What is short-term car insurance?
Short-term car insurance is a temporary policy that you can take out on a car or van for between one single day and 28 days. It is an alternative to buying a conventional yearly policy, and is designed to let you drive a car legally on UK roads, and within the EU, too, for a fairly short time.
One of the main benefits of short-term cover is that you can apply for a policy for a car that you do not own; provided that you have the owners permission to drive it.
There are several different companies offering short-term car insurance and they have different terms and conditions; so it is important that you read these carefully to make sure that the policy you wish to buy covers your requirements. The details below are general ones which will apply to most policies, but not necessarily all companies will offer the same benefits.
What sort of car can I drive under short-term policy?
Provided that the car is on the insurance company's approved list – and most modern cars are - you can apply for insurance to cover it whether you own it or not, provided that it is not a hired car. Older cars or very high value ones may not be eligible but to find out only takes a couple of minutes; just apply a quote online.
Is the cover comprehensive or third-party?
The policies are usually comprehensive for driving within the UK, with the equivalent of third-party only cover whilst driving within other countries of the European Union. It is usually possible to upgrade to comprehensive cover throughout the whole of the EU, for an additional premium, if you wish to do so.
Does it take long to buy a policy?
You can buy a policy online 24 hours a day, seven days a week and the cover can start as soon as you have paid for it and received e-mailed confirmation that it is in effect. Alternatively you can book your policy to start at any time within the following 28 days.
And I not already covered for any vehicle that doesn't belong to me?
If you have an existing comprehensive car insurance policy it may contain a clause that allows you to drive any vehicle that does not belong to and that is not hired to you. This cover, however, is almost invariably third-party cover only. This means that if you damage the car that you are driving you will be responsible for paying for the necessary repairs to it, or replacing it, yourself. A comprehensive short-term policy, however, will indemnify you against this, subject to the usual policy excess.
Can I insure a high value car?
Provided that the car is on the insurance company's approved list you can apply for insurance but there is usually a maximum sum that the underwriters will pay out for damage to the vehicle that you are driving. Make sure you check the insurer's terms and conditions before buying a policy.
Can learner drivers apply for short-term insurance?
There are a specialist policies designed for learner drivers. These provide options for practising driving in someone else's car, or one that you own yourself. If you are taking driving lessons getting extra experience on the roads can be invaluable and a policy like this can help you get the knowledge and confidence that is essential if you are to pass your driving test.
Are blackbox policies available?
Some companies offer blackbox policies for young drivers who've just passed their driving test, or are about to take it.
Can I cover a high-performance car?
Policies are available for modified cars, high-performance vehicles and imported cars. Drivers would normally be expected to be at least 21 years of age, with at least a couple of year's of accident free driving experience. It may be possible to arrange cover for younger drivers, but this would probably be on a third-party only basis.