What is short term car insurance?

Short term car insurance is exactly what you'd expect it to be: car insurance that is designed to provide cover on a temporary basis.

Most insurance policies run for 12 months, but there may well be circumstances where you don't need protection for that length of time. Perhaps your car needs repair work and you've been able to borrow a friend or relative's vehicle for the week; or maybe your son or daughter is home from university for the summer and would like to be able to drive your car for a month or two.

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.