What is temporary car insurance?

Last updated January 26, 2022

Car insurance is necessary to drive any vehicle. All motorists need to purchase insurance before a car can legally be driven on British roads, but what if you only need cover for a short period? Car insurance doesn’t come cheap, so it might not seem fair to have to buy a full year’s cover when it’s not needed or risk increasing your premium by altering your current policy. That’s where temporary car insurance comes in.

Temporary insurance offers short term comprehensive cover and can come in a number of forms, whether it’s, for example, an emergency cover, business use or insurance for overseas. It is a policy that can adapt to the motorist’s needs when long-term insurance is not required or if a car’s current policy does not cover you. We have taken a look at who it is for, what it covers and how it works to answer all your questions about temporary car insurance.

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Types of temporary car insurance

If you are looking for temporary insurance cover, there are a number of policies available for all motorists including learner drivers, new drivers or those who want to borrow someone else’s car. If you are in a situation where you might need short-term cover, we’ve taken a look at who it is ideal for, how it works and what it covers.

  • Temporary car insurance for learner drivers

    Temporary insurance cover can come in very handy for those who are learning to drive. Provisional drivers may need to be insured on a relative’s or friend’s car while they learn. Rather than alter the owner of the car’s insurance policy to add the learner, a temporary policy can be taken out and could save a lot of money.

  • Temporary car insurance for new drivers

    The benefits of having temporary car insurance for new drivers are similar to learner drivers. If you have recently passed your driving test and don’t yet own a car, it can be handy to take out a short-term policy to drive a relative’s or friend’s car. Car insurance for beginner drivers are often the most expensive policies, therefore, temporarily having this kind of policy could potentially save a lot of money.

  • Temporary car insurance for young drivers

    Car insurance for young drivers falls into the same category as new drivers. Those under 25 tend to get charged higher rates than those who are older and more experienced. Short term car insurance for new drivers, so they are able to drive a borrowed car at intervals, could be a cheaper option to give you more time to save up for your own car. However, whether you opt for one-day insurance or one-month insurance, you must be over 18 and some providers will not cover those under the age of 21.

  • Student temporary car insurance

    Some students may not have a car during term time, but want to drive someone else’s car back home during the summer break. Rather than rely on others to drive you around, you could take out a temporary car insurance policy and drive yourself.

  • Temporary insurance for buying a car

    Driveaway insurance is a type of short term insurance that allows you to get behind the wheel and drive your new car home before you’ve had the chance to get your annual insurance policy in place. It is ideal for drivers who just need to cover their new vehicle temporarily.

  • Temporary insurance for emergencies

    Emergency car insurance is coverage for a vehicle that you need in an emergency. For example, if anything happened to a family member or friend and they were unable to drive, you may get insurance to drive a vehicle you don’t have permanent insurance for. Because emergency cover is so flexible, you will be able to choose exactly what you need based on your situation.

  • Temporary insurance for business use

    If you are planning on driving your personal vehicle for work, you may need a temporary business policy. Business use covers your vehicle when you’re visiting clients, travelling between job sites, and sharing a drive with a colleague.

  • Temporary insurance for car sharing

    Temporary insurance is ideal for car sharing because it not only covers you to use another vehicle, but also someone else using your vehicle for a set period of time, making it ideal for road trips. This insurance is a separate, standalone policy that won’t affect your existing insurance and will protect the owner’s No Claims Discount if something were to happen.

  • Temporary insurance for classic cars

    Classic car enthusiasts may drive a classic car as a secondary car, therefore, they may not need to be insured to drive it for the full year. They may only bring the classic car out for the summer months or for car shows. Short-term cover will allow them to take their car out without having to pay out a fortune.

  • Temporary insurance for driving in Europe

    If you are planning on using your car abroad, you may not be covered on your annual policy. You may be able to add European cover to your existing policy or take out temporary insurance to cover you for the trip.

How do I get temporary car insurance?

In order to get temporary car insurance, you will need to fill out a policy form, which includes:

  • Personal details including name and address
  • Your driving history and licence information
  • Information about the car you will be insured on
  • The date range for which you’d like to be insured

As soon as you’ve bought the policy, you are legally allowed to drive the car immediately providing you have the owner’s permission.

How long is temporary insurance cover?

Temporary car insurance can often range from one day to a month depending on why you need it. There are many reasons why someone would need insurance for a short period, so we’ve taken a look at the most popular reasons as examples.

  • One-day temporary car insurance

    If you have an emergency and need access to a friend’s car for one day then a short-term policy is ideal. This could include moving house, visiting a relative or borrowing a car while yours is in the garage. The one-day temporary policy could give you the freedom to do what you need to do without relying on the owner of the car to chauffeur you around.

  • One-month temporary car insurance

    For those who need cover for a little longer, the policy can extend up to a month. For example, if you have sold your old car and are in the process of buying your next car but need to borrow someone else’s in the meantime if you’re a student returning home for the summer or if you have a road trip planned, temporary car insurance could come in handy.

Where can I get temporary car insurance?

Many insurance providers will offer temporary cover. As a first step, it could be worth checking that your current car insurance provider has a temporary policy as an option to see how much you could get it for. From there, it is advisable to shop around to seek out the best deal.

How much is temporary car insurance?

Temporary car insurance could work out to be the cheapest option rather than being added to an already existing policy, particularly for the owner of the car. If whoever borrows the car is involved in an accident, and they have temporary car insurance, it won’t affect the owner’s policy or their no claims policy. However, like all other policies, the cost will depend on a number of factors, including the car's value and the amount of voluntary excess you choose to pay.

Am I eligible for temporary car insurance?

You must fit the following criteria to be eligible for temporary insurance:

  • You must be aged between 17-78
  • You must hold one of the following licenses:
    • Full UK licence
    • Full EU driving licence
    • UK provisional driving licence
    • You must have a car that is:
  • You must not have 7 licence points or have been disqualified from driving in the past two years
  • You must have a car that is:
    • Valued between £1500 and £65,000
    • In roadworthy condition and taxed
    • Not modified in any way except for those designed to aid disabled drivers
    • Right-hand drive
    • No more than 8 seats
    • Not declared SORN