Adding Drivers to Car Insurance: What to Know

May 29th, 2023
Adding Drivers to Car Insurance: What to Know

Perhaps your car is in the garage and a friend or family member has offered to lend you theirs, or you have been nominated as the designated driver for a night out. There are a multitude of reasons why you could end up behind the wheel of a car that does not belong to you, but before you go driving off into the sunset, you must make sure that you are covered by an appropriate insurance policy.

I have fully comprehensive insurance on my own car – can I drive someone else’s car?

If your fully comprehensive insurance policy includes Driving Other Cars cover, you will be able to drive a vehicle belonging to somebody else. However, the vehicle must have its own insurance policy, you must have been granted permission by its owner to drive it, and you will only have third party cover rather than the fully comp cover that you have for your own vehicle.

Driving Other Cars cover is only intended for emergency use and is not included in every fully comprehensive policy so you should always check before you agree to drive a different car. Because your cover, whilst driving the other car, will be limited to third party only, you will be responsible for covering the costs of any damage to the borrowed vehicle should you be involved in an accident whilst driving it.

What other options exist for allowing me to drive someone else’s car?

1. Named driver

The owner of the vehicle that you wish to drive could add you to their policy as a named driver. This would entail them contacting their insurance company and providing your details. There is likely to be a cost incurred to do so, which will comprise an administration fee and a potential increase in premiums if you are considered to be a greater risk than the vehicle’s owner.

2. Temporary car insurance policy

You could take out a temporary car insurance policy which provides fully comprehensive cover on a car belonging to somebody else that you only need to drive for a short period of time. Again, you will require the vehicle owner’s permission to drive their car, and their own insurance policy will be unaffected. There are a number of insurance providers that offer temporary car insurance policies, and it is wise to perform a car insurance comparison to ensure that you secure the best price for the cover that you need.

3. Full insurance policy

The final option that is open to you is to take out a new insurance policy on the vehicle that you wish to drive. This will allow you to tailor the cover to suit your exact requirements and will run alongside any insurance policy that the vehicle’s owner already has in effect. It is the most expensive way of guaranteeing that you will be covered to drive the vehicle whenever you wish to do so.

The benefit of these three options over opting for the Driving Other Cars cover that is associated with your own fully comprehensive insurance policy is that any accident or incident that you experience when driving the vehicle will not impact on its owner’s no-claims bonus.

Does Driving Other Cars cover allow me to drive someone else’s van?

You should always check the exact wording of your insurance policy, or query this with your insurance provider prior to borrowing a van. Some car-style vans may be covered while larger ones probably won’t.

What factors affect the price of a car insurance policy?

If you are a new driver, aged under 25, have zero years no claims bonus or drive for a living, you will represent a greater risk to an insurance company and find it harder to secure cheap car insurance. This means that a friend or family member may baulk at adding you to their policy as a named driver unless you are willing to fund the increased cost of their premiums.

If you need to drive somebody else’s vehicle and they are unwilling to add you to their policy as a named driver, or the terms of their insurance policy preclude it, perhaps due to your address being different to theirs, or due to your age, you will need to consider whether to take out a temporary or second insurance policy for the vehicle or consider alternatives.

I cannot borrow a car due to the cost of insurance, what should I do?

You could compare car insurance quotes using the Free Price Compare car insurance calculator to try to find a more favourable deal. You should be aware that the owner of the car is unlikely to want you to opt for a cheaper policy that requires a black box to be fitted to the vehicle, particularly if you are not likely to be driving it regularly. This is because any poor driving behaviour when you are behind the wheel could impact the price of their premiums.

Alternatively, you could investigate the possibility of renting a hire car from a dedicated hire car company. Many car hire companies require renters to be aged over 25, however, some will consider younger drivers who have held a full UK driving licence for a year or more [1] though they will apply a Young Driver’s Surcharge to the hire fee which will increase the price.

If all else fails, you may have to buy your own vehicle, or if you already own one that is off the road, prioritise making it roadworthy. Nobody wants to have to rely on public transport and the benefits of owning a vehicle that is covered by a fully comprehensive car insurance policy are huge.

I will only be driving a short distance, do I really need a separate insurance policy?

It is illegal to drive a vehicle that does not have an MOT, road tax or insurance on the public highway in the UK [2]. If you borrow a friend’s vehicle without taking out the appropriate insurance, you could be liable for a £300 fine and 6 points on your licence. The vehicle’s owner could also be fined and receive points on their licence for allowing you to use the car without a valid insurance policy in place.

Before you get into the driver’s seat of a vehicle that does not belong to you, you must ask the question, "does fully comprehensive cover driving other cars?" If you cannot guarantee that the wording of your own fully comprehensive car insurance policy includes Driving Other Cars cover, err on the side of caution and do not start the engine until you check car insurance and, if necessary, take out a temporary policy to cover your journey.

How can I secure a great deal on a temporary or additional car insurance policy?

The Free Price Compare car insurance calculator will allow you to compare the whole of the market for car insurance quotes in order to secure the best deal. Always remember that the cost of a temporary or additional car insurance policy that allows you to legally drive a vehicle belonging to someone else pales in comparison to the cost of a fine. You must also take into consideration the penalty points on your licence which will have a lasting effect on the price of your own vehicle’s car insurance policies for at least a 5-year period.

In what situations does comprehensive insurance allow you to drive someone elses car?

The Driving Other Cars cover that is sometimes available through a fully comprehensive car insurance policy usually includes wording to the effect that you can have third party only cover when you drive someone else’s car, but only in an emergency and with their permission. This means that you should not rely on this cover to drive a friend or family member’s car for ad hoc or social reasons.

It is unusual for Driving Other Cars cover to allow you to drive the vehicle of someone that you live with. This may be a partner, parent, child or housemate. Usually, when you share an address with someone, the expectation is that you should be added to their policy as a named driver in order to allow you to operate their vehicle with their permission.

If you have any doubts about the situation in which you are being asked to drive someone else’s car, you should check with your car insurance provider prior to beginning the journey in order to ensure that you will be covered in the event of an accident.

Can I drive somebody else’s car if they have an any-driver insurance policy?

Yes. If the car that you wish to borrow is covered by an any-driver insurance policy and you are of an age that is covered by the policy (some policies exclude drivers under the age of 25), you will be able to drive the vehicle without needing to take out a separate policy.

If I am added as a named driver to someone else’s insurance policy, can I drive the car as often as I like?

The main driver on an insurance policy must be the person that drives the vehicle most frequently. If there is a chance that you could end up driving the vehicle more often than the main driver, the policy should be amended to reflect this situation, or a new policy taken out to cover you.

This is because there is a cost implication to adding named drivers to an insurance policy, and deliberately adding a young named driver to an insurance policy where they will be the most regular driver of that vehicle is a form of insurance fraud that is known as "fronting" [3].

By artificially reducing the cost of that driver’s insurance premiums they are breaking the law and could have their insurance policy cancelled, be prosecuted for fraud and potentially even end up with a criminal record.

What happens if I have an accident in a vehicle that I do not own?

This depends on the insurance cover that you have in place at the time that you drive the vehicle. If you are driving on a Driving Any Car cover that is associated with your own fully comprehensive insurance policy, you will be covered on a Third Party Only basis. This means that the third party will be able to recover their costs, but you will be liable to pay all costs associated with the repair or replacement of the vehicle that you were driving at the time of the accident.

If you are a named driver on someone else’s insurance policy, you will benefit from the same level of cover that they enjoy. It will, however, be their no-claims bonus that will be affected if they need to claim on the insurance to repair their own or the third party’s vehicle.

If you have taken out a temporary insurance policy or an additional car insurance policy, the cover will be as you have agreed and any impact on the no-claims bonus will be your own.

As a side note, it is likely that if you are found to be at fault in an accident in someone else’s car, they are unlikely to let you drive it again, so it is always best to respect the privilege and drive someone else’s car very carefully!

Can I lend my fully comprehensively insured car to somebody else?

It is a kind gesture to lend your vehicle to somebody else but before you do so, you must ensure that they are legally entitled to drive your car. They must have a valid, full UK driving licence and be covered by an appropriate car insurance policy.

You may choose to add them to your insurance policy as a named driver in order for them to benefit from your level of cover, but if you do not wish to do this, you should ensure that they have taken out their own insurance cover for the period of time that they will be driving your vehicle.

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