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Short term car insurance

Find short-term cover for your car with MoneySuperMarket

Short term car insurance can be a cost-effective alternative to an annual policy

By Mehdi Punjwani

Published: 29 June 2020

Young woman staring out of a car window

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What is short-term car insurance?

Short-term car insurance, also known as temporary car insurance, gives you temporary cover for driving a car. It can be a cheaper alternative to annual cover if you don’t need insurance for the full year.

How long does short-term car insurance cover me for?

Short-term car insurance usually lasts between one hour and 30 days, but some policies can extend to several months.

Do I need short-term car insurance?

You could benefit from a short-term car insurance policy if you’re in need of temporary cover – for example, if you’re:

  • Only using a car for a short while so you can learn to drive
  • Hiring a vehicle for a few days, for example if you’re going on a road trip
  • Collecting or delivering a vehicle that belongs to someone else
  • Borrowing a car from a friend or family – it may be cheaper than being added to an existing policy as a named driver
  • Using a courtesy car, though this may be provided automatically – check to be sure before buying a policy you don’t need
  • Sharing a car for a short time period
  • Driving occasionally, for example if it’s a classic car you sometimes take for a spin but don’t use regularly – in which case it would be declared SORN otherwise
  • In an emergency in which you need to drive someone else’s car to a hospital for example

What will short-term car insurance cover me for?

When you take out a short-term car insurance policy, you’ll usually be given fully comprehensive cover as standard – though some providers may also offer third-party and third-party, fire and theft as alternative options.

Having fully comprehensive car insurance means you’ll be covered for damage you do to a third-party, their vehicle or their property, as well as loss, damage and theft of your own car.

What extra cover can I get with a short-term car insurance policy?

In most cases you should be able to add the following on to your policy:

  • European driving cover: This gives you short-term cover for driving in Europe – but you should check beforehand to see which countries this applies to. Some short-term policies offer third-party cover in Europe as standard, but if you want comprehensive you’ll need to pay a little more
  • Breakdown cover: This pays out for any repair costs you might face if your car breaks down during your journey
  • Additional drivers: If you want short-term cover on a vehicle for you and other people – you can usually add up to four additional drivers

How much does short-term car insurance cost?

The main benefit of short-term car insurance is that you won’t need to pay for a full annual policy – you’ll just get cover for the amount of time you need it. As annual policies can cost into the hundreds (if not thousands for young drivers), this can be a lot to pay if you’re only driving a car for a few weeks, days or even hours.

How can I get cheaper short-term car insurance?

To get the cheapest quote possible on your short-term car insurance policy, you can try:

  • Paying more voluntary excess: If you have the option to increase your voluntary excess amount, this can help demonstrate to insurers that you won’t bother making a small or frivolous claim on your policy
  • Avoiding add-ons you don’t need: If you don’t plan on driving in Europe then you won’t need cover for it
  • Choose a smaller car: If you’re only driving a car for a short while as a way to get from A to B you won’t need anything flashy – try to insure yourself on a car in lower insurance groups if you can for a more affordable policy

Can I get short term car insurance as a returning UK resident?

If you need temporary cover as an expat making a short visit back to the UK, you may have to meet certain criteria in order to qualify for a short-term car insurance policy.

  • Some insurers will require you to have lived in the UK previously for a minimum amount of time – often around 36 months
  • They may also ask that you have a permanent address abroad
  • The age requirements could be different, with either a higher minimum age or caps on the maximum age

What are the alternatives to a short-term car insurance policy?

As an alternative to short-term car insurance, you might consider either becoming a named driver on another person’s policy, or you can add another car to your existing policy for a short time.

You could also take out pay-as-you-go insurance, which will insure you for a year for a flat rate – covering your car while it’s parked – plus an additional rate charged per mile you drive. This way you’ll pay for when you’re driving, but you won’t have to declare your car off-road when you aren’t driving – and you’ll be covered if someone hits your car when it’s parked, providing you have fully comprehensive insurance.

Compare affordable short-term car insurance quotes

If you’re looking for affordable short-term car insurance, you can source quotes quickly and easy with MoneySuperMarket’s preferred partners. They’ll show you exactly what you’ll be covered for, so you can find the right policy for temporary cover for your car.

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