DRIVING someone else’s car may seem harmless, but it can get you in big trouble if you’re not careful.
As a motorist, you need to make sure you are properly covered by insurance, otherwise you risk fines or worse.
Can I drive someone else’s car?
The main thing to know when driving a vehicle is whether you are insured.
Insurance is a legal requirement in the UK and if you drive another car uninsured you are breaking the law.
This means you risk a hefty fine, penalty points and possible disqualification.
Does my insurance cover me for driving someone else’s car?
Driving Other Cars (DOC) is a clause in your car insurance policy.
It lets you drive someone else’s car without being a named driver on their policy.
But you’ll need to check the fine print in your font, as it’s not always included.
If such a clause is not included in your policy, you are not covered to drive a vehicle other than your own, even if your insurance policy is comprehensive.
Before getting behind the wheel of another car, it is best to talk to your insurer.
Aviva says: “Third party only insurance is the minimum cover you need to drive legally in the UK.
“If you have comprehensive insurance, you are only covered by liability insurance if you have to drive someone else’s car.
Can I be fined for driving someone else’s car?
If you are caught driving a vehicle that you are not insured to drive, the police could impose a fixed fine of £300 and six penalty points.
Having permission from the car owner does not mean that DOC is legal.
Unless you are a “designated driver” on their car insurance, you will almost certainly not be insured.
What happens if I have an accident while driving someone else’s car?
If you have an accident during the DOC, you could end up paying a hefty repair bill.
DOC insurance is only ever third-party coverage, so it will not pay for damage to the borrowed car.
Instead, you would be responsible and have to pay out of pocket.
What is the punishment for driving other cars?
Even if the car you are driving is fully insured by the owner – if you are involved in an accident or caught without DOC insurance, you will be dealt with harshly by the law.
If the case goes to court, you could receive an unlimited fine or be banned from driving.
The police also have the power to seize and, in some cases, destroy the vehicle that is driven without insurance.
The owner would also face prosecution for letting an uninsured person drive his car.
Insurance companies take convictions for driving without coverage very seriously.
What about test driving a car?
Even if you’re just trying to drive a car, you still need to be insured.
Always check that you are insured before you leave.
If you’re browsing or buying the car from a main dealership, that won’t usually be a problem – as it will have cover in place.
But if you’re buying privately, you’ll need to confirm that your own policy covers you.
It’s always worth calling your provider to be absolutely sure.
What else should I know?
People under the age of 25 or with driving convictions are unlikely to be covered by the DOC.
If you regularly need DOC, it would be best to be a named driver on their policy.
Ask your insurer to add a clause to your existing policy even if you are not already covered. However, not all insurers offer this option.
If you are considering borrowing or renting a van and are unsure of coverage, check with your supplier or rental company.