What? Pay For Car Insurance???

You need to drive a car that doesn't belong to you for a short time and as usual you don't want to spend any money. So how do you go about it? The first thing to bear in mind is that you may well be insured already the driving someone else's car so if you've got an insurance policy on your own vehicle get it out and have a look at the small print. You may well find that there is a paragraph on it saying something like 'providing the above vehicle is still owned and insured under this policy the policy holder may also drive, subject to the owner's permission, any other motorcar which does not belong to him/her or is not hired to him/her under a hire purchase agreement'

However; you will also probably see underneath a list of exclusions such as 'please note that cover is limited to third party only. This cover does not extend to vans, motorcycles, or any other type of motor vehicle.

What this means of course is that, yes, you are insured as far as the law requires you to be. You have to bear in mind though that any damage that you cause to the car you're driving is not covered by the insurance, so if you wreck your mates car you're either going to have to pay for it yourself or find yourself a new mate. If it's a motorbike, three wheeler or light van forget about it, you will be covered at all. You might be wanting to test drive a car that you may want to buy. If you go to a reputable dealer there's a fair chance that they will have insurance cover available for anyone who drives their cars provided that trade plates are attached, or they may be able to organise a free policy for you through an insurance company or broker that they have a special relationship with. Sometimes this cover can be extended to as much as a month if you actually buy the car; this isn't altruism on anyone's part, because you will be expected to fill in a proposal form for a full year's cover and receive a quotation. Normally though you not under any obligation to accept the quotation although you will be put under some moral pressure to do so. These guys are in business to make money, not to do you any favours after all.

There is one point you got to bear in mind at all times; it is your responsibility to make sure that when you go out onto the road in a car, you must be absolutely certain that you are in fact insured. If the salesman swears on his mother's life that his insurance policy covers you, and it doesn't, if you get caught by the law you will still almost certainly be prosecuted and if you are prosecuted you will be convicted because not knowing that you were uninsured is no defence, and it is almost certain that you will still receive a hefty fine and penalty points on your licence.

If you're in any doubt at all then take out a short-term policy with comprehensive cover so that you not only comply with the law but you will have something to fall back on if you accidentally damage the vehicle and have to pay for repairs. Since you are a miser that in the long-term this will be far away the cheapest option for you! Drive cheaply.