Even if you use a car for just one day, you need to have adequate car insurance cover – as it’s illegal to drive and not be insured – so make sure you get the correct policy.
If you need to borrow a car from a friend, you could add yourself to their insurance as a named driver, but this can be expensive for just a day or two. Plus, if you were to have an accident, they would more than likely lose some of their no claims discount.
If you already have fully comprehensive cover on another car, you may have a ‘driving other cars’ additional extra on your policy included. However, this will probably only offer third party cover, so it might not be the best solution. This isn’t included in all policies so you don’t assume you’re covered to drive someone else’s car.
When you want the benefits of full coverage without the cost of adding yourself to an annual policy, temporary car insurance may be the better option.
What is one day cover?
A one-day policy is ideal for when you only need to use a car for a very short term – such as when you borrow a friend or family member’s car for the day, or go on a trip with a group not in your own car.
Your cover will of course depend on which company you go with and what types of vehicle you need to insure, but it is much like an annual policy and will be available for cars, vans and possibly motorhomes. These temporary policies are typically fully comprehensive cover, which means that you are insured for any damage caused to the car you are driving. This also means that if you do have an accident and make a claim, whoever owns the car won’t lose their no claims discount.
As its name suggests, a one day car insurance policy will cover you for 24 hours, but you can also extend this for up to a month (28 days).
If you need cover for longer than 28 days, you should consider taking out an annual policy and cancelling it when you’re finished using the car. But be careful if you take this approach, because it can cost up to £80 to cancel a policy.
The relatively low cost of a temporary policy makes it very convenient and could be cheaper than making a change to your existing car insurance. Plus, if you need to make a claim after an accident or collision, then it shouldn’t affect your own annual policy’s no claims discount either, if you have one.
If you wanted to travel outside the UK to drive in Europe, then you can always add additional cover. This will be an extra charge and will most likely be only third party cover, but it is worth checking.
When might you use one day car insurance?
What sort of situations do people use 24 hour cover for?
- When you need to borrow a friend’s car to go on a trip
- Moving home
- Visiting friends and family but don’t own a car
- If you have a classic car and need to take it for a spin to keep the engine working
- Test driving a possible new car
- An emergency when you need to borrow a car
- Collecting furniture or other goods you have purchased
- Hiring a car
- Driving a courtesy car if yours in the garage being repaired or serviced
What you need to know
When you apply for short term car insurance, you should be aware that each company has their own acceptance requirement. You should check the following before you sign anything:
1. How old you need to be to take out a one day policy. Normally this will be from 19 to 75 years, but some insurers will cover 17 year-olds and even learner drivers. A lot of companies will require you to be over 21 for one day cover.
2. A lot of insurers will exclude cars over a certain value, typically £40,000 to £50,000, so you may want to check you aren’t borrowing a super car (if they would even lend it to you).
3. You will be asked about any points on your licence and previous claims, so you’re more likely to get cheaper cover if you have had fewer than six penalty points on your licence or made fewer than two claims.
4. The details of the car and its owner’s permission to use it – as well as your details and licence.
5. How much excess are you willing to pay? If you choose higher voluntary excess, this will cut the price of the policy, but remember this needs to be a figure you can pay if you are in an accident or collision.
More information on car insurance
- It’s illegal to not have car insurance – at the very minimum you must have third party insurance. If you do not then you can face a £300 fine, you could be taken to court and receive points on your licence.
- The excess on your car insurance is the amount you pay when making a claim. As mentioned earlier, if you choose to have higher voluntary excess then you may get a reduced premium.
- You can check if you are insured by entering your registration into the Motor Insurance Database (MID) – a quick and free way of having peace of mind.
- Car insurance has three options: third party, third party fire and theft (TPFT) and fully comprehensive cover.
- You can also get black box insurance if you are a higher risk driver – if you are young or have made claims in the past. This can help because the telematics box takes data from your car and tells the insurance company wirelessly how you are driving, at what time and at what speeds, etc.
- As with any other kind of insurance, the key to getting the best deal is shopping around. So decide what cover you need and compare quotes from different providers before making a decision. MoneySuperMarket’s directory of one day and short-term car insurance providers is a good place to start your research.