Are You Insured to Borrow Your Friend’s Porsche?

Even though we don’t handle motor insurance claims at Allied Claims, that doesn’t stop people asking us questions about it, and we like to help as much as we can. One of the most common questions is about driving a borrowed car — and we mean borrowed, not “borrowed”.

Are you covered to drive a car belonging to a friend or family member, for instance? Maybe you need to pick them up from hospital, or pop to the shops for them. Can you use their car for that?

Well, the answer is a resounding “maybe”. Many people assume that their own insurance will cover them, and this used to be true. Now, though, your policy needs to specify Driving Other Cars (DOC) cover. This is a part of the policy giving you third-party cover for driving other people’s cars — with their permission.

If you have DOC, this means you don’t necessarily have to get temporary cover or be named on the owner’s policy in order to drive their vehicle. However, there’s a good deal of confusion about DOC — not everyone knows if they have it, or what it means if they do.

The Myths and the Reality

  • Isn’t DOC covered by all fully comprehensive policies? No, not any more. You’ll need to check your policy and see if DOC is specifically included. Even if it is, the likelihood is that it will only be for third-party cover, not the fully comprehensive you have on your own car, so you can’t make an insurance claim for damage to the car you’re driving.
  • Can’t I give permission for other people to drive my car? You can (and, of course, they can’t legally drive it without your permission) but it’s not as simple as that. They’ll need to have their own policy with DOC included, otherwise you’ll have to add them to your own insurance, or they’ll have to take out temporary insurance.
  • What about driving a borrowed van with DOC? Even if you have DOC on your policy, it won’t necessarily include driving a borrowed van. You’ll need to check what your policy says, and arrange alternative cover (adding you to the existing cover or taking out temporary insurance) if not.
  • Why would I need temporary insurance if I have DOC? DOC is meant for emergency use and only covers third-party damage to other vehicles. Temporary cover can be fully comprehensive for up to 30 days, so that would be preferable, for instance, if you’re sharing the driving on a road trip.

So who can be covered under DOC? You must normally be at least 25 and have fully comprehensive insurance for your own car. It’s also vital that the car you’re driving is fully covered — your DOC alone isn’t enough. Be aware, too, that people in certain jobs (e.g. in the motor trade) may not be eligible for DOC and will need to get temporary cover.

In the end, as with any type of insurance, Allied Claims would always urge you to read your policy carefully. That will tell you what you’re covered for — and what you’re not.