Short term motor insurance

Key points

  • Cover typically available for between one and 28 days
  • There'll be restrictions on how many policies you can take out in a 12-month period
  • You can't tax a car with a short-term policy

Short term motor insurance will provide cover on a vehicle for a temporary period of time.

It'll depend on your insurer as to what vehicles you're able to cover, but it's usually available for cars, vans and, in some cases, motorhomes and motorbikes.

What is short term insurance useful for?

Short term insurance can be useful in a variety of situations.

The convenience and cost of this type of cover could potentially be cheaper than making a change to an existing annual policy and, if you need to make a claim on it, it shouldn't affect your existing no claims bonus.

There's also the option to add extra cover - perhaps driving in Europe - for an additional charge, although you should remember that this may only offer the minimum level of cover.

Beginners' guide to short-term motor insurance

You may want to consider short term insurance if you're:

  • Hiring or borrowing a vehicle
  • Collecting or delivering a vehicle
  • Driving a vehicle that you've just bought off the dealership forecourt
  • Test driving a car
  • Driving a dealer's courtesy car whilst yours is being serviced or repaired
  • Sharing a long drive with a friend
  • Using a classic or sports vehicle as a second car that you rarely drive
  • A young driver who sometimes uses a family member's car
  • In need of a vehicle for an emergency

How short term motor insurance works

Cover is typically comprehensive but there are third party, fire and theft options available.

Need more information?

  • FAQs on car insurance
  • Car insurance guides

Generally cover can range from a minimum of one day to a maximum of 28 days.

Remember that it's not a replacement for an annual insurance policy, so insurers will apply restrictions as to the number of policies that you can take out in any rolling 12-month period.

This could be expressed by the insurer as a maximum number of occasions or a maximum number of days.

However, it's possible to take out

a short term insurance policy alongside your annual car insurance policy if necessary, for example if you have a car that you only drive on weekends.


Insurers will impose certain restrictions on their policies to help reduce the risk of claims.

For example, insurers will typically insist that drivers must be over 19 and have held a full UK or EU driving licence for a minimum of a year.Short term motor insurance

Minimum age restrictions will differ from insurer to insurer and many will have a maximum age restriction, too - 75 would be typical.

Taxing a car

You can't tax a car if it's only insured with a short-term policy.

Neither the DVLA nor the Post Office will accept short-term certificates for road fund licence purposes.

What are the exclusions?

Each insurer will have their own set of exclusions which they'll be unwilling to insure. This may typically include:

  • Damage to, or theft of, the vehicle as a result of the ignition keys being left in it
  • The vehicle being driven by any person not listed on the certificate of insurance as entitled to drive
  • Different insurers will focus more on different factors which means that premiums will vary, so shop around
  • The vehicle being used for a purpose for which cover isn't included

Factors affecting premium

As with an annual insurance policy, insurers will take into account a whole range of different factors when calculating your premium.

These will include your age, your address, how long you've been driving for, your driving history and the vehicle you want to be insured for.

Different insurers will focus more on different factors which means that premiums will vary, so shop around to find the right policy at the right price.

Alternatives to temporary car insurance

As possible alternatives to taking out a temporary car insurance policy, our guides can help you weigh up the pros and cons of becoming a named driver on another policy and of arranging cover for other vehicles.

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

By Abbie Laughton-Coles

Category: Auto Insurance

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