When fully comp doesn’t let you drive any motor
16 Jan 2015
Jumping into your partner’s car to nip to the shops or borrowing a mate’s motor for the day could end up costing you big in the future. We explain why.
If you’ve ever borrowed a friend or family member’s car, under the assumption your insurance allows you to drive any other motor with third party cover, you could have been breaking the law.
It used to be the case that the benefit of driving other cars (DOC) was included by most insurers on fully comprehensive policies.
Typically, this gave third party cover to motorists driving other cars.
But increasingly, many fully comprehensive policies do not offer this benefit without some form of stipulation.
Will Thomas, car insurance expert at Confused.com, explains.
“Many drivers believe that you can jump in someone else’s motor and be covered third party by your insurance, providing that you are fully comp on yours and you have the owner’s permission,” Thomas says.
“But there are strict stipulations for this benefit, and now some insurers are doing away with third party cover for driving other vehicles altogether.”
If you’re under 25, you can pretty much rule out driving other cars altogether, even if you have fully comprehensive cover.
The small print
This is because most insurers exclude anyone who falls within the ‘young driver’ age range.
Thomas says: “If you’re under 25 and want to drive someone else’s car, your best bet would be to either get added as a named driver on their policy or take out independent temporary cover.
“Of course this is no good if you just want to pop out on a whim, so check with your insurer.
There are still a few companies who don’t place an age restriction on the benefit.”
Why your occupation matters
The second most common stipulation is occupation.
This means that insurers reserve the right to refuse cover if the driver’s job is deemed to be too risky.
These are usually jobs where the policy holder is more likely to be driving other cars.
For this reason, many jobs in the motor industry will be excluded. Check with your insurer for clarification.
For example, some insurers state that the car you are borrowing should not be “owned by (or hired under a hire purchase agreement by or leased to) you or your partner.”
Driving your partner’s car
What this means is that will not cover you to drive your partner’s or spouse’s car third party.
So, for example, if your own car is in the garage and you thought to nip out in your partner’s car, if you happen to own your partner’s car, you wouldn’t be covered under your own fully comprehensive policy to drive it using the “driving other cars” third party cover benefit.
It’s common that the other car must not be hired, but that this also applies to the policyholder’s partner as well is unusual, and could catch many drivers out.
The bottom line is to check the precise conditions for driving other cars with your insurer. Otherwise, the outcome could end up costing you a packet.
If you are found to be driving a vehicle without insurance you could be issued with an IN10 licence endorsement.
This carries six to eight penalty points and stays on your licence for four years from the date of offence.
Thomas says: “An IN10 on your record will most likely send your premium sky-high.
“And that’s if the insurer wants your business at all – many will simply refuse to insure you.
“It’s one of the biggest black marks you can have on your insurance record, so ensuring it doesn’t happen to you in imperative.
“If in doubt, refer to your policy wording or just give your insurer a ring.”