Comparing temporary car insurance in 2023 – how to find the best policy price

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What is temporary car insurance?
What's it for?
Comparing temporary car insurance
Finding a cheaper price
How much does it cost?
What does it cover?

What is temporary car insurance?

Temporary car insurance is just that: car insurance that only covers you for a short period of time. You might sometimes hear it called short-term car insurance, or flexible car insurance.

It’s a great option if you only need to insure yourself for a short period of time, with some policies (including Cuvva’s) lasting as little as one hour.

Temporary car insurance is usually ultra-quick to buy, too, with cover from some insurers (is it too early for another plug? 👀) beginning immediately. How handy is that!

But there are some things you need to think about before you dive in. Different insurers offer different benefits, so it’s always worth comparing temporary car insurance policies in advance. Prices and policy lengths can also vary wildly.

Here’s everything you need to know.

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What is temporary car insurance for?

Taking out temporary car insurance can be a great idea if:

  • You want to share a journey with someone – like if you’re going on a road trip and want to take turns driving your friend’s car
  • You want to borrow someone’s car – the car owner could add you to their policy but there can be down-sides to that (more on this below)
  • You’re renting a car for a short period - sometimes the insurance offered by the car rental company can be quite pricey, so you might get a better deal with your own temporary cover
  • You only use your car a few times a year – like if you have a classic car and only use it for the odd weekend here and there. Just don’t forget, you’ll need to SORN your car when it’s off-road (Also, some insurers don't cover classic cars.)
  • You’re learning to drive – easily borrow someone’s car to practice before your test. Some insurers offer special learner driver car insurance
  • You’re buying a new car – you need insurance to drive home from the dealership. But you might want more time to shop around for an annual policy, so temporary car insurance can be a good idea. Some insurers offer driveaway car insurance
  • You need to change the use of your car – if you need to use your business car for something personal or vice versa, temporary insurance could be a good short-term option.

Can anyone get temporary car insurance?

If you can get normal car insurance, you should probably be able to get temporary car insurance. Still, there's some things to keep in mind:

  • Some insurers have age or licence type requirements, so make sure you check
  • Others might not insure learner drivers, too, while there are often limits on the value of your car, or if your car has been modified
  • It’s worth also noting that if you’re renting a van and want temporary insurance you’ll need a special van policy
Information signs give information on things like the congestion zone
Informartion signs give details on things like the congestion zone
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Comparing temporary car insurance policies

Here are some tips for comparing temporary car insurance to find the best temporary car insurance policy:

  • Don’t just check comparison sites – comparison sites don’t always have the cheapest deals, and some companies offer a discount if you go to them directly. Others simply aren't included on comparison site listings. This means it’s worth doing some good old-fashioned manual internet searches, too
  • Check age limits first – a lot of companies don’t offer temporary car insurance to younger drivers. So avoid wasting time by making age restrictions the first thing you check
  • Check if they offer the right extras – not all companies offer extras like European cover, so be sure to check before you buy
  • Check the shortest time they’ll cover – some companies only offer policies starting from 24 hours long, but lots let you take cover out from just an hour. Don’t overpay by getting a full day when you don’t need to
  • Compare as many policies as possible - temporary car insurance prices can vary massively, so it’s a good idea to check as many as possible to get the best deal

Comparing temporary car insurance to find a cheaper price

Some tips and tricks for getting cheaper temporary car insurance are:

  • Make sure the insurance doesn’t have any add-ons you don’t actually need – like European cover
  • Shop around to find the best deal – and don’t just check comparison sites
  • Pay more voluntary excess (that’s the amount you’d be willing to pay up front if you need to make a claim)
  • Borrow a smaller or cheaper car – the car you drive affects the price of your premium
  • If you’re under 25, check out how to save money on your car insurance as a young driver

Why does temporary insurance more expensive per hour or day?

While temporary insurance comes with lots of benefits, it doesn't make sense financially to use it as a like-for-like replacement for a traditional annual insurance policy if you plan on driving it a lot.

If you broke down the cost of a typical annual policy into hour or day-sized chunks, it might look cheaper than the price you're likely to get quoted for an hour or day's worth of temporary insurance.

This is because temporary insurance quotes are based on a lot of unique factors, like:

  • Location: Your specific location may affect your price because of factors like congestion, crime statistics, and local claims data
  • Time of day: The time you purchase your policy can sometimes affect your price, particularly during typical commuting hours when the roads are busier and the likelihood of an accident is higher
  • Use cases: Because temporary insurance is great for sharing cars, the driver may not own the car. This changes how the insurable risk is assessed
  • Extra costs: There are also a lot of costs behind the scene that insurers need to pay for every policy they sell

How much does temporary car insurance cost?

Your temporary car insurance price depends on a huge range of factors, just like a normal car insurance premium.

Things like your age, the car you drive, and where you live can all affect the price of your premium.

To give you a bit of an idea of what you could expect, we crunched the numbers to find out the average price for insuring different cars for one hour with Cuvva. (Note: this is correct as of 2022.)

Vehicle Cost of 1 hour insurance
Ford Fiesta £9.87
Ford Focus £10.00
Vauxhall Corsa £10.03
Toyota Yaris £10.13
Volkswagen Polo £10.24
Vauxhall Astra £10.63
Ford Transit £10.67

What does temporary car insurance cover?

These days, most temporary car insurance policies are fully comprehensive. This means they cover damage to both other people’s cars and your own if you have an accident.

We’ve written a standalone guide about comprehensive car insurance and what it covers, if you'd like a little more info on this.

You might still find some third-party, fire, and theft temporary car insurance policies. These only cover damage to other people’s vehicles and property, though, not your own. It’s always worth checking exactly what your policy covers before you take it out.

Information signs give information on things like the congestion zone
Informartion signs give details on things like the congestion zone

Can you get add-ons for temporary car insurance?

Yes, sometimes. Lots of providers give you the option to add on European cover, so you’re covered to drive if you’re going away in Europe.

Some, like Cuvva, might offer breakdown cover as an add-on, too.

Is it better to get temporary car insurance or be added to someone’s policy?

When you borrow someone else’s car, you can take out temporary car insurance, or they can usually add you to their own policy as a ‘named driver’.

If you plan on regularly using their car (let's say several times a weeK), it’s maybe worth crunching the numbers to see if it's cheaper to get added to their policy.

But there are some risks for the car owner, so it might not be worth it for them. For example:

  • It might make their premium go up – if you add a driver to your insurance who is riskier than you (so younger, or with less experience, for example), it can make your premium go up. On the flipside, if you add a driver that’s less risky it can make your premium go down.
  • It puts their no claims bonus at risk – if the person you add to your policy has an accident in your car, it affects your no claims bonus. But if they have their own temporary car insurance and have an accident in your car, it doesn’t. This is because it’s a totally separate insurance policy.
  • They might get extra charges – some companies charge you if you want to make any changes to your policy, like adding a named driver.

Car insurance without the nasty bits

Cuvva hates deposits, interest, tie-ins and hidden fees - it's why we've scrapped them.

Instead, we offer flexible temporary insurance from 1 hour to 28 days.

It's perfect for borrowing and lending - and for experienced or learner drivers alike.

Whatever you're after, it only takes a few minutes to get a quote.

Updated on 31st August 2023