The mistake that could leave you with a £271 fine plus a ban from driving

Millions of us often do it without giving it a second thought, but if you’re caught, you could be left with a hefty fine and a ban from driving.

The offence? The perhaps seemingly innocent one of loaning your car to a friend. If that person doesn’t have the right insurance to drive the car, you as the owner may be convicted of an IN 12 offence, or one that means you have colluded in the procuring of a vehicle “uninsured against third party risks.”

The head of one big motoring insurance provider has reminded drivers of the risks of lending your car for even the briefest of journeys, such as a quick trip to the shops. Yet it’s surprising how many of us do this. And, of course, whether the error is intentional or not, it’s still your responsibility to be sure that anyone who gets behind the wheel of your vehicle is covered for doing so.

One set of recent statistics shows that of the estimated five million car owners who’ve lent out their motor in the last year, some 650,000 did not check about insurance first.

Even with fully comprehensive policies allowing you to drive others’ cars for a limited time, under 25s may well not be included while some people are often excluded based on their job – for example, if they are in the motor trade and so need motor trade insurance.

Even if you are covered by a policy behind the wheel of someone else’s car, that’s likely to be third party cover only. Do very thorough policy checks before allowing someone behind the wheel of your car – and remember you can add a friend who has a clean licence on your policy as a temporary named motorist for a nominal charge and enjoy comprehensive cover. The alternative is potentially so much worse.