Short term car insurance for when you only need a car for a short time. This could be for a few weeks, or you can even get daily car insurance for a single day, or a few days.

It can be cheaper, more convenient and more flexible than amending your existing car insurance policy.

Sometimes it's called day-by-day car insurance.

When might you need short term car insurance?

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

Shared driving: You might need it if you're planning on doing any shared driving. For example, you might be going on holiday with friends or family, and you might want to share driving duties. 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 temp cover 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 temp car cover.

Test driving: Another reason for one day insurance car policies, is test drives. Many car dealers let you borrow a car to test drive for a period of time, to see if you like it before you buy it. If you're testing an expensive vehicle, then getting comprehensive temp car cover 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 car: Alternatively, you might want to get temporary car insurance for a few days when you pick up a new car. This gives you time to find an annual policy.

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.

Some people who have a second vehicle that they don't use often, 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. There are also restrictions on how many short 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 1 day insurance car policies, 3 day car insurance, or 7 day car insurance, for example. Or you can get longer policies that cover up to 28 days or even up to 3 months.

You can choose whichever policy best suits your needs.

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. 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.

Even the cheapest temporary car insurance is more expensive per day than annual insurance. So getting a daily car insurance policy or weekly car insurance can be expensive. But, if you get a policy beyond that, such as 3 month car insurance or 6 month car insurance, it might be more expensive than getting an annual policy. That's because you're charged on a per-day basis for temporary car insurance.

Remember the cost of any cancellation fees on an annual policy will affect how much you pay out. It could cost up to 70, so do your calculations first.

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 cover.

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.

Check your policy carefully. Sometimes, a fully comprehensive UK policy will 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.

You can ask your insurer what the policy can offer you for driving in Europe. They might be able to extend your cover for driving outside of the UK.

But sometimes it's better to buy specific, temporary European car insurance. 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 don't impact your standard car insurance policies at home.

What affects the price of daily car insurance and weekly 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.

How to find cheap daily car insurance

With car insurance, having the right level of cover is the most important thing. If you were in an accident, and you're cheap temp cover didn't pay out, you'd be in difficulty. So finding cheap temp car insurance shouldn't be the priority.

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.

Instead of focusing on finding cheap short term car insurance, decide what cover you need first. Then 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.

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

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.

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.