Find out how temporary car insurance works and how it could save you money
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most insurers also apply limitations on the value of the car and will usually cover drivers for cars worth up to £50,000.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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