What insurance do you need to drive someone else’s car?

Photographic of a steering wheel

Driving someone else’s car can pose a tricky situation if you’re unsure about the insurance implications. Whether you’re borrowing a friend’s vehicle for a quick errand or needing to use a family member’s car for an extended period, understanding the role of insurance is essential. This article provides an in-depth exploration of car insurance.

Ways to drive someone else’s car

Becoming a named driver

If you plan to regularly drive someone else’s car, one option is to become a named driver on the same car under their insurance policy. As a named driver, you’ll have the same level of cover as the main driver when driving their car.

Getting temporary cover

Temporary car insurance offers a flexible solution if you need to drive another car occasionally or for a short period. Temporary policies can provide comprehensive cover and can be arranged for periods.

Who needs temporary car insurance?

Temporary car insurance is an ideal solution for drivers who need to use a second car only for a short period. Some common scenarios include:

  • Driving a borrowed car
  • Using a rental car
  • Test driving a vehicle before purchase
  • Driving a new car home after purchase
  • Learner drivers needing extra practice

It’s important to remember that the primary car insurance policy is usually tied to the vehicle, not the driver. Therefore, driving someone else’s car without appropriate coverage could lead to legal and financial consequences if you’re involved in an accident.

Checking your insurance coverage

Before driving someone else’s car, it’s important to check whether you’re covered by either your own insurance policy or their own policy first. If you’re unsure, consult your insurance provider or check your policy documents. Remember that driving without the appropriate insurance is illegal and can result in penalties, including fines.

The legalities of driving other cars

Driving without permission

Driving someone else’s car without their explicit permission is illegal and can result in serious consequences, even if you have a comprehensive car insurance policy. It’s always important to obtain the car owner’s permission before driving their vehicle.

Implications of accidents

If you’re involved in an accident while driving someone else’s car, the insurance implications can be complex. In general, the car owner’s insurance policy will act as the primary cover, dealing with third-party damage and injury costs. If the car owner’s cover isn’t sufficient, any insurance policy you have may act as secondary cover.

The risk of uninsured driving

Uninsured driving is a serious offence that can result in heavy fines, penalty points on your licence, and even a driving ban. It can also make obtaining affordable car insurance in the future more difficult for other people’s cars. Always ensure you have the necessary insurance coverage before driving a car, whether it’s your own or someone else’s.

Temporary car insurance for special circumstances

Temporary car insurance for high-risk drivers

If you’re a high-risk driver — perhaps due to a poor driving record or previous insurance claims — obtaining temporary car insurance might be more challenging. However, some insurers specialise in high-risk coverage, so it’s worth shopping around to find a policy that suits your needs.

Temporary car insurance for young or new drivers

Young or new drivers might also face challenges when seeking temporary car insurance, as insurers often view them as a higher risk. However, some providers offer short-term policies specifically designed for young or learner drivers, providing a valuable solution to other cars insurance and for new drivers needing to use a car temporarily.

Non-owner car insurance

If you frequently drive cars you don’t own, you may want to consider non-owner car insurance. This type of insurance provides liability coverage when you’re driving a car not listed on your policy, offering protection in emergency situations, where you might not be covered by the car owner’s policy.

Comprehensive car insurance cover

Comprehensive car insurance explained

Comprehensive car insurance is the highest level of car insurance cover available. It provides coverage for damage to your own car and other people’s property, as well as injuries to other drivers, passengers or pedestrians, in an accident. It also covers fire damage, theft and damage caused by accidents.

If you’re ready to explore your car insurance options, get covered today with Budget insurance!

Can comprehensive car insurance cover driving other cars?

Historically, many comprehensive car insurance policies included a provision known as Driving Other Cars (DOC) cover, offering policyholders third-party insurance when driving vehicles not listed on their policy.

However, this is no longer a standard feature in many policies, and even when included, it often provides only third-party cover, not comprehensive cover.

Therefore, if you have comprehensive insurance for your own car, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re covered to drive someone else’s car. Always check your policy documents or consult with your insurance provider to confirm whether your policy includes DOC cover.


What insurance do you need to drive someone elses car? Understanding temporary car insurance is essential if you find yourself needing to drive another person’s car. Whether you’re covered by your own insurance, the car owner’s insurance, or a separate temporary insurance policy, ensuring you’re legally and adequately protected is essential. Always check your coverage before hitting the road in someone else’s car — it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Driving someone else’s car needn’t be a daunting prospect. Armed with the right knowledge and the appropriate insurance cover, you can enjoy the freedom and convenience it offers, secure in the knowledge that you’re protected.

Frequently asked questions

Can I get temporary car insurance for rental cars?

If you’re renting a car, the rental company will typically offer its own insurance at the time of rental. However, this can often be expensive, and you may find that temporary car insurance offers a more cost-effective solution. Always check the terms of the rental agreement to ensure you’re adequately covered.

Can I get temporary car insurance for travelling in Europe?

If you’re planning to drive someone else’s car while travelling on holiday, it’s important to check whether your temporary car insurance policy provides coverage in your destination. Some policies may only provide coverage within certain geographical areas.

What is the cost of temporary car insurance?

The cost of temporary car insurance can vary widely based on various factors, including your age, driving history, the type of car you’ll be driving, and the duration of the cover. It’s always a good idea to compare quotes from different providers to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

How do I get a temporary car insurance policy?

Obtaining temporary car insurance is typically a straightforward process. Many car insurance quotes providers offer the ability to get a quote and purchase a policy online, often providing immediate coverage. Remember to provide accurate information when applying for a quote, as false or misleading information can invalidate your policy.

What is DOC Cover?

Driving Other Cars (DOC) cover is a provision previously included in many car insurance policies, especially comprehensive ones. DOC cover allows the policyholder to drive cars not listed on their policy, usually providing third-party cover only.

What are the limitations of DOC Cover?

DOC cover typically only offers third-party protection, meaning it covers damages or injuries to other people and their property but not to the car you’re driving. Many insurers have age restrictions on DOC cover, often excluding drivers under 25. DOC cover is generally intended for emergency use only, not regular driving of another car. Not all insurance providers offer DOC cover, and it may not be included in all policies.

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