Can I insure a car that’s not registered to me?

You do not have to be the registered owner of a vehicle to insure it, but legally you'll need cover for any car you want to drive.

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There are many reasons why you might need to drive a car you don’t own. You might be staying with friends temporarily, for example, or you might be borrowing a relative’s car to run weekly errands.

Whatever the reason, it’s crucial that you have the right type of car insurance policy in place to ensure you’re driving legally.

Can I insure a car that I don’t own?

Yes, it is possible to insure a car that you don’t own but you’ll need to inform the insurer that you are neither the registered keeper of the vehicle, nor the owner.

Not all insurers will offer cover as the main driver if you are not the registered keeper of the car, but some will. However, the cost is likely to be much higher.

Can you legally drive someone else’s car?

To legally drive someone else’s car there are several options available to you:

Buy your own car insurance policy for the vehicle

As mentioned above, one option is to simply apply for car insurance in your own name to drive another car. Just be aware that you may need to shop around to find a suitable policy as some insurers will only allow you to drive someone else’s car if it belongs to:

  • A spouse, partner or civil partner
  • An employer
  • A parent
  • A car leasing company

Get added as a named driver

You can usually drive someone else’s car by being added as a named driver to their existing car insurance policy. Depending on your age and driving experience, and how this compares to the main driver, this may increase or reduce the cost of insurance premiums.

For example, if you’re a young driver looking to join your parent’s policy, it’s likely that the cost of the policy will go up as insurers will view you as more likely to be involved in an accident and more likely to make a claim. On the flipside, if a more experienced driver is added as a named driver on your policy, you may be able to enjoy lower premiums as a result.

Regardless of who is being added to the policy, it’s important that the main driver is the policyholder to avoid “fronting“, which could invalidate the car insurance policy altogether. If you don’t share the same address as the main driver, you may also find it more difficult to get added as a named driver.

What is Fronting?

Fronting occurs when an older, experienced driver, such as a parent, falsely claims to be the main driver when in reality, a named driver on the policy, such as their younger, inexperienced and high-risk child uses the car more frequently.

If you provide your insurance company with incorrect details to avoid paying higher premiums, your insurance could be invalidated. As fronting is illegal, you could also be prosecuted so avoid it at all costs.

Buy a short-term insurance policy

A short-term car insurance policy could be the answer if you know you’ll only need to drive somebody else’s car for a limited time – for example, if you’re staying with friends for a couple of weeks.
Policies typically last between one and 28 days, although some can offer cover for a few months. Premiums tend to be more expensive than for standard insurance but it can be more cost-effective if you only need insurance for a short time.

Check if your own insurance policy covers you to drive other cars

If you already have comprehensive car insurance on your own car, you might automatically be covered to drive other cars. Check your policy documents carefully to see whether driving other cars (DOC) cover is included – it will be third party cover only.

DOC cover is not as common as it used to be, but some car insurance providers will still offer it. This cover might only be available if:

  • You are over 25 years old
  • You have not hired the car
  • You don’t own the car
  • The car is covered by an existing insurance policy

If DOC cover is included, it is typically for emergencies only and not for regular driving.

Can I insure a car that’s already insured by someone else?

Yes, you can insure a car that’s already insured by another driver. This is known as non-owner car insurance. Just be aware that it can work out to be quite expensive, so you may be better off adding yourself as a named driver to the other person’s policy or taking out temporary cover.

How does non-owner car insurance work?

Non-owner car insurance works in the same way as standard car insurance, and it will cover you to drive the car under the same terms and conditions. However, it’s crucial that when you apply, you inform the insurer you do not own the car, and you are not the registered keeper.

How much does it cost to insure a car that’s not in my name?

Insuring a car that’s not in your name can cost more than a standard policy. This is because insurers tend to view you as higher risk and more likely to make a claim when driving a car that doesn’t belong to you.

Depending on factors such as your age, driving history and the type of car, you could look to pay anywhere between £100 and £200 more.

What kind of insurance do I need if I don’t own a car?

Continuous Law Enforcement (CIE) rules mean that all vehicles on the road need to be insured all the time.

However, it’s important to remember that it’s the driver that needs insuring, not the vehicle. So even if the owner of a car has insurance, that doesn’t mean someone else will automatically be insured to drive it.

The only options for legally being able to drive a car you don’t own are to take out your own car insurance policy on the vehicle (either full cover or temporary – unless you have DOC cover) or be added as a named driver to the owner’s policy.

If you’re caught driving without the right insurance in place, you could get a fine of £300 and six penalty points. If the case goes to court, you could get an unlimited fine and be banned from driving.

Can I get car insurance as the main driver if I’m not the registered keeper?

This will depend on the insurer. Some insurers will allow it, others won’t, so be sure to shop around and compare your options. If your insurer does allow it, it may be on the condition that the registered keeper is a spouse, partner or civil partner, a parent, or an employer or leasing company.

Bottom line

If you need to drive someone else’s car, there are several ways to do so. Which option is right for you will partly depend on how long you need to borrow the car for, what cover you already have in place and how much you’re prepared to spend. The key, as always, is to shop around and compare your options carefully to make sure you’re getting the best deal for you. Always check the small print to ensure you know exactly what you’re covered for.

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6 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    MichelleFebruary 25, 2019

    I have comprehensive insurance on my car. My son in law, who’s 43, also has comprehensive insurance on a lease car that my daughter drives. My question is, can I keep the insurance as it is and sell my car to my son in law as he and my daughter both need a car each for work but they have been quoted a ridiculous amount for both cars. My car is a Peugeot 308 reg 2013 and he continues to drive my car under his insurance.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaFebruary 27, 2019Staff

      Hi Michelle,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      When you sell a car, you would need to notify your insurer that you have sold the car. In most cases, you would need to cancel your car insurance and let your son-in-law buy a new policy. If you haven’t sold the car yet, your son-in-law can still drive the car, but since his name is not in the policy, there’s a possibility that the insurer will deny the claim if the car gets involved in an accident.

      It would be wise to speak to your insurer as this could be a case to case basis. They should be able to provide you a more specific and personalised answer.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  2. Default Gravatar
    KateFebruary 17, 2019

    Hi! I and my husband swapped cars. I am the registered keeper but my husband is the insured. I am as the second driver in policy. Is it legal or not?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaFebruary 20, 2019Staff

      Hi Kate,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      It is legal for you to drive the car of your husband. However, please note that car insurance is attached to the car, but not the person who purchased the insurance. This means that even if you drive the car, if it is insured, then, you should be covered.

      However, please note that this is the case in general. Depending on your terms and conditions, you may or you may not be covered. For this reason, it would be best to speak to your insurer to clarify your level of coverage.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  3. Default Gravatar
    JaneJanuary 11, 2019

    Hi,

    I live in London, UK and I am the registered keeper of a car.
    I would like to renew my insurance. Usually, I would become the named driver and my mum would be the second driver on the car.
    However, this year I will not be living in the UK and therefore I will not be using the car myself. Does the registered keeper of the car need to be the policyholder on the insurance?
    Would it be legal for the insurance policy to be on my mum’s name only?

    Thank you.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaJanuary 15, 2019Staff

      Hi Jane,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      As what our article mentioned, it is possible and it is legal for your mom to have the insurance named after her. However, accomplishing this might be difficult. However, if the insurer could see that your mom have an insurable interest in the car, you might be able to do this.

      Please review this guide for more information. You can then click on the “Compare now” green button above to start comparing your options.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

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