Published On: Wed, Feb 27th, 2019

How Does Short Term Car Insurance Work?

Do you need to borrow a vehicle for a road trip, a move, or a quick jaunt to IKEA? Do you have a classic car you only take out for leisure drivers during the weekend or a convertible that stays safely inside your garage during the winter? Rather than taking out a 12-month policy or adding yourself as a named driver on your parent or friend’s insurance policy, you could save money by opting for a short term, or temporary, car insurance policy.

A short term car insurance policy offers fully comprehensive cover for 1 to 28 days. It offers more flexibility and lower costs than taking out a new long-term policy or amending an existing one. Read on for who might want a short term policy, the reasons to choose one, and other things to remember when you’re driving a vehicle for a short period of time.

Who might need a short term car insurance policy?

We don’t all have the same access to or need for a vehicle. It doesn’t make sense to take out a 12 month policy for a vehicle you’ll only be driving for a month—or even a day, in a pinch. Luckily, the car insurance industry has recognised this and offers short-term policies that give you only the cover you need, when you need it.

You might want a short term car insurance policy in the following circumstances

  • learner drivers: If you’re learning to drive, you might only want to take out a policy that covers you for your lessons or when you have a qualified driver in the passenger seat.
  • second car owners: Do you have a classic car you only roll out for parades, a sports car you reserve for weekends, or a convertible you only use during the summer because otherwise brrr? You might want to obtain temporary cover for these vehicles, either for the months you use them, or via one-day policies purchased just before you get behind the wheel. It’s important to remember that if you’re not regularly driving or insuring a vehicle, under Continuous Insurance Enforcement Legislation, you’ll need to declare it off road or face fines or prosecution. See the final section of this article for more information.
  • one day insurance: Need to move home? Need to vehicle in an emergency? One day insurance can give you cover on a borrowed car for a single day.
  • young drivers: Home from university for the summer and want to drive mum or dad’s car occasionally? Have a licence but not a car and just borrow vehicles? It could work out as cheaper to take out a temporary policy rather than listing yourself as a named driver on your parents’ or friends’ policies. Additionally, they won’t have to worry about their premiums increasing by adding a driver under 25 to their policy or their no-claims bonus being wrecked because you dented a neighbours’ car on the street.

How do you get short term car insurance?

First, you’ll need permission from the owner the vehicle. Teens swiping their parents’ keys from the kitchen surface need not apply. But once you have that you just need to supply the following information to the insurer:

  • your name and address
  • your driving history
  • details of the car you’re going to be using, including who owns it
  • the time and date you’d like the policy to start and end

Get approved, pay and presto, the policy is active immediately. The whole process can take under 10 minutes.

Why choose a short term policy?

If you drive infrequently or borrow vehicles, getting a short term policies will be cheaper and more convenient than obtaining a new 12-month policy, or being listed a new named driver, especially a young one, to an existing policy. Additionally, with a separate temporary insurance policy, you won’t have to worry about blowing the vehicle owner’s no-claims bonus if you wreck their car. Sure, they’re likely to be incensed you wrecked the vehicle you borrowed, but you can always remind them that their NCB is intact and that’s what counts.

Things to remember

Under Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) legislation that came into effect in 2011, any vehicle in the UK, even if it’s not being driven or stored on public roads, must have a valid insurance policy, or it needs to have officially be declared off road. To do that you’ll need to obtain a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN). If you have a classic car or sports car you only drive occasionally and only cover with short term insurance policies, you’ll need to make sure it’s been declared off road via a SORN any time it’s not covered, or you could face steep penalties and points on your licence.

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