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Lending your car to others – why it’s not a good idea

Lending your car to a friend or relative may seem like the nice thing to do, but it could end up landing both of you in court facing fines of up to £5,000 and up to 8 penalty points. That’s because many people assume that their friends and family are insured to drive their vehicle on the owner’s car insurance policy when, in fact, that is not always true.

Your car insurance may not cover other drivers

The biggest misconception is that having your own car insurance will cover you for driving any other vehicle. However, this is not automatically the case, with many policies offering no cover whatsoever for vehicles other than the main vehicle insured. In some cases, your own car insurance will provide third party cover for another vehicle (if you have the owner’s permission), but even this is a huge risk. Although you are legally covered, if the car is involved in an accident that is your fault, then there will be no payout to compensate the owner of the vehicle you have borrowed.

It’s not just a problem for the other driver

Of course, many people don’t even worry whether the driver is insured or not when lending out their car, not realising that this is illegal for both the driver and the owner. If you knowingly allow your car to be driven without insurance, then you are as guilty as the actual driver in the eyes of the law. It is your car and therefore your responsibility to ensure that it is driven legally.
Even people who know the law and understand the dangers of driving without insurance, as well as the risks to their own licence and their vehicle itself, still lend to friends without cover. Research shows that no less than 44% of drivers would be prepared to lend their car to a friend even if they knew that they were not insured – a truly staggering statistic.

A special cautionary note for students and van drivers

Students going to university have a lot of possessions and well-meaning parents, relatives or friends with a van have been lending their vehicle to students to move into halls or digs. The extra space is great, but driving without van insurance is bad news for the student driver, whose future car insurance premiums will be astronomically high, and for the van owner, who may find their livelihood at risk if they lose their licence and depend on their van for work.

Lending legally – it’s not that hard

Lending your car to a friend or relative safely and legally is so easy. You can always add an additional driver to your car insurance or van insurance policy, either permanently, or just for a short period of time to cover a holiday or special event. It takes just a few minutes and costs far less than you might think – especially when you compare it to a £5,000 fine, 8 points on your licence and the potential loss of your vehicle. So why risk it? Cover it, with a quick call to your insurer and make sure your friend, your car and your licence get the protection they deserve.

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