Complete Guide to Temporary Car Insurance

All you need to know about temporary car insurance in the UK

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By Grace Hickman
Updated on Wednesday 15 May 2024

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There are many reasons why you may need temporary car insurance, from having a few months’ cover while you’re home from university over the summer, to having one day insurance if an emergency arises.

Whatever the reason may be, taking out short-term car insurance for a few hours, days, weeks, or months is straightforward and often a cheaper alternative to amending an existing policy.

This ultimate guide to temporary car insurance includes:

What is temporary car insurance?

Common uses for temporary car insurance

How do I get temporary car insurance?

How long can temporary car insurance last?

Temporary car insurance for young drivers

How much does temporary car insurance cost?

Where can I find the best temporary car insurance?

What is temporary car insurance?

Temporary car insurance is a form of cover which provides drivers with protection for a variety of short-term timescales, lasting anything from a few hours to a few months (depending on the provider).

It usually provides immediate cover and can work on a pay-by-day basis – useful if you need to drive a different car for a short amount of time and do not want to make changes to your existing policy.

There are many different types of short-term car insurance policies available to suit all categories of drivers.

Types of temporary car insurance:

The three main types of car insurance include third party, third party fire and theft, and fully comprehensive car insurance, with temporary cover available in the shape of all three.

But, what are the different temporary car insurance policies available? Examples include, but are not limited to:

Why would you need temp car insurance?

Common uses for temporary car insurance include…

  • Immediate cover to drive a new vehicle home

  • Driving when home from university for summer months

  • Cover for hiring or borrowing a vehicle

  • Protection while learning to drive outside of lessons

  • Collecting or delivering a vehicle

  • Driving a courtesy car

  • For emergencies

  • Sharing driving duties on long trips

  • For driving sports cars or classic cars that you rarely use

Whatever your situation, it’s possible to find short-term car insurance to suit you.

How do I get temporary car insurance?

Despite its popular demand, not many people know how to get temporary car insurance in the UK – but getting short-term protection is pretty straightforward.

Most providers in the UK offer car insurance deals for qualified drivers of all ages, but you may find that some companies aren’t as willing to provide temporary car cover to all drivers. This means that you may need to look for specialist temp car insurance, depending on your age and your driving experience.

Skip to: The Best Temporary Car Insurance Provider

Once you choose a provider with a suitable temporary car insurance deal for you, all you have to do is present your personal details and agree to the conditions of the policy after receiving your quote, while the provider takes care of all the paperwork.

With TempCover, drivers are able to retrieve an instant temporary car insurance quote within a matter of minutes; you simply enter your:

  • Vehicle registration

  • Required cover (1 day, 2 days, 1 week - or choose your own duration)

  • Date of birth

  • Home postcode

  • Driving licence type (and how long you’ve held it)

Following this, you will be able to review the details and complete your purchase of fully comprehensive temporary cover online. Be sure you fully understand your policy's terms to avoid invalidating it.

It’s legally required that your car insured at all times, unless you have a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).

How long does temporary car insurance last?

Temporary car insurance can last anything between a few hours to a few months, depending on your individual needs and the conditions of your chosen provider.

Most people looking for short-term cover will typically need it for up to a month, which is why some providers have a maximum timescale of 28 days or so, but there are providers out there for those who require protection for a slightly longer time.

One day car insurance: Can you get car insurance for a day?

It’s completely possible to get car insurance for a day, and the majority of other providers in fact, if ever you need to use a different car or someone else’s car for just one day.

This type of cover could be useful if ever you need to be insured for car sharing over long journeys, emergencies, or driving a new car home if you buy from a private seller.

Read more: One Day Car Insurance Explained

Weekly car insurance

Temporary car insurance lasting a week or so is common for drivers who need to insure themselves on a hired or courtesy car, for example.

It usually works out as being cheaper than adding an optional extra to your existing policy, and should therefore be considered whenever you need to drive a car for a few days.

One month car insurance

One Month Car Insurance policies provide a useful level of cover for around 28 days (in most cases), and are therefore commonly used to cover long-term courtesy cars, hire cars, and a variety of other purposes.

For some providers, this is the maximum level of short-term cover – if you find that you need cover for a longer period than that, you can always renew your policy once it runs out.

Can I get car insurance for 3 months?

Although some providers draw the line at 28 days, there are companies out there that will provide short-term cover for three months or more.

This type of temporary car insurance is useful for students who want to drive their car, or a family member’s car, while they’re home from university for summer or Christmas break.

Temporary car insurance for young drivers

Some young drivers may struggle to find a provider willing to insure them short-term due to age restrictions, but there are companies out there that do offer temporary car insurance for newly qualified drivers.

Temporary car insurance for under 21 year olds can be useful for students that want to drive while they’re home from university, and for any other reason for that matter. For parents, it can be cheaper to get short-term cover for their children, rather than adding them to their own existing policy. Each case varies, so be sure to evaluate your choices carefully.

Temporary car insurance for 17 year olds

Temporary car insurance for learner drivers and newly qualified 17 year olds can be particularly useful, but you may find that many providers refuse to cover such inexperienced drivers for a short period of time.

You may need cover for:

  • Driving outside of lessons while learning to drive

  • Driving a new car home from a private seller

  • Borrowing your parents’ car temporarily until you get your own vehicle

Temporary car insurance for newly qualified drivers is usually bought through a specialist provider, as many big-name companies are unwilling to offer such cover. Some of the providers offering short-term cover for young drivers include:

  • TempCover (minimum 18 years old)

  • Day Insure (minimum 17 years old)

  • Insure Learner Driver (minimum 17 years old)

  • Collingwood (minimum 17 years old)

  • Cuvva (minimum 19 years old)

  • Insure Daily (minimum 19 years old)

  • Insure4aDay (minimum 19 years old)

Read more: Learner Driver Insurance

How much does temporary car insurance cost?

Temporary car insurance in the UK is usually a cheaper alternative to buying a new annual policy or amending a current one, but the price depends on a variety of factors.

Factors considered when calculating the price of temporary car insurance in the UK include:

  • Your age

  • Your car’s make and model

  • How long you need cover for

  • The level of cover required

So, how much is temporary car insurance? We can’t necessarily answer that without knowing the details of your personal situation and the type of cover you require, but you can get a quick quote in around 30 seconds to find out. Simply tap the button below to see some of the cheapest temporary car insurance deals in the UK.

Finding cheap temporary car insurance in the UK

If you’re looking for cheap short-term car insurance in the UK, you’ll need to shop around. Shopping around and getting quotes from a variety of providers allows you to compare quotes and find the best deal for your personal situation.

It’s important not to choose a provider based solely on price, though; ensure that you get adequate cover to protect you from all possible eventualities at an affordable cost.

Below, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding temporary car insurance and short-term cover.

Do I get short-term car insurance when buying car?

If you buy from an approved dealership, the advisor that sells you the car will usually help you sort out an insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for your journey home and thereafter, but do not assume that you automatically have short-term cover after buying a car.

If you purchase a car from a private seller, you will always need to take out cover prior to driving it home. The best way to do so is by taking out temporary one-day car insurance, which covers you for the day and gives you enough time to find a suitable annual policy in the meantime.

Can you tax a car with temporary insurance?

Vehicle Excise Duty – most commonly known as vehicle tax, car tax or road tax – is an annual tax that is legally required for all vehicles used on public roads in the UK.

In order to tax your car, you must have insurance in place. But, according Go Compare, you are not able to tax your car with a short-term policy, as the DVLA and Post office will not accept short-term certificates.

This is one of the very few shortcomings of temporary car insurance, along with the age restrictions that come with certain providers.

Can I Get short-term breakdown cover?

Temporary breakdown cover – or short-term breakdown cover – is an optional extra that can be purchased alongside temporary car insurance.

Policies typically include:

  • Roadside assistance

  • Roadside recovery across the UK

  • Replacement car

This type of add-on can last a few days or a few months, depending on your needs and, of course, the provider’s restrictions.

You are also able to get temporary European breakdown cover, where you’re covered for your travels abroad.

Where can I find the best temporary car insurance?

To find the best temporary car insurance for you, your best bet is to shop around specialist and general online providers to retrieve as many quotes as possible.

Not sure of where to start? Tap the button below to get a quote from one of the best specialist providers of short-term car insurance in the UK.

For more information and advice about getting the best cover for your situation, head over to our insurance resources.

Related articles:

Drive Any Car, Anytime

Cheap One Month Car Insurance in the UK

Temporary Car Insurance for Under 21 Year Olds

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