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Temporary car insurance UK 2024 guide

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If you need to borrow someone’s car, want to share the load on a road trip, or take a test drive, annual car insurance may not be appropriate. That’s where temporary car insurance comes in. It can give you the freedom to drive legally in the UK, without tying you to an unnecessarily long policy.

Find out what it is, what it covers, and how to get the cheapest temporary car insurance quote you can with our guide below.

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Hourly: you can take out short-term car insurance for as little as one hour. Which could be perfect if you just need to pick up a large item and bring it home using someone else’s car

 

Daily: if you’re moving house, and need to borrow a car, it’s possible to secure one-day car insurance

 

Weekly: if you want to go on a driving holiday, but don’t own a car, you could take out a week’s worth of temporary car insurance to borrow a loved one’s vehicle

 

Monthly: it’s possible to take out temporary car insurance that lasts for up to a few months, in case you need cover for a bit longer

How does temporary car insurance work?

Temporary car insurance handing keys over
Temporary car insurance can be helpful for a number of reasons, including test-driving or borrowing a car (Adobe)

Temporary car insurance is a short-term policy that can be arranged in a matter of minutes.

It normally comes with fully comprehensive cover as standard, allowing you to claim for:

  • Damage to yourself, or the vehicle you were driving, following an accident
  • Damage to a third party following an accident
  • Damages resulting from a fire
  • Theft, or attempted theft

It may be possible, however, to also find temporary car insurance with third party-only cover, or third party, fire and theft

Since it is a standalone policy, temporary car insurance won’t affect the no-claims bonus of the car’s owner if you do make a claim.

This means it can be perfect for a range of scenarios, from borrowing a loved one’s car for the weekend, to the occasional use of your own vehicle for business purposes.

Oliver Crawford circle new

“The two critical things customers should be aware of when purchasing temporary car insurance is the limited nature of cover levels and high excesses. Temporary insurance often does not provide covers that you would expect from annual insurance. There will be no courtesy car if yours needs a repair, understandably, but the vast majority of policies won’t offer any cover for windscreens or keys so be aware of the limitations of the cover.


“Additionally, before you purchase, note the excess you will have to pay if you claim. These are often incredibly high, with a compulsory excess of £750 being not uncommon. They will usually be between £250-£750 depending on the driver and policy you purchase so be aware a claim will result in a hefty out of pocket expense.”

How much is temporary car insurance?

As a bit of guidance on the cost of temporary car insurance, here are the prices some specialist providers advertise for their cover. Bear in mind that providers update their rates at different times, and the figures below may not reflect the quote you receive today:

ProviderOne hourOne dayOne week
Cuvva[1]£10.39£14.68£32.62
Dayinsure[2]£19£58
GoShorty[3]£16.98£20.44£42.02
RAC[4]£20.78£33.87£90.93

However, as with any other car insurance policy, the cost of temporary car cover will be informed by a range of factors. These include:

  • Your chosen provider
  • Whether you want hourly, daily, weekly or monthly cover
  • Which optional extras you add on
  • The excess you agree to pay
  • The car you want to drive
  • Your driving history
  • Your age
  • Your gender
  • Your location
  • How many miles you want to drive

What cover is included with temporary car insurance?

Although the specifics of what is and isn’t covered by temporary car insurance is dependent on your chosen provider, you can usually expect the following:

What is covered by short-term car insurance 

  • Damage to your car: if your car is damaged, be it in an accident, fire or because of vandalism, you can make a claim
  • Theft: if your car is stolen, or damaged in an attempted robbery
  • Third party liability: this means your cover will pay for any damages to another driver if you get into an accident, including personal injury or death
  • Protected no-claims bonus: the vehicle owner’s no-claims discount won’t be affected if a claim is made
  • Accident recovery: if you car can’t be repaired at the side of the road, you’ll be towed to an approved garage
  • Personal accident: you may be able to make a personal accident claim on your temporary insurance
  • Business use: certain forms of business car insurance, such as travelling to a conference or visiting a client, are covered by a temporary policy
  • European cover: you may be able to drive with third party cover in Europe using your temporary car insurance (this is sometimes an optional extra)
  • Breakdown cover: you can add breakdown cover for an extra cost if you feel like you need it

What isn’t covered by short-term car insurance

  • The excess you agree to pay: you will need to pay a pre-agreed excess when making a claim
  • Unnamed drivers: only the driver named on the policy will be covered by your temporary car insurance
  • Driving outside the agreed period: for example, if you’ve paid for two hours of temporary car insurance, you won’t be covered for a third hour
  • Wear and tear: any electrical or mechanical breakdown or deterioration won’t be covered by your short-term cover
  • Unattended keys, or keys left in the ignition: if your car is stolen or damaged due to keys left unattended or in the ignition, you won’t be able to make a claim
  • Release from an impound: if your vehicle is impounded while driving on temporary car insurance, you won’t be able to make a claim
  • Courtesy car: you likely won’t receive a courtesy car if your vehicle needs to be repaired

12 times when you might need short-term car insurance

Temporary car insurance has more applications than you might think. The following are just some of the reasons why you might take out short-term cover:

  1. Taking a test drive: while you might need a specific form of temporary cover, you can use a short-term policy to test a new car before making a purchase
  2. Borrowing your parents’ car: if you only occasionally borrow your parents’ vehicle, but not enough to justify becoming a named driver, you could take out a short-term cover
  3. Returning home at Christmas: if you return home for the holidays, and need to get around, you could take out a temporary policy on a friend or family member’s car
  4. Driving your newly-purchased vehicle home: if you’ve just bought a new set of wheels, but haven’t had the time to properly compare car insurance quotes, a one-day car insurance policy can help you get home safely and legally
  5. Taking a weekend trip: if you want to take a weekend trip, in the UK or in Europe, and don’t have a car, you could use temporary car insurance to borrow a friend’s
  6. Sharing the load on a road trip: you can take it in turns with a friend driving their car on a road trip if you take out short-term car insurance
  7. Moving home: if you’re moving home, or even just furniture, and need to borrow a loved one’s larger vehicle, you could consider one-day car insurance
  8. Waiting for repairs: if your car is in the shop, but you need a replacement, temporary car insurance can help you use someone else’s vehicle
  9. In an emergency: if a loved one is injured and can’t drive, you could help them get around in their own vehicle with temporary cover
  10. Learning to drive: if you’re learning to drive, but don’t want to take out a longer learner driver insurance policy, you could look into temporary insurance. This could be especially useful if you’re taking refresher lessons
  11. Travelling to a business conference: temporary cover can provide you with the right level of business car insurance when you need to make a work-related trip
  12. Visiting clients: if it’s sales season at your job, and you need to visit clients around the country, you could take out temporary business use car insurance
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Who is eligible for temporary car insurance?

When taking out temporary car insurance, both you and the vehicle you want to drive will need to meet certain eligibility criteria. This will vary from provider to provider, so there may be exceptions to the following:

The driver

As the driver, you’ll likely need:

  • To be between 17/18 and 75 years old
  • A full, valid UK driving licence
  • A permanent address
  • Permission from the car owner to drive and insure the vehicle
  • A maximum of one fault claim in the last 12 months
  • No more than nine penalty points, and no disqualifications, in the last 12 months
  • No driving offences in the last six months to three years (depending on the offence)
  • To have never been refused car insurance, or had a policy cancelled
  • No unspent criminal convictions, aside from motoring offences

The vehicle

The vehicle you are looking to drive will likely need to:

  • Be registered in the UK
  • Be worth less than the maximum market value requirements (usually between £65,000 and £75,000)
  • Have no more than eight seats, including the driver’s seat
  • Not be a hire or rental vehicle
  • Not be under a lease agreement of 12 months or less
  • Not have any engine modifications, body kits or alloy wheels, unless fitted by the manufacturer or carried out for a disabled driver or passenger
  • Not be a heavy goods vehicle (HGV), or weight over 3.5 tonnes

5 tips for getting cheaper temporary car insurance

There are certain things you can do to try and bring down the cost of your temporary car insurance, including:

  1. Calculate exactly how long you need to be covered: if you work out exactly how long you will need insurance for, potentially even to the number of hours, you can stop yourself from paying for time you won’t use
  2. Avoid unnecessary add-ons: decide ahead of time whether or not you need optional extras such as breakdown cover or motor legal protection, and avoid the upsell when purchasing your policy
  3. Borrow a smaller car: if you can, borrowing a smaller car in a lower insurance group can save you money on your short-term premium
  4. Opt for a higher excess: if you agree to pay a higher excess when you make a claim, you can reduce the cost of your premium. However, make sure you only agree to a level of excess you can realistically pay in the event of an accident
  5. Compare temporary car insurance: by thoroughly comparing the options available to you, you can find the cheapest temporary car insurance to suit your situation
Oliver Crawford circle new

“All the normal advice around keeping car insurance low is applicable to temporary cover but customers should ensure they shop around for quotes which, while being more difficult than for annual cover, is very worthwhile. There are more providers of short term car insurance than you realise. Veygo (part of the Admiral group) and Aviva both provide cover alongside half a dozen more brands that specialise in short term cover so get a few quotes before making the purchase.”

How to compare short-term car insurance

car insurance temp
Be sure to get short-term car insurance for the exact time you require, if it expires while you a driving, you could be liable to fines. (Adobe)

You have two main options when comparing temporary car insurance. You can either use a price comparison website to compare the cost and coverage of a large number of policies at once.

Or, you can go to a provider’s website, and get a quote directly. That could be a larger mainstream provider, or an insurer that specialises in short-term cover.

Here are some of the key players in the temporary car insurance market:

Temporary car insurance providerWhat if offers
CuvvaShort-term cover from one hour to 28 days; you can extend your cover on the Cuvva app if you need to drive the car longer.
DayinsureTemporary car insurance from one hour to 30 days for a car, van or motorhome and temporary learner insurance for your own or a borrowed car.
GoShortyHourly, daily, weekly and monthly insurance. It covers private drivers aged 18 to 75 and commercial vehicle drivers aged 19 to 75.
InsureDailyTemporary car insurance from between one and 84 days, including learner drivers between 17 to 30.
JauntTemporary car insurance from one hour to 30 days for drivers aged 18 to 75, with cover arranged in minutes.
RACTemporary car insurance from one hour to 30 days with fully comprehensive cover for leisure or business.
TempcoverTemporary car insurance from one hour to 28 days. Cover options include car, van, courier, impounded vehicles, learners, expats and students.
VeygoOffered through Admiral, Veygo temporary car insurance from one hour to 60 days, with an immediate start if necessary.

What details do I need to get a temporary car insurance deal?

When you’re looking to get temporary car insurance, you’ll likely need to have the following to hand to compare quotes:

  1. Gather your details 
    You’ll need:
    The vehicle registration number (number plate)
    Your name, DOB and address
    Your driving licence number
    Details of any claims in the past 12 months
  2. Choose your policy
    You’ll need to decide on:
    What level of cover you want
    How long you need the cover for
    Any additional extras, such as excess protection
  3. Compare temporary car insurance quotes
    Once you have put in the relevant information, you can compare temporary car insurance. Alongside price, make sure to pay attention to any policy exclusions.
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You might find it difficult or more expensive to get short-term car insurance if you:

  • Are aged 75 or older
  • Have passed your driving test in the past three months
  • Are not a permanent UK resident 
  • Have more than seven points on your driving license
  • Were previously disqualified from driving
  • Had more than two fault claims in the past three years
  • Have a criminal conviction
  • Had a previous insurance policy voided by an insurer or insurance refused
  • Want to drive a car that’s not taxed or doesn’t have a valid Ministry of Transport test

Temporary car insurance FAQs

While it will vary from provider-to-provider, and hugely depends on your driving profile, the cost of one-day car insurance can range anywhere from £15 to £33.

You can get temporary car insurance as a 17-year-old, although this isn’t the case for all providers. In fact, you can even get temporary insurance as a learner driver, if you need to have a few top up sessions in a car that isn’t owned by your driving instructor.

Most providers will also have an upper age limit, usually around 75 years old. So you may not be able to get short-term car insurance in your 80s.

It’s possible to get temporary car insurance as a new driver, as long as you meet the other eligibility requirements of the provider in question. It can be useful if you’ve only recently passed, and want to borrow someone else’s car for a short period of time.

The no-claims discounts of both the car owner and driver won’t be affected if a claim is made on a temporary car insurance policy. This is because it is a standalone policy that is separate from any annual policies in place.

It is also why temporary car insurance can be more appealing than adding someone as a named driver. If someone is added as a named driver, and has an accident, the no-claims bonus will be affected, unlike with short-term cover.

However, you should know you won’t usually be able to build up your no-claims bonus using temporary car insurance.

You can use temporary car insurance to tax your vehicle. Both car insurance and Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) are legal requirements when driving in the UK.

When you buy car insurance, including short-term cover, your details will be sent to the Motor Insurance Database (MID). When you go to tax your car in England, Scotland and Wales, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will check the MID to see if your vehicle is insured. In Northern Ireland, you will need a cover note or certificate of insurance to tax your car.

In theory, you can take out short-term car insurance multiple times a year. However, if you find yourself repeatedly taking out temporary car insurance, you might want to consider whether a different form of cover makes more sense financially. This could be your own annual policy, or being added as a named driver to someone else’s insurance.

Certain temporary car insurance policies may include some business use.  However, it’s also possible to take out specific short-term business car insurance. This will likely cover you for:

  • Visiting another office that isn’t your main workplace
  • Driving to conferences, or ad hoc in-person meetings with clients
  • Sharing the driving on a longer business trip with a colleague
  • Insuring yourself on a colleague’s car

If you have an accident, you should inform your temporary car insurance provider as soon as possible, even if you don’t intend to make a claim. If driving someone else’s car, you should also inform them of the incident. 

If you do make a claim, you’ll need to follow the steps required by your provider. This will normally involve providing evidence related to the claim in question, and paying the excess as outlined in your policy.

It is possible to take out specific temporary car insurance that’ll allow you to drive abroad, typically in Europe.

You must have car insurance whenever you are driving a vehicle, new or otherwise. Temporary car insurance can be used to drive a new car home from the dealership. This means you can take your time comparing annual car insurance policies while still staying on the right side of the law.

Depending on your temporary car insurance provider, you may be able to add the following optional extras to your policy:

  • Breakdown cover
  • Driving abroad
  • Motor legal protection
  • Excess protection, which reimburses you for your excess if you need to make a claim
  • Excess reduction cover, which reduces the excess you’d need to pay if you made a claim

If temporary car insurance isn’t right for your needs, but you still want something a bit more flexible than an annual car insurance policy, you could:

  • Be added as a named driver on someone else’s policy (though bear in mind, if you have an accident, the policyholder’s no-claims bonus will be affected)
  • Take out a pay-as-you-go car insurance policy, where you’ll be charged for the miles you drive

Connor Campbell

Finance Writer

Connor Campbell is an experienced personal and business finance writer who has been producing online content for almost a decade. 

Connor is the personal finance expert for Independent Advisor, guiding readers through everything they need to know about car insurance and home insurance. From how much it costs to the best insurance providers in the UK, he’s here to help you find the right policy for your needs. 

In his capacity as writer and spokesperson at NerdWallet, Connor explored a number of topics close to his heart, such as the impact of our increasingly cashless society, and the hardships and heroics of British entrepreneurs. His commentary was featured in sites such as The Mirror, the Daily Express and Business Insider

At financial trading firm Spreadex, meanwhile, his market commentary was featured in outlets such as The Guardian, BBC, Reuters and the Evening Standard

Connor is a voracious reader with an MA in English, and is dedicated to making life’s financial decisions a little bit easier by doing away with jargon and needless complexity.

emma lunn

Emma Lunn

Money Writer

Emma Lunn is a multi-award winning journalist who specialises in personal finance and consumer issues. 

With more than 18 years’ experience in personal finance, Emma has covered topics including mortgages, first-time buyers, leasehold, banking, debt, budgeting, broadband, energy, pensions and investments. 

Emma’s one of the most prolific freelance personal finance journalists with a back catalogue of work in newspapers such as The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, the Mail on Sunday, and the Mirror. 

As a freelancer she has also completed various in-house contracts at The Guardian, The Independent, Mortgage Solutions, Orange, and Moneywise. She also writes regularly for specialist magazines and websites such as Property Hub, Mortgage Strategy and YourMoney.com. 

She has a real passion for helping people learn about money – especially when many people are struggling to get by in today’s challenging economic climate – and prides herself on simplifying complex subjects.