Drivers could be taking a big risk with their car insurance by making a simple mistake and misunderstanding a once commonly held clause.
The ‘driving other cars’ extension was once an option baked into most comprehensive car insurance premiums which let a motorist with this type of cover use another person’s car and have third party insurance.
However, over the past few years insurers have been quietly removing the clause from their policies with just a few now offered and those that do, do so very heavily caveated.
Motorists in Britain are seemingly being caught out by this change assuming they are still sufficiently covered to drive other cars.
However, in 2018 the MIB’s Police Helpline shows us that MIB helped to seize 2,080 vehicles for being uninsured as a result of driving someone else’s vehicle.
In Q1 of this year, 497 vehicles have been seized under these conditions.
Please note that this is the number of vehicles that MIB has seen directly seized through working with the police on its helpline.
Alan Inskip, CEO of temporary motor insurance provider Tempcover explains how the change will impact drivers.
“The move away from fully comprehensive cover drive another car, a fairly seismic shift that will certainly impact thousands of drivers was not exactly signposted for all to see though,” he said.
He added that insurers have not been upfront with motorists which could be contributing to their cars to be seized.
“Given that the decision to remove, or at least reduce cover to drive another car was made on an insurer by insurer basis, it’s very unlikely that there was ever going to be one big announcement – that being said, very few insurers have come forward and been open with customers about how that extension has changed and what is now actually covered, if anything.”
The policies that are offering the extension are, however, doing so with heavy restrictions.
Alan continued: “While you’re very unlikely to find out if you are covered to drive other cars under your policy before buying the policy, what you can find, if you search hard enough, is the growing number of restrictions that insurers are putting on the clause.
“M&S car insurance, for example, has no fewer than 19 restrictions on their driving other cars extension, SwiftCover have at least 17, roughly the same number of restrictions that most of the biggest insurers put in place for the driving other cars extension.
“The most common restrictions are firstly the age of the driver. If you’re aged under 25, good luck getting this extension on your policy as almost none of the top insurance providers will offer cover for young drivers to drive another car.
“Big parent companies like Aviva, AXA and Admiral and their subsidiaries like SwiftCover, Bell, and Elephant have all restricted the driving other cars clause so that drivers under the age of 25 won’t be insured.”
There are also some possibly costly ramifications that misunderstanding this policy can bring.
“If you were to borrow a car from a friend or family member or needed to use their car in an emergency and had an accident when driving that car, you and the vehicle owner could be left with a huge repair bill for the car, plus you’d lose your No Claims Discount.
“Many drivers would assume that their fully comprehensive cover would extend to driving other cars but in almost all cases, this is just not the way.”