Driving someone else's car: what you need to consider

Young woman attaches surfboard to the roof of the car

Driving someone else's car: what you need to consider

It's every new driver's dream: total freedom on the open road. Many people don't have their own car yet, so they borrow one instead. But do you have the right insurance in case something goes wrong?
Do you not have your own car? It's pretty practical to borrow one – from your friends, colleagues or parents. In order to make the drive a great experience, you should take some precautions in advance. 

Covered for occasional driving

You get distracted for a split second while parking and it happens: you hit the wall. Who will pay for the damage? It's worth­while taking out personal liability insurance – for example as part of a household insurance policy. When taking out the policy, make sure that you also include coverage for "Driving third-party motor vehicles." This addition to personal liability insurance is also called third-party driver's insurance. This is the best way of taking precautions. In the event of a loss, the insurance will cover most of the costs: the repairs, the deductible and any loss of bonus of the driver.

Not insured for regular driving

If you regularly drive a borrowed car, personal liability insurance with additional coverage for "Driving third-party motor vehicles" is no longer sufficient. Because if you regularly use the same car, which Zurich defines as more than 25 days per calendar year, you will not be covered. If you borrow cars from room­mates in the same household, third-party driver's insurance will not apply either, no matter how often you drive. 

This will quickly become expensive and complex

An accident with a borrowed vehicle can cost you dearly. Even the repair of a small scratch often costs several hundred Swiss francs. Did you know that the owner of the vehicle can sue you for the damage? Before you borrow a car, make sure you know how the vehicle is insured. 

  • If the owner of the vehicle has comprehensive insurance, it will pay for the damage to the car. The deductible and any loss of bonus will be at the owner's expense, but you will be liable. If you have third-party driver's insurance, it will pay for the financial damage.
  • If the owner of the vehicle only has third party liability or single vehicle accidental damage insurance, it will be much more expensive for them as well as for you as the person causing the accident. All the better if you have third-party driver's insurance, as it covers the cost of vehicle repairs.

However, you will not completely get away without costs: Despite good insurance coverage, you have to pay the deductible for third-party driver's insurance in the event of a loss. This is usually CHF 500. 

Staying safe on the road with a borrowed car

  • If you occasionally drive other people's vehicles, we recommend that you take out personal liability insurance with additional coverage for "Driving third-party motor vehicles." 
  • If you regularly use other people's vehicles, ask the owner in advance whether their vehicle has comprehensive insurance. 
  • If you rent a car, we recommend that you take out a rental and sharing vehicles insurance with excess coverage for rental cars. Personal liability insurance and additional coverage for "Driving third-party motor vehicles" do not cover damage to rental cars.

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