How to insure yourself to drive someone else's car

If you want to drive a car you do not own, don’t assume your own comprehensive car insurance policy will allow you to do so. Here we explain how to make sure you are fully insured should you need to drive someone else's car.

Ways to drive a car you do not own

You can get cover to drive someone else's car by:

  • Buying your own car insurance policy for the car

  • Being added as a named driver on the owner's policy

  • Getting short-term car insurance for the period you want to drive the car

  • Checking if your own car insurance policy covers you to drive other cars

We explain all of these options below. 

Can you insure a car you don’t own?

Yes, but you will have to tell the insurer you are not the owner or registered keeper when you apply.

Some insurers will only offer you cover as the main driver if you are also the registered keeper of the car. However many will insure you, so shop around and check the policy documents before you apply.

When you apply for cover on another car you will usually be asked to confirm who is the owner and registered keeper of the vehicle. Some insurers will only cover you to drive a car you do not own if it belongs to:

  • Your spouse, partner or civil partner

  • A parent

  • Your employer

  • A lease company

Is the owner always the registered keeper?

No, the registered keeper is the person named on the registration certificate (DVLA V5C); this does not have to be the person who bought and paid for the car.

For example, if you drive a company car you may be listed as the registered keeper because you are the person using and looking after the vehicle, but the car is actually owned by the company you work for.

How much does it cost to buy insurance on another car?

It can cost a lot more to get cover for a car you do not own because insurers may see you as a higher risk. If you do not have a financial interest in the vehicle some companies assume you will take less care driving it, and therefore be more likely to make a claim.

To ensure you’re getting the best price, it is worth shopping around and getting quotes.

Are there other ways to get insured on someone else’s car? 

As well as buying a full insurance policy on the other car, there are several other ways to get cover to drive someone else's car. These include:

  • Being added as a named driver: you can drive someone else's car if they add you to their policy as a named driver. This can be useful if you plan to use another car regularly. Read this guide to learn more about adding named drivers to a policy

  • Choosing a short-term policy: if you only need to drive someone else's car for brief period, a short-term or temporary policy could be the answer. Here is what you need to know when looking for short-term car insurance

  • Checking if you have ‘driving other cars’ cover: this may be included in your comprehensive insurance policy

What is driving other cars cover? 

If you already have a fully comprehensive car insurance policy in place, you may be covered to drive a car you do not own through what’s known as driving other cars (DOC) cover.

This type of cover used to be a fairly standard addition to comprehensive policies, but it’s now less common, so check your paperwork carefully before you drive another car.

DOC cover will only give you basic third party cover, which is the minimum cover you legally need to drive and will only pay out for damage or injuries to third parties in the event of an accident. It won’t pay out for damage to the car you’re driving, which means if you’re driving someone else’s car it’s likely you’ll need to foot the repair bill yourself. 

DOC cover is often only available if:

  • You do not own the car

  • The car is covered by an existing insurance policy 

  • You have permission to drive the car

  • You have not hired the car

  • You are over a certain age, often 25 years old

You may also only be able to get cover if you don’t have any criminal convictions and you haven’t made any insurance claims on your own policy. Certain occupations such as those in the motor trade will also be excluded. 

This type of cover is only designed to be used in an emergency and not for regular driving. If you are unsure what counts as an emergency, contact your insurer and ask them before you drive. 

Why it pays to make sure you’re insured

Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) rules mean that every car on the road must be insured at all times. However, it’s important to remember that it’s not the car that’s insured, it’s the driver. 

This means that if you don’t have your own insurance policy, whether: 

  • it’s on your own car including DOC cover 

  • you’ve taken out a separate insurance policy on another car

  • you’re a named driver on the car owner’s policy 

  • you’ve taken out temporary cover

you will not be legally covered to drive. 

If you get caught driving without the right insurance in place, you could face a fixed penalty fine of £300, six penalty points on your licence and, if the case goes to court, an unlimited fine and be disqualified from driving.

In some cases, the police can also seize and destroy the vehicle.

Whatever car you drive, make sure you find insurance that covers everything you need as cheaply as possible by comparing all of the policies out there.