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 new vehicle, you can insure a car for a day, an hour or a month.
Short-term car insurance also allows someone else to drive your car temporarily.
Temporary car insurance typically offers comprehensive cover – the highest level of car insurance – which could cover injury you cause to other people and any damage to 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. You apply for the cover – the owner of the vehicle doesn’t have to do a thing.
What’s more, the no-claims discount of both you and the owner isn’t affected. But 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.
Can I get temporary car insurance on a friend’s car?
Yes, you can get temporary car insurance on a friend’s or family member’s car. It means they won’t have to pay to add you as a named driver to their policy. Their no claims bonus won’t be affected either.
When would I need to get temporary car insurance?
Situations in which temporary car insurance could be useful include:
Sharing the driving - if you’re going on a road trip 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 could 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, having short-term insurance means you can step in to help them get around.
Taking a test drive – a one-day car insurance policy could cover you while you’re test-driving an unfamiliar vehicle.
Learning to drive – if you’re a learner driver who’s borrowing a friend or family member’s car to practise in, temporary car insurance could provide the right cover. This is a useful alternative to learner driver insurance, if you’re only practising occasionally.
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.
How long can you have temporary car insurance 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.
Hourly car insurance
Ideal if you’re buying privately and planning a test drive. It could also be handy if you need to drive your new car home from the seller’s house or an auction site.
One-day car insurance
A day insurance policy is a great option if you’re taking a long trip and want to share the driving with someone else, or just need to borrow a friend’s car for the day.
Weekend car insurance
If you’re home from university for the weekend, this could provide cover for just a couple of days.
Weekly car insurance
If you’re in-between annual car insurance policies and you need cover for a few days.
Monthly car insurance
Longer cover if you want to borrow a car while home from university or if you’re car-sharing with a work colleague.
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 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 is short-term insurance not suitable?
Temporary insurance typically 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. Instead, you’ll need taxi insurance.
Generally speaking, temporary car insurance is only suitable if you want to insure a car for a day or a few 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 comprehensive cover, but it won’t cover you for:
Using the car for excluded purposes – for example, if you use it for hire or anything else excluded in the policy terms and conditions.
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.
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:
Your claims history
The vehicle you want to drive
How long you want the policy to last for
How much voluntary excess you’re willing to pay towards a claim.
How to get the cheapest temporary car insurance
If you’re looking for the cheapest temporary car insurance, here’s a few ways to cut the cost:
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
You can be covered for just 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.
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, though, it’s likely to only be third-party cover.
- Become a named driver - if you’re borrowing a friend’s car, they could add you to their policy as a named driver. But 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 is flexible to your needs, and can cover you for a day, a week, or any period up to 28 days. Whether you’re sharing the driving on a road trip, or borrowing a car from a friend, it can be a very useful and affordable way to get you to your destination.
Whatever your plans are, it’s important to stay safe on the roads. Choosing temporary insurance could save you money, but it will also ensure you’re fully covered should any incidents occur on your travels.”
- Julie Daniels, Insurance expert
Why get short-term car insurance with Tempcover?
- 4.7-star customer review rating based on 25,000+ reviews on Trustpilot (August 2023)
- More than 15 years’ experience of helping customers get flexible insurance
- Offers temporary insurance from one hour to 28 days’ duration.
- Cover available in under two minutes.
- No impact on your no-claims bonus.
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 comprehensive cover available as standard and as a separate, standalone policy, your no-claims discount won’t be affected.Get a Tempcover quote
Don’t just take our word for it, join thousands of other happy savers who Compare the Market
As of July 2023, Compare the Market had an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 from 31,285 people who left a review on Trustpilot. The score 4.8 corresponds to the Star Label ‘Excellent’. Find out more
Frequently asked questions
Am I eligible to get temporary insurance?
To get a temporary insurance quote via Compare the Market, you’ll have to meet Tempcover’s eligibility requirements. You’ll need to:
- Be a permanent UK resident
- Be aged between 18 and 78 to drive a car or 17 to 77 to drive a van
- Hold a UK/EU full driving licence or provisional licence issued by the DVLA
- Have no more than seven penalty points on your licence in the past three years
- Have not been disqualified from driving in the past two years
- Have made no more than two fault car insurance claims in the past three years.
You don’t have to be the registered owner of the vehicle, you just need to have the car owner’s permission to drive it.
What does temporary car insurance cover?
Temporary car insurance typically offers comprehensive cover – the highest level of protection available.
It’s a good idea to read the policy wording and documentation available on the declaration page of the Tempcover application process, directly before the payment page, so you know what is and isn’t covered.
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 have temporary cover?
Typically, a short-term policy provides the same level of cover as comprehensive insurance, 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 insurance, you’ll have to declare it when renewing your annual car insurance policy.
Is there anything else I need to know 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 temporary car insurance policy covers the countries you’re travelling to.
You can ask your existing car insurance provider to cover you if you want to drive your car in Europe.
Who is Tempcover and what is its relationship with Compare the Market?
Tempcover is a provider of short-term car 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 them.
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 year-round to an existing policy.
Temporary car insurance could be useful if several employees are travelling together in a company car or their own car and need to share the driving.
Sources and methodology
Average daily rental prices per day were determined by gathering rental prices for a compact vehicle and an SUV with the pick-up and drop-off points of London Heathrow, Manchester Airport and Edinburgh Airport.
Compare the Market looked at the cost using the above metrics across one, three, five and seven days, starting 21/6/23. These prices do not take into account any additional fees such as young drivers or alternative pick-up or drop-off times. Car rental websites Enterprise and Sixt were used, and all information was accurate as of 20/4/23.
Average temporary car insurance costs were provided by a third partner, Temp Cover, and are based on any age of any driver of any car.