We use cookies to allow us and selected partners to improve your experience and our advertising. By continuing to browse you consent to our use of cookies. You can understand more and change your cookies preferences here.


When you click on a retailer link on our site, we may earn affiliate commission to help fund our not-for-profit mission.Find out more.

23 Feb 2022

5 things your car insurance policy might not cover

Discover whether your insurance policy is riddled with potholes

When searching for car insurance your main focus is likely to be finding the cheapest price, but it's important to make sure your new policy isn't riddled with potholes that could cost you money further down the road.

We analysed 49 car insurance policies from 34 insurers and found that the breadth of coverage offered varies significantly, with many insurers' standard policies providing no or low cover for certain types of claims.

You can find the best and worst car insurance policies here - or read on to find out about the rarest features of car insurance policies and how to find the best deal.

1. Driving other cars

The rarest feature offered by insurers is guaranteed driving other cars (DOC) cover. This type of cover is useful if, in a pinch, you needed to quickly borrow a friend's car.

Almost all the policies we reviewed (46 out of 49) have a 'driving other cars' section, but with the sole exception of NFU Mutual's car insurance, it isn't automatically accessible to all policyholders.

Drivers of certain ages (usually under 25) are generally excluded from this form of cover, as well as those in certain occupations - and in more than a third of policies (37%), it only applies in emergencies.

So before making that innocuous trip to the shops, check carefully that you have suitable cover on your policy schedule.

Be more money savvy

Get a firmer grip on your finances with the expert tips in our Money newsletter – it's free weekly.

This newsletter delivers free money-related content, along with other information about Which? Group products and services. Unsubscribe whenever you want. Your data will be processed in accordance with our Privacy policy

2. Personal belongings cover

Personal belongings cover, which helps you repair or replace loose items damaged in or stolen from your car, was also missing from many policies.

Almost all policies contain some cover (ranging from £100-£2,000), but the catch is that not all belongings are included.

We found just two policies protecting cash and documents, and only three covering credit cards. Just over half (57%), meanwhile, exclude mobile phones.

You may have better luck hedging your bets on personal possessions cover via your home insurer, or taking out specialist gadget insurance.

3. Misfuelling cover

Seven in 10 policies (69%) offer help in the event you fill your petrol tank with diesel, or vice versa

Only one in five (20%) will assist with both draining the tank and repairing the engine, however. Most policies offer one or the other but not both.

4. Courtesy car cover

Almost all policies have some provision for this as standard, but only a fifth offer a temporary replacement vehicle if yours is stolen.

Similarly, only a fifth of policies provide a courtesy car if your car is written off.

Fortunately, most insurers have options to upgrade replacement vehicle provision to make it more comprehensive.

5. Legal expenses cover

Legal expenses insurance covers costs such as taking legal action against a third party for negligence, pursuing them for costs, or defending accusations made against you.

Legal expenses cover is a priority for many Which? members, but it could also prove to be toothless in certain scenarios.

Only a quarter of policies (12 out of 49) will pay for you to recover illegal clamping or towing fees, while just three in 10 (15 out of 49) will help you deal with legal costs related to your car's licence plate being cloned.

The 10 rarest elements of car insurance policies

The table below shows the elements of cover most commonly omitted from car insurance policies

RankArea of coveragePercentage of policies
1Guaranteed cover for driving other cars2%
2Personal belongings - cash4%
3Personal belongings - documents4%
4Personal belongings - credit cards6%
5Misfuelling (fuel drainage and engine damage)18%
6Legal expenses (as standard)20%
7Replacement vehicle (total loss as standard)20%

Source: Based on a December 2021 Which? survey of 34 insurers about the cover offered by 49 of their policies.

Which? car insurance reviews

Before buying a policy, it's important to carefully check the policy document to be sure you're purchasing the cover you expect.

We're here to help you find an insurer that offers the right policy for you. For our annual car insurance reviews, we've compared 73 areas of policies from 34 providers to help you find the best deal.

We've also got insurer ratings from customers who've recently made a claim.

Our full reviews are available to Which? members. If you're not already a member, join Which? and get full access to these results and all our reviews.

Get a cheap deal on your car insurance

Shopping around for the best deal could potentially save you hundreds of pounds on your car insurance renewal, despite recent changes designed to make pricing fairer.

In January, the car insurance 'loyalty penalty' was scrapped, meaning insurers can no longer quote existing customers a higher price than they would an equivalent new customer.

While this change is a good idea on paper, there have been suggestions that it's led to insurance prices rising across the board for new and existing customers.

Our story on the seven steps towards renewing your car insurance provides lots of great advice to help ensure you get the right deal.

The full version of this article appeared in the March 2022 edition of Which? Money magazine.

Try Which? Money to have our impartial, jargon-free insight delivered to your door every month.

Which? Limitedis registered in England and Wales to 2 Marylebone Road, London NW1 4DF, company number 00677665and is an Introducer Appointed Representative ofInspop.comLtd for the introduction of non-investment motor and home insurance products (FRN 610689).Inspop.comLtdis authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority to provide advice and arrange non-investment motor and home insurance products (FRN310635) and is registered in England and Wales to Greyfriars House, Greyfriars Road, Cardiff, South Wales, CF10 3AL, company number 03857130.Confused.comis a trading name ofInspop.comLtd.