As insurers axe 'driving other cars' cover, motorists risk inadvertently driving without insurance

Millions of drivers are under threat as UK insurers prepare to remove 'Driving other Cars' (DOC) cover from full comprehensive policies.

The move will potentially leave motorists at risk of unintentionally driving without insurance.

Norwich Union (NU) and brand partners RAC and Asda are to phase out the cover over the coming months, with all policies likely to omit the benefit by the end of the year.

Royal & SunAlliance, Allianz Cornhill and AXA are also carefully considering the move and may be looking to follow suit.

DOC offers policyholders third party cover when driving another vehicle and is currently a feature of virtually every comprehensive policy on the market.

The removal of DOC was a recommendation of the Greenaway report because it makes it hard for police and authorities to check a driver's insurance details on the Motor Insurers Database (MID).

The problem is likely to become more acute with the introduction of automatic number plate recognition for insured cars in October.

Craig Martin, motor product manager at NU, said: "This is the right thing to do and it has the full support of the police, the government and the MID. Not only does DOC make the MID impractical, but it is also widely abused.

"[DOC] was initially intended for emergencies, but policyholders are using it as an alternative to getting cover on a second, more powerful car."

But the RBSI stable of insurers, which includes Direct Line, Churchill and Tesco, will continue to offer DOC because it claims the move will potentially leave even more drivers uninsured.

A Direct Line spokeswoman said: "Policyholders have come to expect [DOC] cover. Unless the industry launches a major communications plan telling motorists it no longer exists they will unwittingly drive uninsured, increasing the problem."

The Consumers' Association has also expressed concerns over the issue of adequately communicating to policyholders any changes to cover.

The ABI is currently undertaking research into the costs and benefits of DOC cover.

But it is unlikely to demand industry-wide removal due to rules on competition, making DOC a potential future battleground for insurers.