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Short-term car insurance cover

Find out how temporary car insurance works and how it could save you money

Uswitch guide to buying a used car

What is temporary car insurance?

Not everyone needs car insurance on a long-term basis. Sometimes you may only need to insure a car on a temporary or short-term basis.

Standard car insurance policies run for 12 months. 

  • if you are happy with the company providing your car insurance you can let your policy auto-renew into another year

  • if you believe you can get a better car insurance deal elsewhere you can choose to switch to another provider.

But if you don’t own a car or only drive occasionally taking out an annual car insurance policy may not be suitable.

That’s when temporary car insurance, which allows you to insure a car on a short-term basis, comes in.

Get temporary insurance

Compare a range of short-term insurance policies with Uswitch and money.co.uk*

When might I need short-term car insurance?

If you want to borrow a car or drive a car on a one-off basis you won’t be automatically covered to do so.

Such as:

  • you are learning to drive in a family member’s or friend’s car

  • you are hiring a car to go on a trip 

  • you are borrowing a family member or friend’s car 

  • you are using a courtesy car and you want more than third party cover

  • you only drive occasionally, for example you may own a classic car which you don’t use all the time

More uses of short-term car insurance

You need car insurance for one day 

You can also use some temporary car insurance policies to drive a new car home. 

  • most new car dealers will include some type of short-term insurance policy, but you’ll need to remember to arrange insurance cover yourself if you’re buying a used car privately

  • temporary car insurance is great in this situation as it allows you to transport the car home while leaving you some time to shop around for a good deal on your annual car insurance policy. Most temporary car insurers require the car you are borrowing to already have underlying car insurance in place

You need short-term car insurance for five days

Some insurers also offer temporary insurance for vans, so if you need to borrow a van for moving house or similar, taking out a short-term insurance policy could work out cheaper than overall hire costs.

If you do choose to hire a car or van, it’s unlikely you’ll need to take out a separate temporary insurance policy, as cover is usually included as part of the hire price. 

  • however, many hire companies only offer third party cover as standard, so you may choose to take out a short-term policy as well

  • temporary insurance policies usually offer comprehensive cover, so if there’s an accident you will be paid out for damage to the vehicle you are driving as well as any other vehicles involved

You need car insurance for a week or more

Temporary cover is also a good alternative for learner drivers, as they can take out their own short-term car insurance policy on a friend’s or family member’s car while they learn — and it won’t affect the car owner’s no claims discount in the event of an accident.

You need weekend car insurance

Temporary insurance policies are great for driving a car abroad — whether you’re borrowing a car for a short break or you want to share the driving on a road trip with friends or family. 

  • some short-term car insurance policies will include cover for driving in the EU, but you should check the policy details carefully to see if this is included

How long can you take out short-term car insurance for?

Temporary car insurance policies usually offer short-term cover from 1 to 28 days, but some policies will insure you for up to 90 days

Can I take out short-term car insurance?

Insurers that offer short-term car insurance will usually offer cover to people between the ages of 17 and 75, but some providers will exclude those under 25 so it’s important to shop around for temporary car insurance.

Do I have to be an experienced driver to take out short-term car insurance?

You’re likely to see more quotes if you have several years’ driving experience and a full UK licence, but there are specialist providers out there that offer temporary car insurance to those with less experience or different licence types, and other providers that cover learner drivers.

Can I take out short-term car insurance if I have points on my licence?

If you have points on your driving licence, previous motoring convictions or a history of several insurance claims, you might find it difficult to get temporary insurance cover, but it’s worth shopping around as some providers will be happy to cover you.

Can I take out short-term car insurance if I don’t live in the UK?

Some insurers will allow you to take out short-term car insurance if you live abroad, but you may have to prove your permanent address and have been previously resident in the UK. You may also find there are age restrictions.

Does short-term car insurance have a car value limit?

Most insurers also apply limitations on the value of the car and will usually cover drivers for cars worth up to £50,000.

How much does short-term car insurance cost?

Temporary car insurance can be an affordable alternative to hiring a car. 

The cost will vary depending on:

  • how long you want to be covered

  • your postcode

  • how much driving experience you have 

Remember that if you take out an annual car insurance policy you can often pay hundreds if not thousands of pounds a year. Temporary car insurance can be a much cheaper alternative.

Get temporary insurance

Compare a range of short-term insurance policies with Uswitch and money.co.uk*

Taking out short-term car insurance when you don’t own a car

To compare or purchase a temporary car insurance policy you will need permission from the car owner, as well as:

  • the car’s registration number 

  • or details of the make and model

  • details of your licence and driving history

  • personal details including your name and address

What does short-term car insurance cover?

Most short-term car insurance policies will include fully comprehensive cover, although some insurers may be able to offer third party or third party, fire and theft cover.

Comprehensive cover will typically include:

  • loss or damage caused by vandalism, theft or fire, 

  • damage to the car in an accident

  • accident recovery and repair

  • legal cover in case of death or injury to other people

  • legal cover for damage to other people's cars or property

So fully comprehensive cover means you have cover for any damage and theft of the car are driving as well as for any damage you do to a third-party, their vehicle or their property, as well as loss

  • if you don’t own the car you are driving fully comprehensive cover may be the best option, for peace of mind

Can I get extras with a short-term car insurance policy?

Most short-term car insurance policies will allow you to add the following on, at an extra cost:

  • European driving cover – although you may get third party cover as standard you may want to pay extra for fully comprehensive cover

  • breakdown cover - useful if you are taking the car on a long trip

  • additional drivers – if you are sharing the car with other drivers you can add them, some insurers will let you add four additional drivers

Getting cheaper short-term car insurance

As with other types of car insurance you can do the following to help get the price of your temporary car insurance down.

Paying a higher voluntary excess – although remember this will make it more expensive if you do need to claim

The type of car you drive - driving a car in one of the cheaper car insurance groups will save you money.

You may be already insured

If you need to drive a friend's car use ‘driving other cars’ cover if it’s included in your own insurance policy.  This add-on is usually only for third party cover so will not pay out for the car you are driving if you are involved in an accident. 

Multi car insurance

When you do come to buy your first car it may be worth taking out a group car insurance policy if people in your family drive and own cars

This is called multi-car insurance and might also be suitable:

  • if you own more than one car

  • if you’re a family with more than one driver

  • if you’re a couple with more than one vehicle

Get temporary insurance

Compare a range of short-term insurance policies with Uswitch and money.co.uk*

The temporary insurance comparison service is provided by money.co.uk, which is a trading name of Dot Zinc Limited, registered in England (4093922) and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (415689). Registered address: The Cooperage, 5 Copper Row, London, England, SE1 2LH. By using this system you are agreeing to our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

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