance in the future or have a criminal record.
Second, you could take out temporary car insurance. For example, if you’re planning a road trip and want to split the driving between a few people, you can each take out a short-term insurance policy for a day or a week. This means you would all be equally covered to drive the car and would only need to pay one fee upfront.
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