Many times a friend driving your car for you home after one too many drinks, or lending a friend your car for him to move his personal belongings from one place to the next or whatever. The car is lent to a friend who is trusted without too much thought. But here you will see why that can be devastating to your licence should your friend not be insured for your vehicle.
Another instance where your friend using your car has been helpful has been with photo based detection devices such as gatso and specs. A registered keeper may think it is a good idea to respond to the request for driver information by giving the details of a friend who lives abroad. But again, this can lead to a bigger fine and more points that just the speeding offence, for example.
The law states, clearly, that the registered keeper of a vehicle is responsible, as if he did not have insurance himself, if he allows or causes his vehicle to be used without insurance. You MUST ensure that ANYONE driving your vehicle have at least third party cover. This is not always easy as it should be. For example, your friend may have insurance to drive other cars third party only, but only social domestic and pleasure and may want to drive your car for business use. This would mean s/he would not be covered with valid insurance. Of course, if your friend does not tell you his true intentions then the court may be lenient. But that does not mean you should expect it!
Remember the policy must be valid for the date of use, the type of use, the user and the vehicle. If the policy does not cover all of these points, then there is no insurance.
It is not a valid defence to merely state that you have seen insurance cover note for the user, you should take a photocopy to ensure that you will not be leaving yourself open to 6 points and a fine! Also be aware that if you misunderstand the insurance policy, or are mislead its fine print, then you will still be liable.
If you would like to read more about this have a look at section 165 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
Therefore prior to lending your car to anyone, consider the risk to yourself and your licence. If you are a driver who has had their licence less than 2 years, you may risk losing your licence and having to retake the test!