Short term car insurance policies explained

Short Term Car Insurance

Short term car insurance policies allow you to cover yourself temporarily so that you can drive when you need to, without being locked into a 12 month contract.

How does short term car insurance work?

Short term car insurance policies allow you to cover yourself on a vehicle for 1-28 days, offering comprehensive cover during that period.

This is ideal if you just need to borrow a car from a friend to use for a week or two while yours is being repaired, or if you’re staying with a relative for a while and need to use their car while you’re there. It is also perfect for students returning from university whose parents are kind enough to lend them their car over the holidays.

Many people often use short term policies to cover themselves right away after buying a car, before they’ve had time to settle on a good annual policy.

Most short term policies will protect the no claims discount of the owner of the car, but this is not always the case and so you should be sure to read the policy’s small print before lending out your vehicle.

If you are learning to drive in your own car, you can take out a temporary learner’s car insurance policy, which will generally cover you for up to 90 days.

Temporary car insurance policies will generally work out more expensive than an annual policy on a day-day basis, but this is a small price to pay for the flexibility, and still works out good value with cheap policies readily available.

Note that while the name makes it sound similar, short term car insurance is not the same as pay-you-go insurance, which allows you to work out your premium on a price-per-mile basis using black box technology.

For more on this kind of cover, head over to our guide on black box car insurance.

Should I take out a short term policy if I only use my car occasionally?

It is important to remember that to comply with recent Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) rules, it is not enough to simply leave your car off the road, uninsured, and to take out a short term policy as and when you want to drive.

If you want to leave your car off the road for any length of time without insuring it and without facing penalty fines or even prosecution, you need to make sure you take out a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).

If you only use your car occasionally yourself because you share it with someone else, then you can take out a policy that covers yourself and another named driver, sharing the cost between the two of you and avoiding trouble from the DVLA.

Can I drive abroad with short term cover?

As always, given the variety of policies available, you should always read the small print to check exactly what you are covered for, but many insurers will now offer to cover you for driving in Europe for a small additional fee.

Do I need to take out a brand new policy or can I just add someone to an existing one?

You can always simply add a third party to your existing policy to allow, say, a family member or friend to use your vehicle, but this isn’t always the best option if you want to save money and guarantee the highest level of cover.

For one, your no claims bonus will not be maintained if whoever is driving your car has an accident in it, and if they do, your premiums will increase the following year.

Since temporary car insurance policies will invariably offer comprehensive cover, you can keep your peace of mind as well as your no claims bonus when lending out your car on this kind of basis.

How do I qualify for short term car insurance?

Car insurance providers will generally only offer temporary cover to drivers aged 21 and up. Those aged 17-20 will occasionally be able to take out a temporary policy, some providers simply require you to have held a full UK driving license for 6 months or so.

If you are under 21 and need to take out a temporary policy, we’ll be able to help you find the perfect policy if you head over to our car insurance comparison page.

You are also likely to have trouble getting a temporary car insurance policy if you’ve got any points on your license, or if you’ve had any previous driving convictions. Generally, you’ll still be able to find a policy, but it will cost you more than it would for someone with a completely clean license.

How can I get the best deals on short term car insurance?

While buying insurance short term is always going to cost more per day than buying it annually would, there are cheap temporary car insurance policies available, and we can help you find them.

As always, the price of the insurance plan offered will depend on the kind of car you want to insure ñ with cheaper, less powerful cars costing significantly less than, say, the latest sports cars.

But whatever kind of car you want to drive, by far the best way to get the best deal on your cover is to use a free and impartial car insurance comparison tool like ours.

We do all the leg work so you don’t have to, simply fill in your requirements, telling us exactly what you need, and we’ll bring you up a list of the best policies on the market, tailoring a deal to suit you.

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