Temporary car insurance

Need flexible car insurance? Get short-term cover.

family car trip


If you’re only planning to be behind the wheel for a short time - perhaps to test drive a new motor or to borrow a friend's car - temporary car insurance can provide the cover you need.

Flexible cover

Get fully comprehensive cover from one hour, up to 28 days

Same day coverage

Looking for instant cover? Start your policy the same day you buy.

Quick and easy

Compare quotes in minutes and get instant cover

How long would you like to be insured for?

Short-term car insurance gives you the flexibility to only buy the cover you need:

Hourly insurance

Temporary car insurance can cover you to drive a car for as little as one hour.

So it can be ideal for things like one-off trips, driving someone else’s car in an emergency, or for collecting a new car and driving it home.

Daily insurance

If you need cover for a bit longer, you can take out temporary cover by the day.

This can be a useful option for things like moving house or if you need to use the car for the weekend or a longer outing.

Weekly insurance

Car hire can be expensive, so it can be cheaper to get short-term cover and borrow a friend or family member’s car for a week or more.

Temporary car insurance can also be useful if you’re teaching a learner driver in your car.

How does short-term car insurance work?

Short-term car insurance covers you to legally drive a car for anything from one hour up to 28 days.

You set the duration of your policy when you take out your cover. Once that time expires, you won’t be able to drive the car on public roads anymore. If you need longer, you must ask the insurer if they can extend your cover for an additional premium.

Temporary car insurance is most suitable for covering just a few days or weeks of driving. Any longer than that and an annual policy may be cheaper and more practical.

temporary car insurance

What types of temporary car insurance can I get?

Short-term car insurance policies are usually for fully comprehensive cover, although some providers might be able to offer quotes for third party only, or third party, fire and theft.


This is the highest level of protection.

It covers you and your car, even if an accident was your fault.

It also covers any damage you might cause to someone else’s car or property, and any personal injury claims made against you.

And it’ll cover your getting stolen, as well as any damage that might be caused by fire.

Third party, fire and theft

This will cover any damage you may cause to other people, their car, or their property.

But it won’t cover any damage to your car or the cost of any medical treatment you might need after an accident.

This type of policy will also cover your car if it gets stolen or damaged in a fire.

Third party only

This is the minimum level of cover you’re legally required to have.

It will cover any damage you may cause to someone else, their car, or property, but you’ll have to cover the cost of any damage to your own car and any private medical treatment you might need.

What’s covered by temporary car insurance?

This can vary between providers and will depend on the level of cover you choose, so make sure you check your policy documents. But typically you’ll find that most policies:

Will usually cover

  • A flexible duration - Depending on the duration you choose, you can get cover from one hour up to several weeks
  • Damage to your car - Accidental or malicious damage
  • Theft or attempted theft - If the car is stolen or damaged in an attempted theft
  • Fire damage - If your car is damaged or destroyed by fire
  • Legal expenses - If you injure someone or damage their property, you’ll be covered for legal costs up to the policy limit
  • Third party cover in Europe - Most policies will only provide third party cover as standard when you’re in Europe.

Won’t usually cover

  • Keys left in the ignition - You won’t be covered if this causes damage to, or theft of, the car.
  • Unnamed drivers - Losses caused by the car being driven by someone who isn’t named on the policy.
  • Incorrect use - If you use the car for purposes not listed in the policy - like business use.
  • The wrong licence - You won’t be covered if you drive a car without having the correct licence.
  • Hiring a car - If you’re renting a car, you’ll need to get insurance from the hire car company instead.

Is anything else not covered?

There are also some other things that temporary car insurance might not cover. This includes the theft or damage of any tools and business-related goods that are kept in the car.

You’re also unlikely to be covered for the cost of your car’s tyres if they get damaged, or for breakdowns that are a result of an electrical fault.

Always check your policy wording carefully to understand what protection your temporary cover will provide.

How much is temporary car insurance?

The cost of short-term car insurance will depend on a few factors, including:

  • Your age - Typically, the younger you are the higher the risk you pose to insurers
  • The car - Premiums will cost more if you’ll be driving a car that falls into a higher insurance group
  • Your location - Your address and the crime rate in the local area can impact the cost of your car insurance
  • Your driving history - Insurers will consider any driving convictions or penalty points on your licence
Pregnant woman and senior woman driving in a car together


To help find you quotes for temporary cover for your car, you’ll need to answer a few questions about:

  1. About you and your car

    Your name, address, date of birth and driving history. And information about the car you want to cover - like its make and model, for example.

  2. The policy and length of cover

    Choose how long you’ll need cover for, this can be from as little as one hour up to 28 days.

  3. When your cover should start

    You might want it to start immediately, or to arrange it for a specific time when you’ll be using the car.

Temporary cover for business vehicles

There are short-term insurance policies available that include business use but not all will, so it’s always best to check.

You’ll be asked how you’ll be using the car when you get a quote, so it’s important to tell your insurer that you’ll be using it for business.

Adding business use to standard car insurance can make it more expensive. This is because insurers will assume you’re spending more time on the roads during busy periods of the day.

So, if you only need a few days of business use, it might work out cheaper to take out a temporary policy instead.

A mother is helping her primary school age child get their seatbelt on

Frequently asked questions

Short-term car insurance can be useful for lots of situations, whether you own a car or not.

It’s handy if you need car insurance to borrow someone else’s car, drive one home after buying it, or for occasional use of a vehicle you keep off the road:

  • Borrowing a friend or family member’s car – If you don’t have your own car, short-term car insurance lets you get behind the wheel of someone else’s
  • Learner drivers practising before their test – You can get short-term cover for learners, so you can practice in your parent’s car without having to be added to their policy as an additional driver
  • Collecting or delivering a vehicle – It’s a quick way to arrange cover to go and pick up a car you’ve just bought, for example, or take one to someone else
  • Test driving a new car – If you’re buying from a private seller but don’t have cover to drive other cars, short-term cover will let you legally have a test drive
  • Splitting driving duties with friends and family on a long journey – You can all share the driving if you get temporary policies
  • Occasionally driving a classic or sports vehicle – If your pride and joy is usually kept carefully garaged, short-term cover will let you take it out just for special occasions
  • In an emergency – You can borrow a car in a hurry by quickly arranging a temporary policy instead of having to be added to the owner's annual car insurance

Your temporary insurance policy is entirely separate from your annual car insurance policy, so it won’t affect your NCD if you need to make a claim on the short-term cover.

If you’ve borrowed someone else’s vehicle, their NCD won’t be reduced either.

If you need to insure a car multiple times in a year, it’ll usually be cheaper to compare quotes for annual car insurance instead. You’ll also build up a NCD this way – something you’ll miss out on with short-term car insurance.

No. Driving without insurance is illegal at any time.

If you need insurance to cover you while you drive the car home, you could take out a short-term car insurance policy. That would allow you to get the car home and arrange an annual policy when you have more time.

Learn more about the risks of driving without insurance.

No – insurance will be included by the hire firm when you hire a car, but there’s usually a high excess, which you’ll have to pay if you’re in an accident.

Short-term car insurance could give you the option of borrowing a car instead of hiring one and paying for temporary insurance instead of the hire fee.

For expats returning to the UK for short visits, temporary car insurance is a quick and easy way to get cover.

You might have to meet some criteria – some providers ask that you’ve previously lived in the UK for 36 months and have a permanent address abroad, while others will cap the age of the driver they’re willing to insure.

You’ll need to have the details of your driving licence and usually it must be a full UK, EU, NI or EEC licence to get cover.

Find out more about car insurance for temporary non-UK residents

You’ll typically need to be a minimum of 18 years old to get temporary cover, although some car insurance providers will cover drivers as young as 17 years old.

And if you’re learning to drive, it’s also worth considering a specialist learner driver policy - this can cover you for up to 12 months. And once you pass your test, opting for black box car insurance could be cheaper than standard cover.

Taking out temporary cover is sometimes cheaper than paying the admin fees your insurer will charge to make changes to your existing policy. But an annual policy will usually cost you less per day. So it’s best to compare costs if you need to be insured on a short-term basis.

Yes, if you need to tax a car you can use short-term car insurance to do this. It’s illegal to drive a car without it being taxed and insured. So, if you’ve just bought a new car and need to drive it home, taking out temporary cover is a good way to get this sorted.

Your car insurance details need to be recorded on the Motor Insurance Database (MID) before the car can be taxed. But when you buy temporary cover, most insurers will update the MID on the same day.

Yes, temporary cover is a good option for new drivers if they’ll only be driving occasionally - for example, to cover students driving their parent’s car while they’re home from university.

Plus, if you’re a young driver, it’s often cheaper to be insured on someone else’s car than to buy and insure your own.

However, be aware that some insurers will have minimum age limits for temporary car insurance, and you may need to have been driving for a certain length of time first.

If you have an accident, you’ll need to tell your insurer as soon as you can. And if you need to make a claim, you’ll need to follow their claims process and pay the excess amount that’s outlined in your policy. The good news is that claiming on temporary car insurance won’t affect your NCD or the car owner’s.

Yes, short-term cover can cover you to drive someone else’s car - as long as you have their permission. For example, you might want to take out temporary insurance so that you and a family member can share the driving on a long trip. But you’ll only be insured to drive the car that’s detailed in your policy.

Temporary car insurance policies usually only cover one driver. So, if another person also wants to drive the car on a short-term basis, they’ll need a separate short-term policy of their own.

On the other hand, it’s possible to add additional drivers to standard car insurance, so this might be a cheaper option if there are going to be several drivers.

Instead of taking out your own short-term car insurance, you could ask a friend or family member to add you to their car insurance as a named driver.

Their insurer might change the price of their premiums, or ask them to pay an administration fee.

If you need to drive another car just in rare and exceptional circumstances, check your own annual car insurance policy first. Some will have a clause saying that you’re covered to drive other cars, although this cover is usually only third party.

You could also get short-term insurance for other vehicles:

Short-term van cover

Whether you're borrowing a friend's van to move to a new house or using it for work, you can get temporary van insurance.

More about temporary van cover >

Short-term motorbike cover

You can get temporary cover for motorbikes too. For just a day, a week or up to a few months.

More about temporary bike cover >

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Page last reviewed: 10 August 2023

Reviewed by Holly Thomas