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Non-owner car insurance

Can you insure a car you don’t own?

You don’t have to own a car to get yourself insured on it – but you do need the owner’s permission!

By Jessica Bown

Published: 25 August 2020

Driving a car

Looking for car insurance?

If you don’t have a car – and sometimes even if you do – it can be useful to be able to drive someone else’s vehicle from time to time.

You might need to use your elderly relative’s car to do their weekly shop, or just want the freedom of having access to a set of wheels while you’re staying with friends.

Whatever the reason, there are several ways to find cheap car insurance for a car you don’t own – even if you’re not the registered keeper.

Can I insure a car I don’t own?

Yes, you can take out a separate car insurance policy on someone else’s car. Just tell the insurer you’re not the owner or the registered keeper of the vehicle when you apply. It’s worth shopping around though, as not all companies will sell you main driver car insurance if you’re not named on the car’s DVLA registration certificate (DVLA V5C).

Other options for insuring a car you don’t own include taking out a short-term car insurance policy, and adding yourself as a named driver on the vehicle owner’s existing insurance policy.

If you already have a fully comprehensive car insurance policy, some insurers may grant you third-party cover to drive other people’s cars under certain conditions.

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

In the UK, car insurance for a vehicle you don’t own often costs more than a standard policy because insurers think you’re more likely to make a claim if you’re driving a car that’s not yours.

But not all insurers charge you more to insure someone else’s car, so it’s worth comparing non-owner car insurance quotes from different insurance companies before taking out a policy.

How does non-owner car insurance work?

Non-owner car insurance covers you to drive the car named in the policy, according to the insurer’s terms and conditions. The only difference between taking out standard car insurance and a policy of this kind is that you have to tell the provider you’re not the car’s owner or registered keeper when you apply.

However, if you only need to be insured to drive someone else’s car for a short time, a short-term car insurance policy lasting for a few weeks or months will often prove a cheaper option. If the vehicle owner is happy to do so, being added to his or her insurance as a named driver is also often a cheaper alterative.

And if you already have fully comprehensive car insurance, it’s worth checking the terms to see if your policy includes third-party cover for you to drive other cars occasionally – although this benefit is less common than it was.

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

Yes, you can take out an insurance policy on a car that’s already insured by someone else. In the UK, this type of cover is known as non-owner car insurance. However, where possible, it’s usually cheaper to add yourself to the car owner’s existing policy as a named driver.

Can I always get car insurance for a car I don’t own?

In some situations, you may find it hard to take out a separate car insurance policy to drive someone else’s car. That’s because certain providers only allow you to take out car insurance as the main driver if you’re also the registered keeper.

There will usually be some way to insure yourself on a car you don’t own – even if this involves paying to add yourself to the owner’s insurance policy.

Can someone else get insured on my car?

Yes, someone else can take out insurance to drive your car without being the owner or registered keeper. However, many insurers will only allow those with a defined relationship to you to take out a separate policy on your car. People who could qualify under these terms include your spouse or partner, your parent, your employer, and your leasing company.

If you want someone else insured on your car, you can also add him or her to your policy as a named driver, or additional driver. There will usually be a charge to do so, although in some cases adding a more experienced named driver can cut the cost of car insurance. If the other person has an accident in your car, you also risk losing your no-claims bonus.

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

Some insurers will only insure a car’s registered keeper as its main driver, so check the policy terms carefully before buying if this is not the case.

However, you don’t have to own a car to be its registered keeper, which is whoever’s named on the DVLA registration certificate (DVLA V5C). You could, for example, be the registered keeper of the car that comes with your job.

Do I always need to take out insurance to drive a car I don’t own?

Fully comprehensive car insurance policies sometimes include basic third-party cover to drive other people’s cars. So if you have one, you might not need separate insurance to make the odd trip in a car you don’t own. Just be sure to check your policy carefully, as this benefit is by no means guaranteed.

Even if your policy does include this type of third-party cover, it’s only usually valid if you don’t own the car, you’ve not hired the car, and you meet the insurer’s minimum age requirement – usually 25. If you have an accident, it will also only cover damage to other people’s property – and may only pay out if you can prove you don’t regularly drive the car.

So to be properly protected when driving someone else’s car in the UK, a non-owner car insurance policy is a better bet.