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Short term car insurance

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What is temporary car insurance?

Temporary car insurance gives you short-term cover for driving a car. It allows you to get fast, flexible cover for as little one day, or up to several months. Most policies are fully comprehensive but there are other options available for certain circumstances. It’s a great option if you need to drive someone else’s car at short notice.

How does short-term car insurance work?

With the vehicle owner’s permission, you can quickly and easily arrange a policy to start from the moment you've bought it. You’ll get the same level of cover as standard car insurance policy, but for a shorter time. A temporary policy is separate to an annual policy, so it won’t affect your no claims bonus if you have to make a claim.

If you’re going to be insuring a car multiple times during a year, you might find a cheaper annual policy by comparing car insurance quotes. You’ll also be able to build up a no claims bonus with this policy too.


What’s covered by temporary car insurance?

Temporary car insurance usually comes with fully comprehensive cover as standard, with some other features and options:

  • Fully comprehensive

    Included as standard with short-term car insurance. Fully comprehensive covers you for damage, repairs, medical expenses, fire damage and theft, and damage done to someone else, their car or property

  • Flexible cover length

    Cover is available from a little as one day and up to 12 weeks. This can be handy if you only plan to use the vehicle for a short period, and can prove to be cheaper than locking in to an annual policy

  • Cover on-demand

    You can take out a policy quickly and easily, with less questions to answer than typical, annual insurance. Cover can either start immediately, or you can set it up ready for when you need it

What’s not covered by temporary car insurance?

While most temporary car insurance policies are comprehensive and offer the greatest level of cover, there will still likely be exclusions as part of your policy, such as:

  • Carelessness in security

    Keep your car secure by closing the windows, locking it and leaving your valuables out of view, otherwise you won’t be covered

  • Additional drivers

    Unless you’ve added another driver to your policy, no one else will be insured to get behind the wheel of your car

  • Driving other cars

    You can only use your temporary policy for the vehicle insured, not for driving other vehicles. Multi-car policies are also available.

  • Vehicle purpose

    Using the vehicle for another purpose that’s excluded in the policy’s terms and conditions wouldn’t be allowed

Do I need temporary car insurance?

Temporary car insurance is really useful in certain situations, including:

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    Borrowing a car

    If you want to borrow a friend’s car, or a parents’, you can with temporary car insurance

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    Sharing the driving

    If you’re on a long journey with a friend or family member, temporary insurance means you can both do some of the driving

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    In an emergency

    If something were to happen to a family member or friend and they were unable to drive their own car, you can get insured and help out

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    Business use

    If you have to use your personal vehicle for work, you may need a temporary business policy

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    Learning to drive

    Some short-term policies last up to 24 weeks – plenty of time to practice driving before your test

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    Occasional driving

    If you own a classic car or a sports vehicle you rarely drive, you can insure it just for a specified period, such as the weekend

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    Buying a car

    Temporary 'drive-away' insurance is great if you've bought a car and want to review your options before committing to a long-term policy

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    Young driver insurance

    If you need cover at university, when back home for the holidays, or if borrowing a parent or family member's car short term

Am I eligible for temporary car insurance?

Different providers have different rules when it comes to eligibility for short term car insurance. Things like age and the value of your car will be taken into account. Most insurers won’t insure younger drivers on temporary policies although some companies do provide cover for 17 year olds and even learner drivers. Some insurers exclude cars over a certain value.

How do I get temporary car insurance?

To get a short-term car insurance policy, you’ll need the following details to hand:

  • Your age

  • Your address

  • Your occupation

  • Your driving licence details

  • The make and model of the car you want to insure

  • The date and time you want the cover to start

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How much is temporary car insurance?

Aside from your age and the type of policy you take out, your insurer will also consider a range of other factors so they can calculate how much of a risk you represent and charge you accordingly:

  • 1

    Your location

    Theft or vandalism may be higher in some postcodes than others, which can impact your car insurance premiums

  • 2

    Your occupation

    Some occupations might be seen as higher risks, especially if they involve driving a lot of miles or being around heavy machinery

  • 3

    Your mileage

    Simply put, the more miles you drive, the longer you spend on the road, and the more likely you are to make a claim

  • 4

    Your driving history

    This includes any driving convictions you may have as well as any claims you’ve previously made on car insurance policies

  • 5

    The type of car you drive

    Your car will be grouped based on its make and model, cars in higher insurance groups usually cost more to cover

  • 6

    Your voluntary excess

    Volunteering a higher excess fee tells insurers you’re less likely to make frivolous claims for low amounts

How to get cheap temporary car insurance?

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

  • Paying more voluntary excess

    Volunteering a higher excess fee indicates to insurers that you wont make any frivolous claims on your policy and will make your insurance cheaper

  • Avoiding add-ons you don’t need

    Be wary of choosing a more expensive policy with unnecessary add-ons - go for one that has everything you need for a great price

  • Choose a smaller car

    Try to choose a car in a lower insurance group for a more affordable policy. You can check what insurance group your car is in with our car insurance group checker tool.

Short term car insurance is usually more expensive than if you pay annually. That’s because you pay day by day and the excess fee can often cost more too.

Driving a vehicle without insurance is against the law, so you will need some sort of car insurance policy if you are buying a car. Temporary car insurance can give you short-term cover when you first buy your car – this gives you time to shop around to find an insurance provider that suits your needs.

This depends on the provider, but some offer up to 84 days if you have a full license.

If you've passed your test and have held a valid full UK licence for at least 6 months, you need to be aged between 17 and 78 to get a policy. You can also get temporary car insurance if you are a learner driver.

You can tax your vehicle with a temporary policy. You can either do this online via the DVLA website or at a local post office, you just need the temporary insurance documentation you’ve been sent.

Yes, and you may find it a more cost-effective option than adding business use all-year round if you only occasionally use your car for work. If for example, you need to attend a conference or training session, or visit another office, short-term car insurance could be your best bet.

Temporary car insurance can also be useful for businesses including builders, plumbers, and roofers if they want to get cover for subcontractors to drive the work van.

Yep, in most cases you should be able to add the following on to your policy:

  • In some cases you may be able to add European driving cover, which can be useful if you’re planning a day trip to Europe

  •  can help get your car fixed or recovered to a garage if you break down. Breakdown cover is not usually available with short term car insurance so consider comparing  policies

Consider that these are likely to increase your premiums, so consider whether you really need them before adding them on to your policy.

If you are taking your car to Europe, you can ask your insurance provider to cover you on your existing policy.

In some cases you can also get temporary cover for driving your own car, a borrowed vehicle or if you’re sharing the driving of a friend’s vehicle. Make sure you check the policy and level of cover before committing. Some providers offer the minimum cover required by law in that country, rather than fully comprehensive cover. 

If you want to hire a car, you’ll need hire car insurance instead.

Now that we’ve left the EU, you have to carry a Green card to drive in Europe. Find out more about driving in Europe after Brexit.

No, if you need to claim on your short-term car insurance, it won’t affect your no claims discount.

A short-term insurance policy is a standalone policy, so any claim for the driver will be met by the short-term policy and not the car owner’s annual insurance policy. This means that the no claims discount of both the driver and car owner would not be affected in the event of an incident.

Yes, you can become a named driver on another policy, so you can drive a family member’s or friend’s car or lend them yours. Consider things like cover, cost and convenience to see which option is best for you.

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