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You may be driving without insurance – and have no idea

Written by: Danielle Levy
Last year, more than 1,500 vehicles were seized after motorists mistakenly assumed they were covered to drive another vehicle, but were in fact not insured at all.

The Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) has warned that people often mistakenly assume they have a ‘driving other cars’ (DOC) extension on their fully comprehensive insurance policy. However, the DOC extension is only valid if you are the policy holder on the vehicle rather than a named driver on someone else’s car.

Research from temporary car insurance provider Tempcover has found that many insurers have been removing DOC clauses in recent years because they have been abused by motorists trying to dodge rising premiums.

Today, DOC clauses are unlikely to be included in insurance policies, Tempcover points out. What’s more, drivers are only able to see if they are covered to drive other cars after they have purchased the insurance policy and can check the certificate of insurance.

If a policy is purchased via a price comparison website, Tempcover says it is very difficult to check whether this forms part of the cover.

M&S car insurance, for example, has 19 restrictions on its DOC extension, while SwiftCover has 17 – in line with many of the big insurers, Tempcover said.

Likewise, drivers under the age of 25 face restricted DOC clauses under many of the major insurers.

Tempcover also pointed out that where a DOC clause is included it may be restricted to ‘third party only’. This means that 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 the repair bill for the car, and the prospect of losing your ‘No Claims Discount’.

Alan Inskip, CEO of Tempcover said: “Drivers should check the wording on their certificate of insurance carefully before driving a friend or family members car as they could very well be excluded from doing so.  Wrongly assuming you’re covered could result in a hefty fine, points on your licence and even having the vehicle taken away and destroyed.”

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