What is temporary car insurance?
Also known as short-term car insurance, temporary car insurance can cover you for a variety of situations. Whether you’re borrowing a friend’s car or picking up a vehicle you’ve just bought, it can cover you from one hour to one month. You can also use short-term car insurance if you want someone else to drive your car temporarily.
Temporary car insurance typically offers fully comprehensive cover – the highest level of car insurance – which covers any damage you cause to other people and their cars, as well as you and your own vehicle.
How does short-term car insurance work?
Short-term car insurance allows you to quickly get temporary cover to suit you. You can cover cars, motorbikes, vans and motorhomes.
It’s ideal for a one-off journey or if you only drive occasionally. If you’re borrowing a car, the owner doesn’t have to do a thing, and neither the vehicle owner’s no-claims discount nor your no-claims discount will be affected. However, if you do have an accident, it could affect your car insurance premiums in the future.
If you need to insure a car several times in a year, you’re probably better off comparing quotes for annual car insurance instead.
How long or short a time can I get a temporary car insurance policy for?
Short-term car insurance is typically available by the hour, day, week or month, although some policies will insure you for longer than this.
You can set how long you want your policy to last when you take out your cover. Once that time is up, you won’t be able to drive the car on public roads. If you need longer, you can ask your insurance provider to extend your cover for an extra cost.
Get a temporary car insurance quote from our partner
Tempcover compares temporary car insurance to get you a fully comprehensive policy in under two minutes. With cover from one hour to 28 days, including for learners, you only pay for the cover you need. Tempcover has helped millions of drivers get flexible and affordable insurance and has an 'excellent' customer review rating on Trustpilot.Get a Tempcover quote
When would I need to get short-term car insurance?
Situations in which temporary car insurance could be useful include:
Sharing the driving - if you’re going away in a friend’s car or motorhome, having temporary insurance means you can get in the driver’s seat when needed.
Moving home or moving furniture – short-term insurance can cover you if you need to drive a friend’s larger car, meaning you won’t need to hire.
Borrowing your parents’ car occasionally – you can use your parents’ car when you’re home from university, or when you’re visiting mum and dad for a few days.
Waiting for your car to be repaired – you can use a friend’s car, knowing you’re covered while your own car is in the garage.
Getting your new car home – if you’re buying a new car and haven’t yet got insurance, temporary insurance offers a short-term solution.
In an emergency – if a family member or friend is unable to drive their own car, you can step in to help them get around.
Taking a test drive – get cover while you’re test-driving an unfamiliar vehicle.
Staying with friends – friends might loan you their car while you’re visiting.
Business use – temporary cover may be handy if you have to use your personal car for very occasional business trips.
When is temporary insurance not suitable?
Typically, temporary insurance won’t cover you for a hired or rented vehicle. Usually, you’ll need hire car insurance for that.
And you can’t use short-term cover if you’re going to use your vehicle for ‘hire or reward’. In other words, to earn money from using it as a taxi driver. Instead, you’ll need taxi insurance.
Generally speaking, temporary car insurance is only suitable if you want to cover a few days or weeks of driving. If you need cover for any longer than that, an annual policy will probably be more cost-effective.
What’s not covered by temporary car insurance?
Short-term car insurance usually offers fully comprehensive cover, but it won’t cover you for:
More than one driver – at the moment, you can’t add an additional driver to a Tempcover policy. If someone else wants to drive the car, you’ll have to take out two different policies.
Driving a different car – you can’t use your temporary car insurance to drive a car that’s not the one insured.
Theft or damage because of negligence – if you’ve left valuables in the car in full view, or left the car unlocked, you’re unlikely to be covered.
Using the car for excluded purposes – for example, if you use it for hire or anything else excluded in the policy terms and conditions.
Policies differ and so do the things they exclude. Always check the policy carefully to see what is and isn’t covered.
How much does temporary car insurance cost?
The cost depends on a few things, including:
The vehicle you want to drive
How long you want the policy to last for
Other things will be taken into account too, including where you live, your job, your claims history and whether you have any points on your licence. The price will also be affected by how much you’re willing to pay towards the cost of a claim – this is called the ‘voluntary excess’.
Temporary insurance comes with a compulsory excess set by your insurance provider. You can find out the amount during the quote process. It’s then up to you if you want to pay a voluntary excess too.
How to get cheap temporary car insurance
There’s a few ways to cut the cost of your short-term car insurance:
Agree a higher voluntary excess
This may reduce the cost of your premium, but you’ll need to be sure you can afford to pay the excess if you make a claim.
Customise your policy
The beauty of short-term car insurance is that you can be covered for as little as a single day. So you don’t have to pay for cover you don’t need.
Avoid unnecessary add-ons
Think about whether you really need extras like breakdown cover before you add them to your policy.
Don’t just take our word for it, join thousands of other happy savers who Comparethemarket.
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Why get temporary car insurance through Compare the Market?
Cover from 1 hour and up to 28 days
No impact on your no-claims bonus
Get on the road in minutes
Only pay for what you need
What alternatives are there to temporary insurance?
- Comprehensive car insurance If you have comprehensive car insurance, it’s worth checking your policy to see if you’re already covered for driving another car. If you are, it’s likely to only be third-party cover.
- Becoming a named driver If you’re borrowing a friend’s car, they could add you to their policy as a named driver. However, this could be a more expensive option if you only need the car for a short time.
- Courtesy car cover If your car is in the garage but your insurance provider has lent you a courtesy car for the day, you may already be covered by your insurance policy or by the garage.
If none of these alternatives apply, then temporary insurance might be exactly what you’re looking for.
What do I need to get a quote?
It’s easy to get a short-term car insurance quote. You’ll just need to:
- Give your personal details – including your name, address and date of birth
- Provide information about the car you want to insure
- Give information about your driving history
- Choose how long you want your short-term cover to last.
What our expert says...
“Temporary car insurance can cover you for a day, a week or any period up to 28 days. There are lots of scenarios where temporary car insurance can be useful, from sharing the driving in a friend’s car to getting your brand-new car home. And because you usually get fully comprehensive cover, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you have the highest level of car insurance available.”
- Rebecca Goodman, Insurance expert
- Offers temporary insurance from one hour to 28 days’ duration.
- Cover available in under two minutes.
- 4.6-star customer review rating based on 20,000+ reviews on Trustpilot.
- More than 10 years’ experience of helping customers get flexible insurance.
Tempcover gives you flexible insurance to suit your needs, whether you’re borrowing a car, test-driving a new vehicle or driving away your new purchase.
With fully comprehensive cover available as standard and as a separate, standalone policy, your no-claims discount won’t be affected.
If you want to read more about short-term car insurance, go back to the top of the page.Get a Tempcover quote
Frequently asked questions
Am I eligible to get temporary insurance?
To get a temporary insurance quote via Compare the Market, you’ll need to meet Tempcover’s eligibility criteria. You don’t have to be the registered owner of the vehicle, you just need to have the owner’s permission to drive it.
Read Tempcover's full eligibility requirements to find out more.
What does temporary car insurance cover?
Temporary car insurance typically offers comprehensive cover – the fullest level of protection available.
It’s a good idea to read the policy wording and documentation available on the declaration page of the Tempcover journey, directly before the payment page, so you know what is and isn’t covered.
Can I be added to another person’s insurance policy?
It’s possible to be added to someone’s insurance policy as a named driver, but temporary insurance could be a quicker and simpler option. Plus, getting yourself added to someone’s policy could be expensive, especially if you’re a young driver.
Can I get temporary insurance to drive a van?
Yes, you can easily get temporary van insurance if you need to borrow a van to drop off items at the recycling centre, move furniture or take a test drive in a van you’re thinking of buying, for example. But it won’t cover you if you hire a van.
If you run a business, you can also get temporary insurance for an employee to use a van for short periods.
Can I use temporary insurance for a vehicle I own?
If you own a car but drive it occasionally – for example, when you’re home during university holidays, or you have a convertible or motorhome that you only use over the summer – short-term insurance could be a cost-effective option.
If you don’t intend to insure your car to cover the long periods when you’re not using it, you’ll have to keep it off the road and get a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).
What happens if I have an accident while I’ve got temporary cover?
Typically, short-term insurance gives you comprehensive cover, which means you could be fully covered if you have an accident. And if you have an accident while driving someone else’s car with their permission, their no-claims bonus won’t be affected.
If you do have an accident while you have temporary cover, you’ll have to declare it when renewing your annual car insurance policy.
Is there anything else I need to be aware of about temporary cover?
- Temporary insurance isn’t a replacement for annual cover. If you’re looking for longer-term cover, an annual insurance policy is likely to be more cost effective.
- Temporary cover won’t count towards a no-claims bonus.
- You’ll have to pay for your policy in full before you drive off.
Can I use temporary insurance to drive in Europe?
If you’re borrowing a car or sharing the drive with a friend, you can use temporary cover to drive in Europe. But check the policy covers the countries you’re travelling to.
You can ask your existing car insurance provider to cover you if you want to take your car to Europe for a trip.
Who is Tempcover and what is its relationship with Compare the Market?
Tempcover is a provider of short-term insurance in the UK. Tempcover is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is underwritten by a panel of authorised and regulated insurers, chosen for their competitiveness, cover and service levels provided.
Compare the Market’s relationship with Tempcover is purely that of a business relationship and no common ownership or control rights exist between us.
Can I drive a vehicle without insurance if I’ve just bought it?
No, driving a vehicle without insurance is against the law. If you’ve just bought a new car, temporary insurance can give you the short-term cover you need while you shop around to find insurance that suits your needs.
Can I tax a vehicle using temporary insurance?
Yes. You can tax your vehicle with a temporary policy. You can do this:
- Online via the DVLA website
- At a local post office with the temporary insurance documents you’ve been sent.
Can I use temporary insurance for business use?
If you very occasionally need to use your car for business purposes, you might find that temporary insurance is a more cost-effective option than adding business use all-year round to an existing policy.
Short-term insurance could be useful if several employees are travelling together in a company car or their own car and need to share the driving.