You could be at risk of an unlimited fine and road ban for driving someone else’s car even if you have comprehensive insurance
BRITS who jump behind the wheel of someone else’s car could be slapped with an unlimited fine if nabbed by police.
Apart from a few exceptions, cover for driving another person’s car is no longer included in the majority of insurance policies – putting you at risk of committing a driving offence.
British police forces made almost 4,000 calls to the Motor Insurance Bureau’s (MIB) police helpline in 2018 with enquires related to the “driving other cars” clause in insurance policies.
This saw more than 1,500 vehicles seized as drivers had misunderstood their cover, leaving them without insurance while behind the wheel of another motor.
Anyone caught driving without insurance can be slapped with a £300 fixed penalty and six points on their licence.
But in more serious cases, a court can impose an unlimited fine and even disqualify you from driving.
In the past, cover for driving other cars (DOC) was included on comprehensive policies by most insurers, giving motorists third-party cover to drive vehicles not listed on their insurance.
But a number of providers will now only offer this kind of cover if you specifically ask for it – and you’ll have to fork out more money too.
It’s becoming far less common for insurers to include DOC cover, and if they do, it’s usually under strict provisions.
Drivers under the age of 25 almost always won’t have this kind of condition as they are more expensive to insure.
And even if you do have DOC cover, it’s only supposed to be used in an emergency, meaning your insurer may refuse to pay out if there’s an accident and you don’t have a good reason for being behind the wheel of another car.
Driving your partner’s car is also a no-go if you aren’t named on the insurance, as a number of providers will state that the car you are borrowing can’t be owned by you or your partner.
Anyone wanting to drive another person’s car is best off getting their name added to the policy, or taking out temporary cover for the period they want to use the car.
Neil Drane, Head of Enforcement Services at MIB, said: “What may seem like a quick trip in your mate’s car could result in you losing your vehicle, fines to pay and points on your licence.
“We want all drivers to think before just jumping in another vehicle. Are you actually insured to drive it?
“People should also remember that if you are involved in an accident and you are uninsured, you remain liable for any costs so it really isn’t worth the risk.”
the road laws you need to know
Neil Greig, Director of Research and Policy at IAM RoadSmart, said: “Letting someone drive your car uninsured can lead to lot of unnecessary trouble.
“If stopped at the roadside your car may be towed away and impounded, and on top of walking home you will have to stump up for storage and release fees if you leave it for days without paying all the fines.
“The police could give your friend a fixed penalty of £300 and six penalty points, and if the case goes to court you could get an unlimited fine.
“Uninsured driving is not a victimless crime as all law abiding drivers have to pay a levy to the Motor Insurance Bureau to provide cover for those who get hit by law breakers.”