STOP PRESS: 1-28 days insurance is now available from aged 18 upwards.
Borrowing a car, or lending one to a friend, neighbour, visitor for a short while? You'll have to make sure that it is insured, not only to avoid a huge bill if there is an accident but also because you have to have insurance in place by law, and the penalties for driving without insurance are pretty draconian. Fortunately a short term insurance policy is not expensive and it only takes a few moments to arrange one over the Internet. You can arrange a policy for anywhere between a single day and 28 days and you can usually choose either third-party or fully comprehensive cover too. Once the cover is arranged you can usually download all the necessary documentation and print it out on your own home printer so that you can legally drive the insured vehicle straight away.
What can short-term cover be used for?
Buying a car from a dealer, a private owner or an auction? You'll need insurance to be able to drive it away afterwards and an increasing number of car dealers and car auction houses now offer wireless Internet access so that you can arrange your cover within a few moments of buying a vehicle. Prefer to test drive a car before you buy it? You can arrange fully comprehensive insurance for a day at a reasonable price so there will be no risk of a huge bill if you damage it. Need a larger car than your own for a holiday or to move some household goods? Borrowing or hiring a car from a friend and arranging your own insurance could cost a fraction of hiring one from a car rental company.
I have fully comprehensive insurance already which covers me for any vehicle that doesn't belong to me. Why should I need more insurance?
You may have fully comprehensive cover on your own car, but the majority of policies downgrade the cover to third party only if you drive another car that does not belong to you. This means that if it's stolen or damaged whilst under your control you could be liable for the full cost of it, and there are few things that could spoil a beautiful friendship more quickly than scratching someone else's car and finding you couldn't afford to repair it! With a fully comprehensive short-term policy you could avoid that risk.
How long would I be covered for?
The most popular periods are 1 day, 3 days, 7 days, 2 weeks or 1 month but you can get cover for any length of time you wish between one and 28 days. There is nothing to prevent you from applying for another policy at the end of a month if you need to do so.
At the end of the policy period, will I be entitled to any extra no claims discount?
If I have an accident during this period, will I lose my no claims discount on my annual policy?
Can I use a short term policy to tax a vehicle? (Yes if you buy cover from the right company)
It depends on where you buy your cover from, some insurers will allow this, some won't; this one will : 1-28 days insurance
Post office staff will not accept downloaded documents but some insurers, again including the ones that we link to, will send you a proper cover note through the post which the post office will accept. In the case of 1-28 days insurance this is an optional extra for which a charge of three or four pounds is made, but if you buy monthly pay-as-you-go insurance it is part of the package and you'll be sent one automatically.
How long would it take to arrange cover?
You simply visit the insurance company's website at any time of day or night, 24 hours a day, seven days a week; fill in a short form, pay by credit card and you are covered. If you need to produce documentary evidence of your cover you can download this and print it out at home.
I don't have a clean driving licence, will this matter?
Provided that you hold a full current driving licence most companies will accept you at their standard rates even if you have one or two motoring convictions.
How long can I insure for?
With month to month insurance you can get cover for from one month to eight months. With 1-28 days insurance the most popular periods are 1 day, 3 days, 7 days, 2 weeks or 1 month but you can get cover for any length of time you wish between one and 28 days.
What type of policy is available?
There are two types. The first one is a monthly policy, available for between one and six months. This is available to drivers between the ages of 17 and 90 so it has the advantages that younger drivers can get short term cover, too, either third party or fully comprehensive. Click here for more information about
The other is a more temporary policy of between 1 day and 28 days which is ideal if you want to borrow a car for a few days or lend your own to someone else. Again, both third party and fully comprehensive policies are available. The age range which is accepted is narrower, at 18 to 75. Click here for more information about