Temporary, or short-term, car insurance can be used when you only need a car for a short time. This could be for a few weeks, just a single day, or somewhere in between.

It may be useful as a cheaper, more convenient and flexible alternative than amending your existing car insurance policy, but it might not be suitable for your needs, so compare it with annual policies to find out what's best for you.

When do I need temporary car insurance?

There are several situations when temporary car insurance might come in handy for you. These include:

Shared driving

If you're planning on doing any shared driving on a long trip, or while on holiday with friends or family, you'll need insurance for driving someone else's car - unless you're a named driver on their policy.

You could amend your own, existing policy, but you might find it's cheaper and more convenient to get separate, short-term insurance.

Borrowing a car

You might also need short term car insurance if you're borrowing somebody else's vehicle. Perhaps you're borrowing their van to move some furniture, or you might be borrowing their car while yours is in the garage.

Whatever the reason, you might want to get temporary car insurance to cover you while you're borrowing the vehicle. It's a simple way to protect yourself for a short period. Read more about it in our guide on temporary car cover.

Test driving

Most car dealerships have car insurance that covers you for taking a car on a short test drive, but if want you borrow a car to test drive for a period of time, to see if you like it before you buy it, you'll need temporary cover. The dealership may set this up for you, but you can arrange it yourself if you want to look for cheaper alternatives.

If you're testing an expensive vehicle, then getting comprehensive temporary car insurance may give you more protection. If you're buying from a private seller, you'll definitely need to arrange your own short-term car insurance.

New drivers

If you're learning to drive or have just learnt to drive, and you use a family vehicle, you might want temporary car insurance for new drivers. If you are looking to extend your car insurance you may also want to consider insurance for young drivers.

Classic car or occasional driving

Some people who have a second vehicle that they don't often use, like a classic car, get temporary car insurance each time they use it. But this isn't a good idea.

Continuous Insurance Enforcement rules mean you can't occasionally buy temporary car insurance for a vehicle you own.

It's a legal requirement to insure vehicles you own, unless they're registered as being off the road with a valid Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). There are also restrictions on how many temporary car insurance policies you can take out in a 12-month period.

How long can you get temporary car insurance for?

Temporary car insurance policies vary. You can get one-day insurance car policies, three-day car insurance, or seven-day car insurance, for example. Or you can get longer policies that cover up to 28 days or even up to three months.
You can choose whichever policy best suits your needs by comparing short term car insurance quotes.

How does temporary car insurance work?

Temporary car insurance is quick and easy to set up. If you're arranging it yourself so you can use someone else's vehicle, you'll need their permission.

The same applies when you're buying a car and you want to be covered from the moment you pick it up. In that case, you'll be setting up your daily car insurance before the vehicle's yours, so you'll need permission.

You'll need to share some information with the temporary car insurance provider. For example:

  • Your name and address

  • Your licence details

  • Your driving history

  • Details about the car you're insuring

  • When you want the cover to start

  • How long you want the cover for

  • Your passport details (if you're getting temporary European car insurance).

The good thing about short-term car insurance is that your no-claims bonus won't be affected if you need to make a claim.

But it's not a replacement for an annual policy. There are restrictions on how many temporary car insurance cover policies you can take out in a year.

When is an annual policy better than cheap temporary car insurance?

If you need temporary car insurance for a month or more, it can sometimes work out cheaper to buy an annual policy and then cancel it after the period of cover needed has ended.
While you'd need to pay a cancellation fee, it can still save you money
You'll need to pay a cancellation fee when you no longer need it, but it could still save you money. You can ask how much the cancellation fee would be when you get a quote, to help you work out the cheapest way of doing this.

Compare short term car insurance

Can I get cheap short term car insurance?

Even the cheapest temporary car insurance is more expensive per day than annual insurance.

Getting a daily car insurance policy or weekly car insurance can be expensive. But your best bet is shop around.

What about 3 month or 6 month car insurance?

If you want cover for just three or six months it's still likely to be cheaper to take out an annual car insurance policy and then cancel it when you don't need it any more - that's even taking into account the cancellation fee.

Does temporary car insurance offer the same cover as annual car insurance?

The cover you get on a comprehensive temporary car insurance policy will be identical to what you'd get on a comprehensive annual policy.

The difference is that only a few short-term car insurance companies will offer third party only cover.

If you don't know which kind of cover you need, you can compare the levels of cover to see which suits you best.

If you don't know which kind of cover you need, you can compare the two levels of cover to see which suits you best.

What is not included with short-term car insurance?

As with all insurance policies, there are some exclusions that will apply to short term car insurance. These include:

  • damage to or theft because the keys were left in the ignition

  • the car being driven by someone not named on the insurance

  • the type of vehicle not being covered by the policy

  • using the vehicle for a purpose that's excluded in the policy's terms and conditions.

Who can get short term insurance?

There are some rules as to who can get temp cover car insurance. You're likely to struggle if you have:

  • any motoring convictions or points on your licence, or pending prosecutions

  • new drivers who've had their licence less than a year

  • drivers under 21 or over 75

  • vehicles that exceed a certain value.

Can you get daily car insurance for driving in Europe?

A temporary car insurance policy that you've bought for the UK isn't likely to give you as much cover for driving in Europe.

A fully comprehensive UK policy might only give third-party cover in Europe. That means you could be faced with a big bill, and you'd also have to find a way to get the car back to the UK.

It might be better to buy specific, temporary European car insurance.

Buying temporary or short term car insurance to drive in Europe

You can pay for extras when you do this, such as breakdown cover or additional drivers.

You'll need to give the insurance provider all the same information you'd need to for a UK temporary car insurance policy. But you'll also need to give your passport details to drive in Europe.
Luckily any claims you need to make on your short-term European car insurance won't affect your standard car insurance policies at home.

Can I get cheaper short term car insurance?

If you're hoping to find cheap temp cover, it might be helpful to know what could affect the quotes you receive.

The factors that might influence the price of your daily car insurance include:

  • your age

  • where you live

  • your driving history

  • what vehicle you want to insure.

Remember that it's more important to find the right temporary car insurance than it is to find cheap temporary car insurance. You may want to search annual car insurance if you want to insure your car for longer than three months.

How to find cheap daily car insurance

With car insurance, having the right level of cover is the most important thing.

Finding cheap temp car insurance shouldn't be the priority, you need to compare short term car insurance policies to find out which cover is appropriate.

But of course you need to find insurance that you can afford.

  • short term car insurance always works out more expensive than annual insurance, because you pay day by day. And the excess fee can often be more costly, too.

  • don't focus too much on finding cheap short term car insurance, decide what cover you need first

  • always compare short term car insurance to then find the best deal for your needs.

You can compare temporary car insurance at the top of this page.

Short term car insurance FAQs

Q

Can I get car insurance for a temporary period?

A

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

Q

How long does short term cover last?

A

Most insurers offer policy terms of between one and 28 days, but some will cover you for up to three months.

Q

How old do I have to be to get short term cover?

A

Some insurers will only cover you if you are between 21 and 75, but many will cover you. Compare temporary cover for under 21-year-olds and 18-year-olds.

Q

What is car insurance excess?

A

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

Q

Is the excess higher on short term policies?

A

Yes it can be, especially if you are a younger driver. Some insurers will set an excess of as much as 1,000 for short term cover. It may be better to compare younger driver car insurance quotes first.

Q

Can I drive a car without insurance?

A

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

About our car insurance comparison

Q

Who do we include in this comparison?

A

Our comparison tables include providers we have commercial arrangements with. The number of listings in our tables can vary depending on the terms of those arrangements, as well as other market developments. They are all from lenders regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Here is more information about How our website works.

Q

How do we make money from our comparison?

A

We have commercial agreements with some of the companies in this comparison and get paid commission if we help you take out one of their products or services. Find out more here.

You do not pay any extra and the deal you get is not affected.

Last updated: 18 May 2021