Short term cover is the ideal solution when you only need a car for a few days or weeks, but if you need cover for longer it can be cheaper to get annual insurance and cancel it.

When is an annual policy cheaper?

If you need temporary insurance for a month or more, it can work out cheaper to buy an annual policy, even though you will need to pay a cancellation fee when you no longer need it.

This is because short term cover is more expensive per day than annual insurance, but make sure you factor in the cost of any cancellation fees as they can be up to 70.

For example: If you need a car for a month you might get a short term quote of 190, and an annual quote of 140 per month with a cancellation fee of 35.

  • Total cost of the short term cover is 190

  • Total cost of the annual policy is 140 + 35 = 175

In this example cancelling an annual policy is 15 cheaper. However, if you need cover for a short time like a few days short term cover will almost always be the cheapest option.

What is short term cover for?

Short term car insurance is a useful option when:

  • Moving house

  • Test driving a car

  • Sharing the driving on a long trip in a friend's car

  • Temporary use of a car, e.g. using your parents car when home from university

When you apply for a quote you will need to choose how many days you will need cover for, so think carefully about how long you will need.

Try not to take out short term cover for longer than necessary. It is calculated per day so you would end up paying for cover you do not need.

Our comparison shows the policy term each insurer offers; usually between one and 28 days, but some offer cover for longer.

Does short term insurance offer the same cover as annual?

Yes, short term car insurance will offer the same protection as an annual policy; you can choose between fully comprehensive and third party, fire and theft cover. Most short term insurance companies will not offer third party only cover.

To find the best policy you need to work out which level of cover is right for you.

Short term car insurance FAQs


Can I get car insurance for a temporary period?


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.


How long does short term cover last?


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


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


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.


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.


Is the excess higher on short term policies?


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.


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.

About our car insurance comparison


Who do we include in this comparison?


We include short term car insurance policies available from our panel of insurers and brokers. They are all regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Here is more information about how our website works.


How do we make money from our comparison?


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.