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What is a car insurance cover note?

What is a car insurance cover note?

You may have heard the phrase ‘car insurance cover note’ but not been 100% sure what it is and when you might get one. See what a cover note is and how it differs from a certificate of insurance. 

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
minute read
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Posted 16 DECEMBER 2019

Cover notes for vehicle insurance 

A “cover note” is the phrase insurance providers use if they issue a temporary certificate of motor insurance. It provides proof that a vehicle is insured until final documents can be sent. Cover notes used to be far more common in the past when it took longer to issue certificates of insurance. They’re less usual now, but you might still come across one.

When are cover notes issued?

Cover notes are issued at the start of an insurance policy or sometimes when a policy is amended, for example, when there is a change of vehicle.  
Not every insurance provider issues cover notes. Many insurance providers will issue you a certificate as soon as you buy your insurance. Many will also email you confirmation within 24 hours of you paying for a policy.

Can I use a cover note as proof of insurance?

You can use a cover note as proof that you’re insured. For example, if you’re stopped by the police and asked to produce proof of insurance, they will accept a cover note if your insurance certificate has not yet arrived.

What information is in a car insurance cover note?

A cover note will typically contain details like:

  • your name and address 
  • the vehicle details and registration number 
    level of cover, eg: comprehensive insurance
  • vehicle use, eg: social, domestic and pleasure 
  • any excesses 
  • who can drive the vehicle 
  • policy numbers 
  • special conditions 
  • expiry date 

Check all the details on your cover note to make sure they’re correct. These could be important if you need to make a claim, so check your date of birth is right and your name is spelled correctly, for example. It could invalidate your claim if your details are wrong. 
If there’s a problem, let your insurance provider know as soon as possible. This will also help avoid mistakes being repeated when your full insurance documents are issued.

How long do cover notes last?

A cover note will typically last for 30 days, but it depends on the insurance provider. The certificate of insurance will replace the cover note when issued.

What happens if my certificate doesn’t arrive?

Your certificate should arrive before your cover note runs out, but if this doesn’t happen get in touch with your insurance provider straight away. They should be able to let you know what’s happening and how they plan to resolve the problem. You can also check they have the correct address details for you. 
If the certificate is delayed, your insurance provider should send you an extension to your cover note. Make sure that your extension starts at the same time your old cover note finishes, so there’s no gap in cover. 

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