Emergency car insurance: how to get short-term cover at the last minute

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Emergency vehicle insurance

Life isn’t predictable and sometimes you need car insurance in a hurry. Spending ages filling out forms for an annual policy just isn’t an option.

Enter: emergency car insurance.

It’s super-fast to organise and starts instantly - perfect for when life doesn’t go exactly to play. Here’s all you need to know

What is emergency car insurance?

Emergency car insurance is technically just temporary car insurance. You can get ultra short-term cover for as little as an hour, to as long as 28 days.

Short-term cover is a good option in emergencies because you can take it out quickly and with minimal fuss – ideal for when you’re in an unexpected situation where you need cover fast. Like if:

  • You need to drive someone to the hospital and aren’t insured
  • You need to drive someone home in their car because they’re over the legal alcohol limit
  • Your car’s been stolen so you need to borrow someone else’s
  • You’re a passenger in someone else’s car and the driver suddenly becomes ill, so you need to take over
  • Your car won’t start when you’re in a hurry, so you need to borrow someone else’s – say if you need to get to work and decide to take your partner’s car

Here’s some more information about insuring a car you don’t own.

Get a quote 👇
Temporary car insurance from 1 hour to 28 days. No deposits, interest or nasty hidden fees. 9 million+ policies sold, 2 million+ cars insured and 3.5 million+ app downloads. Get a quote.

How to get emergency car insurance

If you need to get temporary car insurance in an emergency, you can head straight to an insurer’s website or app.

It should be really easy to apply for the insurance, you’ll just need to fill out a few details about you and the car you want to drive.

Cheeky self-promo 👉 The Cuvva app lets you sort short-term cover in minutes and you can manage everything from your phone, like extending your insurance if you need to.

Whoever you’re getting a quote off, you’ll likely need to give this information:

  • Your full name and date of birth
  • Your phone number, address, and email address
  • Your job
  • The registration number of the car you want to drive

There’ll be some criteria you have to meet to get the insurance, too (just like with normal car insurance). Like:

  • Having a full UK driving licence
  • Having had your driving licence for at least a year
  • Being a certain age (for example, between 19-65)
  • Not having more than a certain number of points on your licence
  • Not having had any driving convictions in the past two years (or a different time frame)
Emergency car insurance can help you out in a tricky situation
Emergency car insurance can help you out in a tricky situation
How to make a claim 🚨
Has the worst happened? Here's what to do next. Learn more.

Are you allowed to drive uninsured in an emergency?

No, there’s never a time when you can legally drive without car insurance – unless the only place you’ll be driving is on a private road with no public access.

This might seem unfair if the situation is really urgent 😔 – but there are no allowances for emergencies.

If you get caught driving without at least third-party insurance, you could get a fixed fine of £300 and 6 points on your licence.

Or, if the case goes to court, you could get disqualified from driving and also get an unlimited fine.

(A case would go to court if you didn’t accept the fixed fine and points. It would also go to court if the 6 points took your points level up to 12 points or more.)

Can you get instant car insurance?

Yep – you can get temporary car insurance that starts straight away (like Cuvva's - you can also book ahead). One of the main ideas behind short-term car insurance is that it can be used in emergencies when time is of the essence.

As soon as you’ve bought your insurance you can get on the road immediately, knowing you’re covered.

Need to borrow a friend’s car quickly? Emergency car insurance can help
Need to borrow a friend’s car quickly? Emergency car insurance can help

Here's a little more about quickly sorting car insurance for one hour:

How much does emergency car insurance cost?

Just like normal car insurance, emergency car insurance varies in price from company to company. Plus, any price you get will be based on your unique situation.

Insurers work out their prices by looking at lots of different things, like your age, the car you want to drive, where you plan on driving it, and even your job.

It’s all about working out how ‘risky’ you are to insure by looking at how many claims people ‘like you’ make. Here’s what 1 hour of emergency cover might cost

To give you a rough idea about emergency car insurance costs, here are Cuvva’s most-popular 1 hour car insurance policy prices:

  • Volkswagen Golf - £13.34
  • Vauxhall Astra - £12.31
  • Vauxhall Corsa - £11.76
  • Ford Fiesta - £11.38
  • Ford Focus - £12.04

Is emergency car insurance fully comprehensive?

Most temporary car insurance policies (Cuvva’s, for example) are fully comprehensive. But it’s worth double checking, just in case.

If a policy only gives you third-party, fire and theft cover, only other people and their cars will be protected if you have an accident that’s your fault. If it’s fully comp, you and the car you’re driving will be protected, too.

Wait… what’s emergency vehicle insurance? 🤔

Well, it might sound like emergency insurance but emergency vehicle insurance is something completely different.

Emergency vehicle insurance is insurance for actual emergency vehicles – like ambulances.

This is worth noting because sometimes when you search for emergency car insurance online you might get some results for emergency vehicle insurance thrown up. Which is definitely not what you need if you’re looking to insure a car in an emergency!

If you need normal emergency insurance, you can get a quote in just minutes.

Updated on 3rd April 2023