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Temporary Car Insurance – Guide to Short Term Vehicle Cover

All motorists in the UK legally need to insure their vehicles and take out annual policies, many insurance companies also offer temporary cover. So, what exactly is temporary motor insurance, when is it useful and what do you need to know before choosing the right policy?

The Benefits

Second hand car salesYou can use temporary car insurance when you need to insure a vehicle for a brief period. This type of plan usually provides cover for a defined period of time, usually between one and twenty-eight days. This policy is sometimes also referred to as short term car insurance. It isn’t designed to be used as a long-term alternative to a standard annual policy, but it can be very handy in certain circumstances.

It’s a popular insurance policy within the motor trade; vehicle dealers selling new and used cars often provide temporary car insurance as part of the packages they offer. That way, when you purchase a new vehicle from a dealer after test driving on trade plates, you can drive it straight home rather than having to arrange your own insurance policy first.

You can also arrange for a temporary insurance policy when:

  • Borrowing a friend or family member’s vehicle for a short period of time.
  • Hiring a vehicle for a short amount of time from a rental company that doesn’t provide insurance or only offers third party cover.
  • Sharing the driving while travelling with someone else in their vehicle.
  • Driving a vehicle for a short period while arranging a suitable annual insurance policy.
  • Driving a vehicle that you’ve bought privately before you’ve arranged annual insurance for it.

What Else Do You Need to Know?

Most temporary car insurance plans provide comprehensive cover, so you’re covered for any damage caused to your vehicle as well as any damage caused to other vehicles or properties in an accident. However, the specifics of what’s covered can vary from one plan to another, so always compare the small print on different policies carefully before making a purchase. For example, some policies specifically exclude cover for rental vehicles or vehicles being used for business purposes, or stipulate that you won’t be covered when driving abroad.

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You’ll need to supply a prospective insurer with all personal details like your driving licence number and registration number of the vehicle you need to insure. You will also need the full permission from the owner for any vehicle you’re borrowing to take an insurance policy out on. It’s not unusual for Insurers to also take your age and the type of driving licence you hold, length of time you’ve been driving, a full motoring history, plus the market value and condition of the vehicle in question.

All those details, along with other factors are considered when deciding on whether to provide you with cover and how much to charge. Finally, you might find it difficult to find an affordable temporary policy if:

  • Aged under 21 or over 75
  • Have points or previous convictions for motoring offences on your licence
  • A poor claims history
  • Trying to insure a vehicle which has been modified

Some insurers’ criteria are less stringent than others, so shopping around is a must.