Drivers have regularly hopped in and out of each other’s cars for convenience, assuming their own insurance covers them for every eventuality. The reality is that over recent years it has been found that most insurers have quietly scrapped the “driving other cars” extension within motor policies, meaning that thousands of motorists may have been unknowingly breaking the law and putting their cars at risk of being instantly seized by the police.
Midlands-based Insurance Broker, Cowens, is warning drivers of these small changes to motor insurance policies. Even when DOC (driving other cars) extensions are included, there could be restrictions.
Official research revealed that over 3,000 vehicles were seized between 2016 and 2018 after police found that the driver was not properly covered – many of whom thought they were automatically insured as they had their own policies in place.
Michelle Ramsey, Fleet Broker at Cowens, said: “It is certainly true that most insurers, particularly personal lines insurers, have deleted the benefit of driving other vehicles altogether over the past few years.
“It was always the intention that DOC extensions were only included purely to cover emergency situations and not for day-to-day use by drivers.
“Even when readily available, DOC extensions generally come with restrictions that drivers may not be familiar with. One I recall was that it excluded driving other vehicles owned by family members residing at the same address!”
For drivers under the age of 25, almost all motor insurance policies rule out driving other cars, but this certainly does not mean that the policies of over 25s automatically include the extension.
Michelle continued: “Generally speaking, for anyone connected to the motor trade, on a personal lines policy, cover would be restricted to SDP (social, domestic and pleasure) use and driving other vehicles would be excluded altogether. If you are unsure of any extensions within your policy, always consult an expert. An insurance broker will go through your policy with a fine toothcomb and clarify any questions you may have, to greatly reduce the risk of unknowingly committing a crime.
To find out more about the changes to car insurance, or for advice on your own policy, contact Cowens on firstname.lastname@example.org.