Last updated: 31 March 2021
One day car insurance can be a cheap and useful option if you only need to use a car for a day, a single trip or a few hours, find out how it works and what to look for

One day car insurance is a type of temporary or short term car insurance. Taking out one day car insurance cover can be cheaper and more convenient than having to amend an existing car insurance policy.

Temporary car insurance is a type of fully comprehensive car insurance cover and can be taken out to cover from 1 hour up to 28 days.

One day car insurance also allows you to borrow a car if you are not covered by an existing insurance policy, as long as you have the owner's permission.

Some comprehensive annual car insurance policies will cover you if you drive another car, so check the details of your policy first, but this is generally only third party cover - meaning you wouldn't get a payout for any damage to the car itself.

Why do I need one day car insurance?

If you don't own a car or you need to borrow a car then one day car insurance may be the best way to make sure you are covered when you drive. Most one day car insurance policies will offer fully comprehensive cover.

Examples of reasons for needing one day car insurance include:

  • 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

Car insurance for one day is a good option if you only need cover for 24 hours. For example:

  • You want to test drive a car

  • You've just bought a car and want to drive it away from the seller

  • You need to drive someone else's car in an emergency

If you want to drive someone else's car, you could have yourself added to their policy instead.

Short term insurance is priced per day so try not to buy cover for longer than you need.

Should I choose normal cover or 24-hour car insurance?

If you know you will only use a car for 24 hours you should always get a short-term car insurance policy, rather than buying annual cover and cancelling it.

You will be charged a fee of as much as 70 to cancel your policy, so it will always be cheaper to buy a short term one day policy.

How much does one day car insurance cost?

How much you pay for one day car insurance will depend on how much of a risk the insurance company considers you to be.

So the younger you are or the less experienced you are, could mean you end up paying more than an older driver.

There are things you can do to bring the cost down, such as paying a higher up front higher excess and choosing a smaller car.

If you need short-term cover for longer, for example one or two months, it can be cheaper to cancel an annual policy.

This guide includes an example of when cancelling a policy could cost less than temporary car insurance.

Can I take out car insurance for a day?

Before you apply, check the policy's acceptance requirements, including:

  • The minimum age you need to be to take out a one day policy.

  • The maximum vehicle value you can get cover for - as any vehicle costing over this amount will not be covered

  • The standard excess that is payable by you in the event of a claim. Here is more on how car insurance excess works.

One day car insurance FAQs


Can I drive a car without insurance?


No, it is a legal requirement to have at least third party car insurance cover to drive in the UK.


What happens if I do not have car insurance?


It is illegal to drive in the UK without insurance it and you could face a fixed fine, six points on your licence and your car being seized and destroyed.


Can I get car insurance for a temporary period?


Yes you can get temporary, or short term, car insurance that can last from one day up to three months. Here is when you should consider short term car insurance.


What is car insurance excess?


It is the amount you have to pay towards any claim you make. Find out how car insurance excess works here.


Can I check if a car is insured?


Yes, you can check if a car has a valid insurance policy in place through the Motor Insurance Database (MID).


Do I have to be an experienced driver to take out one day 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 one day 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.


Does one day 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.


What does car insurance cover?


It can cover damage to your and another driver's car after an accident. It can also cover theft, vandalism, fire and more.

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.