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Temporary Car Insurance In UK: How It Works | Pros & Cons

I was a college student then, with my family for the holidays. My dad had just gotten a Mercedes A-class and I was excited to get behind the wheels. I knew there was insurance on it, however, I didn’t know I wasn’t named in the policy since I was rarely at home.

The day I got behind the wheels, I was involved in an accident that ruined the car and almost wrecked my family finances. Let me tell you how temporary car insurance could have helped us.

My parents believed that since the car was insured, every member of the family could use it. Now, this is not true. Even though the said car was insured, all the insurance company paid for was the damages on the other car.

My dad was stuck with the responsibilities of restoring his car and also paying my hospital bills. Then we got to know that all of that could have been avoided if we had just gotten temporary car insurance for me.

Ever been in a similar situation before? Or did you also have the misconception?

You can get a one – day temporary car insurance to save you a ton of money.

What Is Temporary Car Insurance?

Temporary car insurance or short-term car insurance offers temporary cover for using a car. If you do not need the all-year coverage, it’s a cheaper car insurance alternative. You get the offer to drive an insured car for just an hour.

Temporary car insurance can last for an hour to four weeks depending on what you need. So, whether it’s a rental or a friend’s car for the weekend, you get to drive a car fully covered against accidents.

Check to see if the temporary car insurance company protects your no claim bonus as most do.

How Does Temporary Car Insurance Work?

Forty-eight out of 50 states require having insurance coverage, so whether the car is yours or not, it’s most prudent to get car insurance.

However, if you do not need a long-term plan, perhaps your visiting family for a short while or you’re a college student without a car, you can still be protected if you get temporary car insurance.

Temporary car insurance can last between 1-28 days though there may be some plans that offer up to 90 days. The coverage starts as soon as you get the quote online and make payment.

The eligible cars for this plan differ by the insurer and the prices also differ by the vehicle value. Most of the vehicles offer include bikes, cars, and motor homes.

Usually, these providers do not offer temporary car insurance for commercial purposes – transporting people or goods for a fare.

In that case, they may likely not cover larger cars or vans with more than 8 doors. However, all of these conditions are dependent on the insurer or insurance company.

Who Is Eligible for Temporary Car Insurance?

This also depends heavily on the insurer. Whilst some would favour individuals from ages 17-75 equally, some exclude less experienced drivers- predominantly under 25s, and the others focus on covers for drivers with less experience.

It may be a little difficult to get temporary car insurance if you have had points on your license or if you had made some insurance claims before.

Having a full or provisional UK driving licence is of course very necessary. However, some insurers may accept driving licences from any European country.

Who Is The Temporary Car Insurance For?

Most people have this grave misconception that as long as there is a comprehensive car insurance car, they can let their friends and family use it.

However, even with the one, if that person is not named on the policy, only the third-party damage would be covered in the case of an accident.

That’s to say that the insurance company will only be responsible for the damage to the other car. And the owner of the car will have to foot the bills for the damages on his car. Also, the accident will count against the owner’s no claims bonus, so, the cost of their insurance will increase.

This type of car insurance is important if:

  • You’re driving someone else’s car perhaps because your car is being worked on or you’re visiting family without yours
  • You are lending your car to a friend or family member who is not named in your comprehensive car insurance
  • You intend to get a new car but you’re still test-driving other cars
  • Your car is test-driven because you want to sell it
  • You are going on a road trip
  • You want to add temporary insurance on a visiting family member perhaps your child from college is visiting

Is It Worth It?

You know how you forget your driver’s licence for a day and get pulled over on that same day? You probably have never forgotten it before, but the first day you do, you get punished for it.

It’s the same thing here.

It’s just for a couple of days before I renew the comprehensive car insurance.”

He’s just taking the car to the store to pick up a few things.”

Unfortunately, a lot could go wrong in those few minutes. There are over 153,000 casualties every year in the UK. This would of course result in the damage of cars including those that were supposed to be running errands for just a couple of minutes.

This is where temporary car insurance can come in. We know just how expensive it can be to restore the damaged properties in a car accident.

So, even if you want to move across states, one-day insurance on that vehicle would give you the confidence that you’re operating with an insured car.

What Extra Cover Can I Get With A Temporary Car Insurance Policy?

With temporary car insurance, you should also be eligible for:

Additional drivers: You can have up to 4 additional drivers if you want temporary car insurance for yourself and other people.

Breakdown cover: If your car breaks down during a journey, your insurance could pay for any costs of repair.

European driving cover: This offers you temporary insurance that covers your car in Europe. However, check to see which countries exactly are inclusive.

Does Temporary Car Insurance Affect My No Claims Bonus?

Some people may already have existing comprehensive car insurance and still decide to get temporary insurance on the same car.

If that’s the case and you want to make a claim, it won’t affect your existing car insurance policy, and your no claims bonus will remain intact. This is actually one of the major benefits of temporary car insurance.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Temporary Car Insurance?

Here are the benefits and shortcomings:

Impact on the vehicle doesn’t affect No Claims Discount (NCD)The cover is mostly for a maximum of 28 days only.
The flexibility of dates for coverYou can only pay upfront.
No messy mid-term adjustment (MTA) on an annual policyNo discount for buying temporary car insurance online.
Possibility of adding additional driversLimited third-party EU cover as standard.
Instant purchase and insurance certificate
The flexibility of insured vehicles
The flexibility of dates for cover


You don’t need to get 6-month car insurance anymore. You can get temporary car insurance for a day to ensure you’re safe in the event of any mild accidents.

However, since they are cheaper than the comprehensive car insurance deals, car owners who don’t drive regularly might be tempted to halt their comprehensive car insurance and rely completely on temporary insurance.

This would be illegal so if you don’t plan to drive your car at all, you can relay the information to the DVLA stating that the car is “off-road” by making a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).

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