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, a week or up to 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. That means you could be covered for damage to the car you’re driving – even if you have an accident that’s your fault – as well as any injury you cause to other people or damage to their cars.
How does short-term car insurance work?
Short-term car insurance allows you to quickly get temporary insurance to suit you. It could cover you to drive any vehicle you’re not already insured to drive, including cars, motorbikes, vans and motorhomes.
You apply for the cover – the owner of the vehicle doesn’t have to do anything. You could get covered and be on your way in a matter of minutes.
What’s more, the no-claims discount of both you and the owner isn’t affected if you make a claim. If you do have an accident, though, 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 might 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 or van.
Borrowing your parents’ car occasionally – you can use your parents’ car when you’re home from university or when you’re visiting them for a few days.
Waiting for your car to be repaired – you can use a friend’s car, knowing your temporary car insurance covers you 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 your annual car insurance sorted, 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. It’s 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 car insurance can be useful 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 drive-away insurance to get your new car home from the seller’s house or an auction site.
One-day car insurance
Daily car insurance is a great option if you’re taking a long road trip and want to share the driving with someone else, or you just need to borrow a friend’s car for the day.
Weekend car insurance
If you’re home from university for the weekend or visiting friends, you can get a weekend car insurance policy to cover you for just a couple of days.
Weekly car insurance
If you’re in-between annual car insurance policies and need to bridge the gap, a week-long car insurance policy could be the solution you need.
Monthly car insurance
You can get car insurance for a month if you want to borrow a car while home from university or if you’re car-sharing with a work colleague. Temporary car insurance providers will typically cover you up to 28, or sometimes 30 days, at a time.
You can set how long you want your temporary car insurance 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 could 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 insurance quote in under two minutes. With cover available 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 a hired or rented vehicle. Usually, you’ll need hire car insurance for that.
And you can’t use standard short-term cover if you’re going to use your vehicle for ‘hire or reward’. In other words, to earn money by using it as a taxi. Instead, you’ll need taxi insurance (there are flexible temporary cover options available for taxi drivers too).
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 is likely to be more cost-effective.
What’s included with temporary car insurance?
Short-term car insurance policies typically include:
Flexible cover durations – so you only pay for the cover you need.
Third-party damage – cover for damage to other vehicles or injury to people.
Theft – in case the car is stolen or damaged in an attempted theft.
Damage to the car – cover for fire, malicious or accidental damage.
Recovery after an accident – typically to an approved repairer.
Driving in the EU – many short-term policies will include the minimum third-party cover you’ll need to drive in the EU.
Depending on your needs, you may be able to add on optional extras to your policy, including:
- Breakdown cover
- Legal expenses cover
- Personal accident cover
- Possessions cover for the contents of the car
- Excess protection
- Comprehensive cover for driving in Europe.
Policies vary, so check the policy wording before you click ‘buy’ and make sure you get cover that fits your needs.
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 reward’ 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 separate temporary car insurance 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 or the keys in the ignition, you’re unlikely to be covered for theft.
Wear and tear – if you break down because of an electrical or mechanical fault caused by gradual deterioration or lack of regular maintenance.
Driving without the correct licence – or giving false or misleading information when taking out the policy in order to meet the eligibility requirements.
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:
Personal details, such as:
Your driving and claims history.
The car you want to insure, including:
The value of the vehicle you want to drive
The car’s insurance group.
The cover you need, for example:
How long you want the policy to last
What you need the car for and your estimated mileage
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 on your temporary car insurance.
Customise your policy
You can get one-day insurance cover if that’s all you want, 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 temporary insurance 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, it’s likely to only bethird-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, date of birth and how long you’ve held your driving licence.
- Provide information about the car you want to insure, such as the registration number and its value.
- Give information about your driving history.
- Choose how long you want your short-term cover to last and when you want your policy to start.
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 useful and affordable way to get you to your destination.
Whatever your plans, 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 26,000+ reviews on Trustpilot (November 2023).
- More than 15 years’ experience of helping customers get flexible insurance.
- Offers temporary insurance from one hour to 28 days’ duration.
- Get a quote in under two minutes.
- No impact on your no-claims bonus.
Tempcover gives you flexible temporary car 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
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As of January 2024, Compare the Market had an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 from 38,330 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:
- Have been a permanent UK resident for the past 12 months – or be a British expat
- Be aged between 17 and 78
- Hold a UK/EU full driving licence or a UK provisional licence
- 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.
- Have no criminal convictions
- Not have had a policy declared void by another insurance provider.
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.
Can I get temporary insurance to drive a van?
Yes, you can 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 only 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 car insurance?
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, which could cause your premiums to go up.
Is there anything else I need to know about temporary car insurance?
- 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 insurance 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.
It’s worth noting that temporary car insurance typically provides only the minimum third-party cover required by law to drive in the EU. Our partner TempCover doesn’t offer comprehensive insurance for the EU.
If you want comprehensive cover to drive in Europe, check your standard car insurance policy as it may be included. If it’s not, speak to your insurance provider – they can usually increase your cover for an additional cost.
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.
When you tax your car, the Motor Insurance Database (MID) is checked to make sure your car is insured. If you’ve recently bought a temporary car insurance policy, it can take up to a week for the details to be uploaded to the MID. So you won’t be able to tax your vehicle immediately online.
Luckily, most post offices will allow you to tax your vehicle using the insurance certificate that’s normally emailed to you as soon as you take out short-term cover.
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.
Can new drivers get temporary car insurance?
Yes, new drivers can find temporary car insurance, although there may be certain restrictions in place. For example, you may need to wait a few months after getting your licence to get short-term cover.
Our partner Tempcover will cover drivers aged over the age of 18 who have held a full UK driving licence for six months.
Tempcover can also help learner drivers who want to practice in a friend or family member’s car. To get temporary learner drivers insurance, you need to be aged 17-69, have a clean licence and no pending prosecutions. Other conditions may apply, depending on the provider.