Temporary car insurance

Temporary car insurance, also known as short-term car insurance, allows you to get fast, flexible cover from as little as one hour, one week or longer.

What is temporary car insurance?

Also known as short-term car insurance, temporary car insurance covers you for driving someone else’s car for anything from one hour to 28 days.

It typically offers fully comprehensive cover – the highest level of car insurance – which covers any damage you may cause to other people and their cars, as well as you and your vehicle.

You can also use short-term car insurance if you want someone else to drive your car temporarily.

How does short-term car insurance work?

Short-term car insurance allows you to get temporary cover to suit you in minutes.

It’s ideal if you need to get behind the wheel of someone else’s car at short notice.

The vehicle 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.

Get a quote from our partner

Tempcover compares temporary car insurance to get you a fully comprehensive policy in under two minutes. With cover from 1 hour to 28 days, including for learners, you only pay for the cover you need. Tempcover has sold more than 3 million policies and has an 'excellent' customer review rating on Trustpilot.  

Find out more about Tempcover

Get a Tempcover quote

Don’t just take our word for it, join thousands of other happy savers who Compare the Market.

As of April, 2022 Compare The Market had an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 from 15,424 people who left a review on Trustpilot. The score 4.8 corresponds to the Star Label ‘Excellent’. Find out more

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

When might temporary car insurance be a good idea?

Situations in which short-term 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 – if you’d like to 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.

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 – to have cover while you’re test-driving an unfamiliar vehicle.

Staying with friends – friends might loan you their car while you’re visiting.

Business use - if you have to use your personal car for very occasional business trips.

What alternatives are there to temporary insurance?

  1. 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. Make sure you check the details carefully though and if need be, check with your provider. Even if you’re covered, it’s likely to only be for third-party cover.
  2. Being added as 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 end up being a much more expensive option if you only need the car for a short time. It could also end up affecting their no claims bonus if you have an accident.
  3. Courtesy car cover - If your car is in the garage but your insurance provider has lent you a courtesy car for the day, then you may already be covered by your insurance policy or by the garage. But make sure you check what you’re covered for.

If none of these alternatives apply, then temporary insurance might be exactly what you’re looking for.

When is temporary insurance not suitable?

Typically, temporary insurance won’t cover you for a hired or rented vehicle. Usually you’d need hire car insurance for that.

You can’t use temporary insurance 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.

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 have to have the owner’s permission to drive it.

Eligibility requirements for Tempcover

  • Aged between 18 and 78
  • Held a licence for at least six months, or 12 months if it’s an EU licence
  • Acceptable licences: 
    • Full UK licence
    • Full EU driving licence
    • UK provisional driving licence
  • No more than 7 licence penalty points in the past 3 years and have no disqualifications in the past 2 years
  • Your car's current market value must be between £1,500 and £65,000.
  • The car must:
    • Be in a roadworthy condition
    • Be a right-hand drive car
    • Have no more than 8 seats
    • Not be declared SORN
    • Not be modified in any way except for those designed to aid disabled drivers

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 covers you for:

  • Injury to other people and damage to their cars and other property
  • Cover in case the car is stolen
  • Cover for damage caused to your car and other property 

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.

What is one day car insurance?

Temporary car insurance taken out for 24 hours only is sometimes called one day car insurance. It’s ideal if you want to borrow someone else’s car for a day, or lend your car to another person. It means you only pay for the cover you need, without having to commit to a longer policy. Our temporary car insurance partner, Tempcover, can offer cover for a single day if you need it.

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, for example, take things to the recycling centre, move furniture or take a test drive in a van you’re thinking of buying. 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?

If you’re driving an unfamiliar car, you might worry about what would happen if there was an accident. Typically, short-term insurance gives you comprehensive cover. That means that if you were to have an accident, you could be fully covered. It’s worth knowing that if you did end up in a crash when you were driving someone else’s car with their permission, their no claims bonus wouldn’t be affected.

But if you do have an accident on a temporary car policy, you’ll have to declare it when renewing your own car insurance policy.

Is there anything else I need to be aware of about temporary cover?

  • Please be aware that temporary insurance is not 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?

You can ask your insurance provider to cover you on your existing policy if you want to take your car to Europe for a trip. If you’re borrowing a car or sharing the drive with a friend, you could also find temporary cover for driving in Europe.

Tempcover offers the minimum cover required by law, rather than fully comprehensive cover. Make sure you know which countries you’re travelling to before you get your insurance, then you can check if the policy will cover you.
Please note that Tempcover requires that the vehicle begins its journey in the UK at the start of the policy, and it must be returned to the UK before the policy expires.

If your itinerary changes, you may need to update your insurance provider too. If you’re planning on hiring a car, you’ll need hire car insurance instead.

You’re no longer required to carry a Green Card to drive in Europe. All the required insurance documentation will be emailed to you directly after you buy, so you can download and print it out yourself.

What’s the shortest or longest time you can insure a vehicle with temporary insurance?

You can choose how long you want cover for. With short-term insurance you could get cover for as little as one hour. Our partner Tempcover offers cover for up to 28 days as standard.

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 an insurance provider 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 documentation you’ve been sent

Can I use temporary insurance for business use?

Yes. For example, if you very occasionally need to use your car for business, you might find it a more cost-effective option than adding business use all-year round. Imagine you or one of your employees are off to a conference or training, need to visit a distant client or branch, or need to work somewhere else temporarily. In these situations, short-term car insurance could be the answer.

Likewise, it could be useful if several employees are travelling together using a company car or their own car and need to share the driving.

How much does temporary car insurance cost?

The cost depends on a few things, including:

Your age

The vehicle you want to drive

How long you want the policy to last for

Other factors will be taken into account too, including where you live, your job, your claims history and whether you’ve got any points on your licence. Cost 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 each of the insurers. This can differ depending on you, the car and the insurer. You can find out what the compulsory excess amount is by looking at the policy wording during the quote process. It’s then up to you if you want to pay a voluntary excess too.

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 – like 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
Author image Rebecca Goodman

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

Tempcover

  • Offers temporary insurance from one hour to 28 days’ duration.
  • Cover available in under two minutes.
  • 4.6-star customer review rating based on 19,000+ reviews on Trustpilot.
  • Over 3.4 million policies sold.

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

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.

About Compare the Market

We know comparing cards, insurance and utilities isn’t much fun. So at Compare the Market it’s all about keeping it simple. We could help you find the right product at a great price. And you can trust us to be impartial – we only make money when you switch or take out a new product, so it’s in our interests to help you make the right choice.

Good things happen when you Meerkat

Search for the right insurance for you, at the right price, with our comparison service. Plus, we could help you save on broadband, mobile phones, credit cards, mortgages, loans and more.

  • See if you can save time and money when you use our helpful tools
  • Feel organised when you manage all of your quotes in one place

Helping you is the heart of our business

We make money when we’ve helped you switch or take out a new deal. When you’ve found your new supplier or provider through us, we get a fee or commission from them. The amount we receive doesn’t change the price you pay.

Impartial results from top providers

So you can see our cheapest deals, we order our results from the lowest to highest with no bias towards providers. We work with many of the UK's top providers to find you great deals.

Find out more on our About us page.

Got a question? Contact us

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 to get cheap temporary car insurance

There are a few possible 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 make sure you can afford to pay it.

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 things like breakdown cover before you add them to your policy.