Short Term Car Insurance

When you buy motor insurance the policy normally runs for a full year. But what if you don't need cover for 12 months? You might, for example, want to borrow a friend's car for the weekend or maybe share the driving with a companion on a long trip. Perhaps a relative is coming to stay with you and intends to borrow your car.

Of course, you could simply add a named driver to your existing policy. But it might be expensive - and it could jeopardise your no-claims discount if they were involved in an accident and made a claim.

Short-term car insurance is a possible solution because the cover is only temporary, usually between 1 and 28 days. So you don't pay for more insurance than you need. You can also rest assured that any claim made by other people on the separate short-term car insurance policy will not affect your own no-claims discount.

Can I just add someone to an existing policy?

Of course there is always the option to add a friend or a relative to your existing car insurance policy, should you need to do so - but this might not be the cheapest way to arrange the cover you need, and it could jeopardise your no-claims bonus if whoever borrows your car has an accident while driving it.

In addition, if something happened to your vehicle while a friend or relative was using it and you needed to make an insurance claim, that would probably mean an increase in next year's premium - whereas claiming on a separate, temporary insurance policy wouldn't affect your personal car cover in such a way.

Can I buy temporary car insurance if I'm under 25?

Insurance providers are generally happy to provide cover to any driver over the age of 18 and under 75 - but when it comes to temporary car insurance, you may find that providers are unwilling to offer cover to anyone under the age of 21. Drivers aged between 21 and 25 generally can buy short term insurance.

If you have points on your driving licence, previous motoring convictions or a history of making motor insurance claims, you may also find it difficult to buy temporary car insurance.

Is there anything else I need to know?

It's important to be aware that buying occasional temporary car insurance is not a viable alternative to continuously insuring a vehicle you own.

While you might think that you could insure a car you don't drive very often as and when you decide to use it, this is now illegal.

Under Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) rules, it is an offence to keep a vehicle that is not either insured or registered with the DVLA as off the road, via a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).

How can I get the best deal on short term car insurance?

As with any other kind of insurance, the key to getting the best deal is shopping around.

Decide what cover you need, and for how long, then compare quotes from different providers before making a decision. MoneySupermarket's directory of short term car insurance providers is a good place to start your research.

†82% of shoppers obtained a quote in 5 minutes or less. Source eDigitalResearch December 2012.