What is short term car insurance?

It is a temporary car insurance policy which provides cover for a short period of time, like a few days or weeks.

You can usually get cover from 1 to 28 days, but some policies will insure you for up to 3 months.

What does it cover?

It usually gives you fully comprehensive cover, but some only offer third party, fire and theft protection. You should compare the two levels of cover if you are unsure which is right for you.

You can also extend your short term cover by adding extra benefits like European and breakdown cover, but they will cost you extra.

When can you use short term cover?

You can use a short term policy if:

  • You need to borrow someone's car temporarily

  • You need a vehicle for a one-off event like moving house

  • You have just bought a new car but not arranged an annual policy

  • You are test driving a car being sold privately

  • You are sharing the driving for a long journey

  • You have a second car you only drive occasionally, like a classic car

How much does it cost?

This will depend on; the insurer, the car you are being insured on, your age and driving experience and where you live.

Read our guide to find out what else could affect the price of your policy.

Short term cover is calculated per day, so the longer the policy, the more you will pay.

When is it cheaper to get a full policy?

If you need cover for more than a few weeks it could be cheaper to take out an annual policy and cancel it early, even though you will be charged a cancellation fee of between 30 and 75.

For Example: If you need a car for 2 months you might get a short term quote of 200 per month, and an annual quote of 150 per month with a cancellation fee of 40.

  • Total cost of the short term cover is 200 x 2 = 400

  • Total cost of the annual policy is 150 x 2 + 40 = 340

So taking out an annual policy is 60 cheaper in this example.

However in most cases if you only need the cover for a few days or a couple of weeks then short term insurance will be the more cost effective option.

Make sure you compare short term car insurance and annual cover to find out which is the cheapest.

Can anyone get short term car insurance?

No. If you are under 21 or over 75 most insurers will not offer you short term cover.

However there are some insurers which will, so make sure you shop around to find a policy which meets your needs.

Other restrictions include:

  • You have not held your licence for at least 12 months

  • You have 8 or more penalty points on your licence from the last three years

  • You have pending prosecutions or police enquires

  • The cost of your car exceeds a certain value, for example 60,000

Check the exclusions of the policy carefully before you apply for a short term car insurance policy to avoid a wasted application.

If you want to use short term policies to insure your car as and when you need it, you will need to declare the vehicle off the road with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) during periods it is not covered.

Here is how to declare your car off the road to avoid breaking the Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) rules.