After a night out on the town or in the middle of a long road trip, it can be tempting to have one of your friends or family members take the wheel of your car and do a bit of the driving for you. While, practically speaking, this isn’t a bad idea, it’s worth thinking about the consequences of putting someone else behind the wheel when they’re not on your insurance

car accident

Now, learning how to work within the bounds of DOC, or “driving other cars,” is difficult. However, there are steps you can take to ensure that a friend can drive your car without worrying about additional consequences. The process of insuring your car in your friends’ hands is easier than you think.

Driving other cars (DOC)

What is “driving other cars” in insurance terms? DOC defines a circumstance wherein someone who is not covered by the car owner’s insurance takes control of the car. This is done by the behest of the owner or someone else covered by the owner’s insurance.

DOC coverage exists within broad owner coverage, but it typically remains limited to either spouses or children. Friends, as such, or extended family members who drive other people’s cars need to check with the owner. Is the owner covered, should an accident or altercation happen while someone else is driving their car?

car accident

Car sharing: the limitations

DOC used to be included in comprehensive policies that people were able to sign up for upon the procuring of their car. More recently, though, insurers have made DOC a side option or eliminated it entirely from their comprehensive policies. 

It is most frequently the case that you’ll only receive an offer for DOC is you ask about it, and you will have to pay extra on your policy in order to make use of that coverage. Naturally, this is a way for insurers to bring in more money through their policies, but it puts you and your friends in an awkward position when it comes to ride sharing.

Partner car-share

This lessening of DOC coverage can also mean that your spouse might find themselves in trouble should they be in an accident or altercation while driving your car. While this availability of coverage will vary based on your provider and plan, you need to check the fine print upon your signing in order to see whether or not the coverage you choose will extend to your partner while they drive your car.

insurance claim form

Age limitations

It is also extremely important to note the DOC policy surrounding anyone under the age of 25. Drivers under 25 already know that their insurance is going to be more expensive, as the majority of insurance providers want to have more coverage available for younger and less experienced drivers who may be prone to reckless behaviour. As such, DOC policies are rarely extended to anyone under the age of 25.

Car sharing consequences

What kind of trouble might you find yourself in if you or someone else gets caught driving a car without being covered by said car’s insurance? The consequences vary. Accidents, naturally, will see more significant consequences placed on the driver found at fault, ranging from significant fines to jail time. And yet, DOC remains more common than you might believe. 

In the UK alone, officers have made almost 4,000 calls reporting on DOC violations and clauses which exist in available insurance policies. As such, the cars of 1,500 people have been taken away because drivers and their friends didn’t understand the complexities of the policies they had registered for.

insurance form

DOC solutions: temporary car insurance

How, then, can you work around a complicated DOC policy when trying to plan a road trip or night out with your friends? One solution can be found through temporary car insurance.

Temporary car insurance, as arranged through your provider, offers 1 to 28 day coverage to the driver of your choice. This coverage is typically easier to procure than a change to your overall insurance policy, and it protects both you, as a car owner, and any of the friends or family members who might drive your car from legal consequences of violating a DOC agreement.

In order to procure temporary car insurance, you’ll need to provide the name of the person you’d like to cover, their driving history, and the details of the car you’re looking to insure. Once you’ve given that information to your provider and DOC temporary car insurance has been arranged, you’ll be able to head off on any adventure you like without having to worry about the legal consequences of overlooking a note in your policy.  

So, the next time you plan to offer your friend the wheel, do a bit of research in advance. DOC is an under-noted part of most insurance policies these days, and you’ll need to consider it, its consequences, and its coverage carefully before letting someone else take the wheel of your car.