Short-term car insurance

We don't offer short-term car insurance comparison - here are some companies[1] offering quotes[2]

  • Cuvva offers short-term insurance from as little as one hour up to 28 days instantly for drivers aged between 19-65. It only takes a few minutes to signup and then only seconds to get comprehensively insured. We guarantee a two-minute enquiry response between 6am-midnight, 7 days a week.

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  • Dayinsure, which is backed by Aviva, offers comprehensive short-term car insurance cover for those aged 19-75 that enables them to drive a UK-registered car on UK roads, with options available for driving in Europe.

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  • Tempcover compares flexible and comprehensive short-term car insurance policies from well-known UK insurers, for 18-75 year olds (17 for learners). Policies from one to 28 days with cover available for an additional driver and impounded cars. There are flexible payment options including PayPal, with documents delivered to your email address.

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  • Collingwood Insurance Services UK Ltd offers short-term learner driver insurance for drivers aged 17-65, starting from 7 days to 24 weeks, with the ability to select the cover type. This cover is for provisional licence holders learning to drive in their vehicle or in someone else's car. With over ten years’ experience in offering learner driver cover, Collingwood has one of the best ratings on Trustpilot (9.7/10) and the winners of the DIA Best Learner/Young Driver Insurance Provider two years running.

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What’s short-term car insurance?

Short-term car insurance, or temporary car insurance, is a form of temporary vehicle cover, typically lasting between one hour and 30 days, but it can last as long as 24 weeks. It's also known as pay-by-day.

Whichever policy you buy, make sure it provides immediate cover for short periods.

It can be cheaper to take out temporary car insurance than to make changes to your existing policy, for example, to add a car you only need to drive for a day or two.

If you need to claim on your short-term car insurance, it won’t affect your no-claims bonus.

You can also add extra cover, like driving in Europe, for an extra charge. Just make sure you check what cover you’ll have, as it might only be the minimum level which is third-party only.

How to get short-term car insurance

To get a quote you’ll need:

  1. Details about you:

    Your name, address and date of birth 

  2. Your driving history:

    And licence information too

  3. Information about the car you want to cover:

    Its make and model, for example

  4. Policy duration:

    When you want the cover to start and end 

You told us that the cost of insurance was your second biggest car-related worry.[3]
Would you be better off with short-term or annual cover?

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Who’s short-term cover for?

You might want to consider temporary car insurance if you’re:

  1. A young driver

    If you’ve got access to a friend or family member’s vehicle, you might just want to drive it when you’re home from university

  2. A new driver

    Some short-term policies last up to 24 weeks - ample time to practise driving before your test. Check whether hourly cover or a 24-week policy is the most cost-effective for you

  3. Hiring or borrowing a vehicle

    Don’t waste money by taking out a car insurance policy for longer than you need

  4. Learning to drive

    You might only be able to take occasional lessons, so short-term cover could be handy

  5. Collecting or delivering a vehicle

    You may be able to get temporary car insurance for a day or so, to cover the short trip

  6. Test driving or buying a new car

    Buying from a private seller? Take your potential new car out for a spin or drive it home when the deal’s done

  7. Driving a courtesy car

    If your car is in for service or repair and you’re offered a courtesy car it’ll need cover

  8. Drive sharing

    Split driving duties with friends and family on a long journey

  9. Occasionally driving

    If you’ve got a classic or sports vehicle you rarely drive, you can insure it just for the weekend

  10. Emergencies

    Short-term car insurance can help you get covered quickly so you can get on the road when you need to borrow a car in a hurry

It’s compulsory to keep your car insured at all times unless you keep it off the road and have a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN)

How long can I get cover for?

Your temporary car insurance could last for as little as one hour, or for as long as 24 weeks:

Hourly and daily cover
Weekly cover
Monthly cover

Cover that lasts for between just one hour and one day gives you flexibility for one-off or short journeys.

It's ideal if you're borrowing a friend's car, driving a new car home from the dealership, driving in an emergency, or car sharing.

To get hourly or daily cover, you'll need your registration number and a full UK driving licence. Most cars are covered, but expensive or powerful cars are usually off the table unless you're very experienced.

The policies are usually comprehensive but check the paperwork. Damages to your car and the other car are all protected. If there's a fire or the car's stolen, you can claim too.

Key points

  • Comprehensive car insurance for short or one-off trips
  • To get covered, you need the reg plate and a clean, full UK driving licence
  • Hourly or daily can be applied to a car that already has insurance on it and it won't affect the driver's existing cover

If you're going to be driving the same car for a short amount of time within seven days, you could get a weekly temporary car insurance policy.

A comprehensive weekly policy covers damage to your car caused by a collision or fire and damage to other cars if you're involved in a traffic accident. You're also covered if the car's stolen.

If you're borrowing a car for the week and it's already insured by another driver, a short-term insurance policy won't disrupt the other driver's cover or affect their premium.

If you need to drive the car for longer, you can usually extend the policy for just a few more hours, or days, depending on the insurer.

Key points

  • Comprehensive cover for one week of driving
  • If you buy temporary cover for a car with an underlying policy, it won't disrupt the existing cover or impact the driver's premium
  • Weekly temporary insurance can usually be extended if you need to drive the car for a little longer - check with the insurer

If you need cover for 28 days, you can buy a monthly car insurance policy.

A month's worth of cover is particularly handy for kids who are home from university and need to regularly drive the car over the Christmas or summer holidays.

Just like hourly, daily and weekly policies, you'll nee the reg plate of the car and a full, clean UK driving licence to get a quote and comprehensive cover.

But, if you need cover for just a few hours over a whole month, make sure you compare monthly policies with the cost of hourly cover just to make sure you're not overpaying.

Key points

  • Check how frequently the car will be driven before buying a month-long policy. You might be better off with multiple hourly or daily policies instead
  • A monthly car insurance policy usually gives you comprehensive cover
  • All you need is the registration number and your driving licence details to get a quote

Getting temporary cover as a returning UK resident

If you're an expat and coming back to the UK for a short visit, temporary insurance is an easy and quick way to get covered. To get the insurance, there could be some extra criteria to meet.

For example, 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.

How does short-term car insurance work?

Temporary policies are generally comprehensive, but there are third party, fire and theft options available.

Temporary cover can range from one to 28 days.

It’s not a replacement for an annual insurance policy. Insurers have restrictions on the number of policies that you can take out in any rolling 12-month period.

The insurer might apply this as a maximum number of occasions or a maximum number of days.

It’s possible to take out short-term insurance alongside your regular car insurance policy. Useful if, for example, you have a classic car that you only drive at the weekends.

What are the restrictions for temporary car insurance?

Each insurer will have its own set of restrictions.

Insurers might insist that drivers are over 19 and have held a full UK or EU driving licence for at least a year.

Age restrictions differ between insurers and many have an upper age restriction too - 75 is typical.

You also can’t tax your car with a short-term policy. Neither the DVLA nor the Post Office will accept short-term certificates.

Short-term European car insurance

If you need temporary cover to drive in Europe, it's unlikely that your daily, weekly or monthly policy would give you the same level of comprehensive protection as it does in the UK.

Once you arrive in Europe, your insurance could drop down to third-party only cover. If you're involved in a traffic accident, you'd have to pay for your damages and the costs of transporting the car back home for repairs.

If you're planning to drive abroad, tell the insurer and see if you can extend the short-term policy to include European driving.

However, you can buy a comprehensive short-term European car insurance policy. For a fee, you can usually add on cover for additional drivers and breakdown.

To get quotes and buy a policy, have the car's registration number to hand, plus your driving licence and passport details.

If you claim on your short-term European policy, it would have no impact on any other separate policy you have at home, so it's a good option if you're on holiday and driving a friend's car just for the day.

Frequently asked questions

  • What are the exclusions?

    Typical exclusions include:

    • Damage to, or theft of, the vehicle because the keys were left in the ignition
    • The car being driven by someone not named as a driver on the certificate of insurance
    • A certain type of vehicle that’s not covered by the policy
    • Using the vehicle for a purpose that’s excluded in the policy’s terms and conditions

    It might also be difficult to get temporary car insurance if you have previous motoring convictions or points on your licence.

  • What affects the price of my short-term policy?

    Insurers consider your age, address, driving experience, driving history and the vehicle you want to insure when calculating the cost of cover.

  • Are there alternatives to temporary car insurance?

    Becoming a named driver on another policy is an alternative to short-term car insurance and you can also look into arranging cover to drive other vehicles.

    If you're hiring a car, remember to check whether insurance is included as part of the hire deal.

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All you need to know

[1]We do not offer a full comparison service on short-term car insurance at Gocompare.com but instead have provided links to some companies that offer short-term car insurance. These companies are not listed in an order that indicates that one is better than another but are instead ordered in line with our commercial arrangement with each one. Please remember, as different companies offer different policies, it is up to you to choose the one that best suits your needs.

[2]Gocompare.com introduces you to Cuvva, Dayinsure.com Ltd, Tempcover and Collingwood to provide short-term car insurance quotes. All providers are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Gocompare.com’s relationship with Dayinsure.com Ltd, Cuvva, Tempcover and Collingwood is limited to that of a business partnership, no common ownership or control rights exist between us

[3]On 30 January 2019, Bilendi conducted an online survey among 2,000 randomly selected British adults who are Maximiles UK panellists

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