Car insurance cover notes

Find out what a cover note is and why you might need one to get on the road straight away.

Amy Smith

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What’s a cover note?

A cover note is a temporary car insurance document.

Key points

  • A cover note is a temporary document to prove you have insurance before you get the full certificate
  • Not every insurer sends out cover notes - some issue a full certificate as soon as you take out cover, or they issue your documents online
  • If you're worried you don't have the right documentation, contact your insurer immediately

You might be sent one while the insurance underwriter completes the paperwork or looks more closely into the risks of issuing you with a policy.

Don’t worry, your car insurance application hasn’t been rejected, the cover note just stands until you get your certificate of insurance.

Information on a cover note

The cover note will include the same details as a certificate of insurance, such as the name(s) of anyone entitled to drive the vehicle, the vehicle make and model, and the extent of cover.

It will also state whether your insurance cover is comprehensive, third party only or third party, fire and theft.

How long will the cover note last?

The length of time it’s valid for depends on the insurer and on the policy, but 60 days tends to be the maximum cover period and the timescale must be stated on the cover note.

Cover note terms

You’ll be covered by the same terms and conditions that are listed in your full policy document, such as permission to drive other cars and entitlement to a courtesy car.

However, there might be a few limitations due to any risks involved in insuring you that the underwriters might be looking into.

For example, the insurance firm might reserve the right to cancel your cover immediately, whereas ordinarily they would have to give you at least seven days' notice.

Check documents with care

A misspelt name or incorrect date of birth could make a real difference if you have to make a claim

Keep your documents safe

Read your cover note carefully and then keep it in a safe place.

You might need to produce it if you’re stopped by the police or you might need to check the terms of your policy if you're involved in an accident.

Don't forget to check the details on your documents as soon as you receive them.

The insurer might have made a simple mistake, such as misspelling your name or getting your date of birth wrong.

This might not seem important, but incorrect information on your insurance documents could invalidate your cover and void any claims you’ve made.

Find out

How to avoid claim rejections

Read the guide

Why didn’t I get a cover note?

Some car insurance companies don't issue cover notes.

Some have a policy of issuing the certificate of insurance on the day you accept the insurance.

Many insurance companies also issue a confirmation email within 24 hours of you accepting the policy.

Next steps

Shortly after the cover note has been issued, the insurers should forward your permanent documents. These will include the certificate of insurance, a schedule and/or policy document and a policy booklet.

Your certificate is the document that proves you're insured to drive while the policy and booklet tell you everything you need to know about your insurance and how to get in touch with the insurance firm should you need to make a claim.

If your cover note has expired, but the permanent documents have not been issued

If this happens, you should be sent an extension cover note.

You must check that this new document starts at the exact time the previous note expires.

If you’re not sent an extension note and still don’t have your certificate of insurance and full policy documents, get in touch with your insurer.

It’ll be able to provide you with an update and sort out your documents for you.

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