Sharing a car with neighbours and friends
"It's so convenient for us."
"Sharing a car keeps us in touch."
"Having a car now and then is so handy and cheap."
Want to save on costs of your car?
Do you need a car sometimes but don't own one?
Sharing a car is easier than you think. One person usually owns the car and the other is on their insurance. This is different to lift sharing or sharing car ownership.
Names are disguised as fruits!
- Peach and Plum are friends who live round the corner. Peach owns the car and Plum is a named driver on his comprehensive insurance. Plum needs the car to carry heavy things 3 times a week for work and Peach does not rely on it. Plum pays Peach £35 a month to cover all costs, excluding the ownership itself, and petrol is paid as they go.
- Ban and Ana live 2 miles apart. Each has the car for a week at a time and they swap over each Sunday when they leave the fuel nearly empty. Neither relies on the car for work etc. though they plan some activities knowing they have the car. Ana owns the car and they each pay half the bills as they need paying.
- Apple and Pear are friends who share a house. Pear owns the car and Apple is a named driver on her insurance. Neither use the car for work or are dependent on it. Pear does not want a formal financial arrangement, so Apple pays in other ways by filling the fuel tank or by paying for other things.
- Orange and her husband share their second car with Lemon their lodger. Lemon records her mileage use and pays Orange 15 p a mile plus petrol.
Setting up your sharing
- Find Someone To Share With
Ask neighbours in your street if they know of anyone. It is best if it is someone you know a bit. You could also put a note round houses in the neighbourhood. Or look on internet sharing sites.
- Agree Arrangements
Discuss whether your needs for sharing match each other. Agree and perhaps write down details about timing, insurance, money, petrol, parking, maintenance and cleaning. Costs can be paid for monthly, per mile or as bills need paying.
- Set Up Insurance
The car owner should contact their insurance company to tell them what you are planning. You will probably ask them to set your sharer up as a named driver or take out a (more expensive) all-driver policy. Agree with your sharer who pays for extra costs of this and extra keys. Insurance policies do not allow you to make a profit from your car sharing or it will not be valid.
You're ready to share - it's easy as that!
Benefits of sharing car use
- The car owner saves £4-600 a year on all running costs including insurance, tax disc, MOT, service, repairs, parts and breakdown service. The value of the car itself and its depreciation would be additional.
- You share the jobs of maintenance and cleaning.
- Sharing encourages you not to rely on the car - you may get more exercise from walking or cycling.
- It can give you access to a car without buying one.
- Fewer cars on the roads take up less space parked in the road and have environmental benefits such as less pollution.
- Sharing can improve your friendship - it gives you a practical reason to have more contact.
Points for success
- Don't depend on the car even if it is used for important tasks - you must have an alternative if the sharing arrangement does not work for whatever reason.
- Be generous and flexible about using the car, especially when both want to use it. This also applies with maintenance tasks, cleaning etc. It is better that 2 people check the oil than none.
- There must be trust between friends - the car share must not threaten the relationship!
Other Types of Car Sharing
This is the most common form of car sharing - giving someone a lift. Some large employers make arrangements to encourage it. There are various internet based agencies which match people making long trips, but there are none yet suited to supporting communities.
Some towns have car share clubs where as a member you can have use of a car for 1 hour or more and managed by a company. Contact Car Plus at www.carplus.org.uk or phone 0113 234 9299.
Sharing Car Ownership
To arrange this yourself is more complicated than sharing car use because of the difficulty of getting insurance and with a large amount of money being involved. Some people do it, but you need to be very clear about sharing responsibilities especially if anything goes wrong.