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Driving Another Vehicle Without Permission

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 21 Apr 2018 | comments*Discuss
Vehicle Owner's Permission The Law

Taking another person's vehicle without their consent constitutes theft and the law is very clear on this subject. Taking a vehicle and removing it from its designated owner's property is a criminal offence and whether it's a friend or family member's vehicle the police will look upon the matter as theft and will prosecute accordingly.


If you borrow another person's vehicle you need to check that you are covered by either their insurance, or your own. If you have Fully Comprehensive Insurance, you are often covered to drive someone else's vehicle (with their permission). While you're driving their car, you will normally only be insured for 3rd party injury, fire or theft. So if you damage the owner's vehicle and it's your fault, you'll probably have to pay for it out of your own pocket.

It's really easy for the police to check whether a vehicle is insured and to discover the names of the policy holders. DVLA (Driver and vehicle licensing authority) records are linked into the UK's database of insured vehicles - the Motor Insurance Database or MID. This means that a number plate check run by a police officer will soon reveal whether that vehicle is insured and who the policy holder is. If you are driving the car on your own insurance (with the owner's permission), they will run a number plate check on your own vehicle to ensure that you hold a comprehensive policy which covers you to drive another vehicle with the owner's permssion.

Driving Without Insurance

If you do not have the owner's permission to drive their vehicle, you are effectively driving without insurance. If you are involved in an accident where either vehicle is damaged - there will be no means of payment for repair, replacement or costs related to an injury/time off work etc. You may incur 6 to 8 penalty points on your licence for 'using a vehicle uninsured against 3rd party risks'

Taking and Driving Away

If you need to borrow another person's vehicle you must seek their permission first. In England alone during the course of a year there are hundreds of reported car thefts which turn out to be no more than someone borrowing a vehicle without making sufficient enough attempts to notify the owner.

Speeding in Another Person's Vehicle

If you are driving another person's vehicle and you are caught on a speed camera breaking the speed limit then the registered owner of the vehicle will be the one that receives a fixed penalty notice. It will be the vehicle owner's responsibility to prove that someone else was driving the vehicle at the time.

If you do - for any reason - allow another person to use your vehicle make sure you keep a record of when they did so and for what purpose. It is also recommended that you keep all spare sets of keys in a place where only you would know to find them and never tell anyone the details of immobiliser codes or security alarms on your vehicle.

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I've just been pulled over driving my boyfriends car because my dog had jumped into my lap literally 400 yards from my front door (she gets excited when she knows where she is). Initially they cautioned me with a £100 fine and 3pts then checked insurance... I was through a broker which allowed me (I'm 26) to drive any car fully comp. after 50 mins it came back my insurance is invalid and still not sure what's happened and they have to send report into the court. Will he get points? They didn't seize the car and allowed me to move it to park outside my home.
Akai23 - 21-Apr-18 @ 2:30 PM
My boyfriend suffers with a lot of mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression, so one morning I woke up and my car wasn't outside my house in its usual place and my boyfriend was missing as well. I waited until the evening for him to return but he still wasn't back and I started to panic as I know he suffers with panic attacks and anxiety he doesn't know what he's doing sometimes. I rang the police and filed a missing persons report but they had to file a crime report for the car as well. After a couple of days he got in contact with me and was ok but needs mental help, and i found the car. I don't want him to get into trouble, I didn't do a statement and there is no evidence of him actually taking the car, or driving it will he go to prison? Or will the police give him a warning? He has got convictions on his criminal record and I'm worried because of his past that they will send him to prison? Any advice?
Lizzie - 3-Jan-18 @ 8:56 PM
Hi, I was on holiday while my car was taken without my consent, by drunk person, who then had an accident. People who he has crashed into now claiming from my insurance, as I was involved, when I have my statement in the Police saying, that permission wasn't given and I wasn't aware of this until it happened. but then my insurance saying, that I had to inform Police that car was stolen and inform them about theft, when it wasn't stolen and all damage that is done to my car is covered by him. Can people claim from my insurance under my name after this situation?
ginte - 5-Oct-17 @ 1:59 PM
Mel - Your Question:
I left my keys in my car and a neighbour took it and got pulled over and got it impounded. Can I file charges on him

Our Response:
Did you report it as stolen? If so the police will take action.
YourDrivingLicence - 3-Oct-17 @ 11:26 AM
I left my keys in my car and a neighbour took it and got pulled over and got it impounded. Can i file charges on him
Mel - 30-Sep-17 @ 11:35 PM
Our friend visited us from Germany and he had driven our car without our consent as we were at work and he was staying at our house and in the space of 4 days he was caught twice speeding at 35mph on a 30mph zone. However, he had admitted and when we received a letter regarding the speeding offence, we spent back with the alleged driver at the time, but for the second offence we didn't receive anything to respond too. A couple of months later we received a letter saying he had failed to respond and that we are to appear in court. The alleged driver he back in Germany and he has written a letter taking responsibility and to prove this he has sent a copy of his passport. My question is firstly will the court accept his letter of responsibility and who will be fined and given points? will it be us since the vehicle is registered in our name...
Jb - 24-Aug-17 @ 3:04 PM
My son has a car that is on hp the ex girl freind was paying monthly in to his account for direct debt to go hp company for him as he is aboard working had made agreement she could use car for that reason she has now missed payments and he wants car returned asap she won't return his car what can we do about this shes only hired from him really
Pistols - 7-Sep-16 @ 9:50 PM
@Shaz. Why didn't you say you didn't know who the driver was when you received the NIP?
YourDrivingLicence - 22-Jun-15 @ 2:02 PM
I went on holiday and while I was away my brothers friend came to my house and drove my car without my consent and got a speeding fine the police are now giving me 6 points as I did not tell them who used the car? I's there any mitigating circumstances in my defence? Thanks
shaz - 17-Jun-15 @ 6:18 AM
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