Can you insure a car you do not own?

Yes - but you will have to tell the insurer you are not the owner or registered keeper when you apply.

Some insurers will only offer you cover as the main driver if you are also the registered keeper of the car. However many will insure you, so shop around and check the policy documents before you apply.

Is the owner always the registered keeper?

No, the registered keeper is the person named on the registration certificate (DVLA V5C); this does not have to be the person who bought and paid for the car.

For example, if you drive a company car you may be listed as the registered keeper because you are the person using and looking after the vehicle, but the car is actually owned by the company you work for.

What cover can you get?

Most insurers will not restrict the level of cover you can get, so you can choose between a fully comprehensive and a third party fire and theft policy.

You may also be able to get third party only cover, but not all insurers offer this. This guide will help you decide which cover is right for you.

How to insure a car you do not own

When you apply for cover you will usually be asked to confirm who the owner and registered keeper of the vehicle is. Some insurers will only cover you to drive a car you do not own if it belongs to:

  • Your spouse, partner or civil partner

  • A parent

  • Your employer

  • A lease company

If you are not asked, read the terms carefully before you buy the policy. Most insurers will assume that the car belongs to you or a person on the above list and if that is not the case your cover will be invalid and any claim could be rejected.

How much does it cost?

It can cost more to get cover for a car you do not own because insurers may see you as a higher risk.

If you do not have a financial interest in the vehicle some companies assume you will take less care driving it, and therefore be more likely to make a claim.

It is worth shopping around and getting quotes, as some companies will not change their price based on who owns the vehicle.

Other ways to get cover

If you cannot get cover for a car you do not own you could:

  • Become the registered keeper: If you want to be the main driver you can amend the V5C registration document to show yourself as the keeper of the vehicle. The current registered keeper will need to request this change; find out how on the GOV.UK website.

  • Be added as a named driver: You can drive someone else's car if they add you to their policy as a named driver. Read this guide to learn more about adding named drivers to a policy.

  • Try a short term policy: If you only need to drive someone else's car for brief period a short term policy could be the answer. Here is what you need to know when looking for short term car insurance.

Check if you have cover to drive other cars

If you already have a fully comprehensive policy in place you may be covered to drive a car you do not own.

Cover to drive other cars is sometimes included in comprehensive policies, but not all, so check your paperwork carefully before you drive another car.

This type of insurance will only give you basic third party cover, and is often only available if:

  • You do not own the car

  • You have not hired the car

  • You are over a certain age, often 25 years old

This type of cover is only designed to be used in an emergency and not for regular driving. If you are unsure what counts as an emergency, contact your insurer and ask them before you drive.