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Can You Insure a Car You Don’t Own?

Written by, Marija Petkova

Updated September, 16, 2022

Car insurance is a legal requirement in the UK. You can’t drive a car on UK roads without at least a basic insurance policy. 

But, can you insure a car you don’t own, and if so, how?

Let’s find out.

Can You Insure a Car You Don’t Own?

The short answer is yes – you can insure someone else’s car.

But, insuring a car, you don’t own will likely require shopping around for a good deal. There are insurance providers that won’t agree to sell you car insurance if you’re not the main driver or if your name is not on the car’s DVLA registration certificate (V5C). 

When it comes to taking out insurance for someone else’s vehicle, there are several options you can choose from. 

For example, you can take out a short-term car insurance policy or add yourself as a named driver on an existing insurance policy. Some insurers may also give you third-party cover to drive other people’s vehicles under certain conditions if you already have comprehensive car insurance.

Did you know? You can’t drive on UK roads without at least a third-party cover.

How Does Non-Owner Car Insurance Work in The UK?

Car insurance for another person’s car works in the same way as any other car insurance – the level of coverage depends on the policy you choose.

The process of insuring someone else’s car is also the same, but the insurer has to know that they’re offering a policy to someone that is not the registered keeper of the vehicle.

Did you know? The only time when you don’t need car insurance is when your vehicle is declared as SORN. Here’s how you can get your car back on the road after SORN.

How To Get Insured on Someone Else’s Car

There are several ways you can insure a car you don’t own.

Take out car insurance for a non owner

You can take a separate insurance policy for a car that you don’t own as long as you inform the insurer that you’re not the registered keeper or the owner of the vehicle. 

Note that it’s not the cheapest way to insure a car, and some car insurance companies may require you to have a defined relationship with the main driver or registered keeper (ex. spouse, partner, parent, leasing company, or employer). 

Add yourself as the named driver to the policyholder’s existing insurance

You can also get insured on someone else’s car insurance policy. Policyholders usually add their child, partner, or friends who often use their car to their existing cover. 

Certain insurance companies charge a small admin fee for the service. Also, depending on which company you choose, it might be an issue if you don’t live at the same address as the policyholder.

The good news is this is the cheapest way to get insurance on another person’s car. The downside is an inexperienced driver can drive up the price of the premiums, and you may risk losing your no-claims bonus if they get into an accident.

Worth noting: When trying to get this type of insurance, you’ll need to make sure that you don’t inadvertently break the law. Fronting is a type of insurance fraud where the person listed as the car’s main driver is not the person that does most of the driving. It usually happens when inexperienced drivers use a family member or a friend to get access to cheaper insurance policies. 

Buy a temporary car insurance policy

Instead of taking a full, separate car insurance policy, you can save some money by purchasing a temporary policy. These usually last between 1-28 days, but some providers offer policies that will cover you for up to 3 months.

This is an ideal option if, for example, you’re house-sitting for the owner of the car.

Get ‘Driving Other Cars’ (DOC) cover

If you have a fully comprehensive car insurance policy, you might also have a ‘Driving Other Cars’ cover. 

This type of insurance offers third-party insurance coverage and will cover you if you don’t own the car and if you’re at least 25 years old.  

Looking to cover uninsured losses? Read our guide on motor legal protection cover.

What’s The Difference Between a Registered Keeper, Legal Owner, Named Driver, and Main Driver?

Here’s what each term means: 

  • A registered keeper is an individual whose name is on the DVLA registration certificate. They’re responsible for maintaining the vehicle, including paying taxes, obtaining MOTs, and paying for speeding tickets.
  • The legal owner is the person who owns the vehicle.
  • A named driver is someone who is insured to get the same cover level as the main driver.
  • The main driver is the person who does most of the driving. 

How Do I Check If a Car Is Insured?

To check if a car is insured, you can visit the Motor Insurance Database’s website and enter the vehicle’s registration number in the search box.  

What’s The Penalty For Driving Without Insurance in The UK?

If you’re caught driving without insurance, or you don’t have the correct cover, you’ll be fined £300 and 6 penalty points. You can end up paying much more if the case goes to court (In this article, we’ve covered the maximum penalty for driving uninsured).

Under certain circumstances, the police can even seize and/or destroy the vehicle. In 2019, around 137,410 uninsured vehicles were seized.

Bottom Line

Getting car insurance for your own vehicle is the same as buying a non owners car insurance, but it can sometimes be more expensive, and you’d have to meet certain eligibility criteria. If you’re looking to get insurance for a car that you’ll temporarily drive, then your best option is temporary car insurance, which can usually cover you for up to 28 days.

Frequently Asked Questions And Their Answers

Can I insure my wife’s car in my name?

You should be able to add anyone as a named driver to your insurance policy. Some insurers will allow this only if you have a defined relationship with the policyholder.

Does the main driver have to be the registered keeper?

The main driver of the vehicle does not have to be its registered keeper. However, some companies will only insure you as the main driver if you’re also the owner or the registered keeper.

Can someone else drive my car insurance?

Anyone can drive your car as long as they have your permission and the appropriate insurance.

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

You don’t technically need insurance on someone else’s car if you have their permission to drive it and their insurance policy covers when someone other than the main driver is driving the car.

Can you insure a car you don’t own?

You can insure a car that’s not yours but you will have to inform the car insurance provider that you are not the registered keeper or the owner of the vehicle.

My name is Marija, and I'm a financial writer at DontDisappointMe. Although finance might not be everyone's cup of tea, my 10+ years of working in one of the biggest banks in my country, and my interest in extensive research on everything finance/investment-related, have made me somewhat of an expert in the field (if I do say so myself). No longer having the passion to work in a corporate setting, I decided that I couldn't let all of this knowledge go to waste so I started writing. And, here I am! Today I try to share my knowledge with my audience in the hopes of making this topic as simple and interesting as possible. In my leisure time, I like spending time with my family and travelling to new locations.