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Basics of Temporary car Insurance

Need less than a whole year's car or van insurance? Now you have a choice. Temporary insurance is cover for a short period of time, and it's not meant to replace an annual insurance policy. Drivers can purchase short term cover for a specified period of time – between 1 and 28 days, or between a month and up to eight months,  to insure them on another vehicle without putting their no claims bonus at risk.

Levels of Cover

Third party only is the minimum amount of cover required by law. Drivers can purchase short term policies that are third party only, third party theft and fire, or comprehensive. Comprehensive is the most expensive because it covers everything – third party liability as well as damage to the driver's own vehicle and possibly personal injury. Third party only is the most basic cover; it only pays out for damage to another person's person or property. If a driver only has third party coverage, in the event of an accident, he or she would have to pay for damage to the car, which can get expensive. Third party theft and fire offers a bit more protection, covering damage or loss for the driver's car in case of theft or fire.

Purchasing Cover

There are several insurers that specialise in short term insurance cover; drivers can also purchase these policies from some of the general insurers but they are usually far more expensive that the online specialist companies and arranging cover can be a complex procedure. Online companies, however, make it quick and easy to purchase cover online and some advertise that it takes less than 5 minutes to be approved. Once a driver pays for the policy, proof of insurance can be e-mailed to them immediately and for those who need physical copies, for instance to tax a vehicle, many companies offer to post it the following business day although there is usually a small extra charge for this. Short term insurance can be purchased in advance, but it's especially useful for last-minute purchasing because it can be done so quickly and will take effect immediately with payment made online with credit or debit cards.


The two costs of any insurance policy are the premium and the excess. The premium is what the driver pays for the short term policy, usually paid by the day. The excess is the amount one has to pay in case of an accident. These two costs are related; insurers may lower the premium if the driver agrees to a higher excess. Regardless, there will be some excess the driver has to pay, whether the driver is liable or not.

If a driver has purchased 1 to 28 days insurance for a specific vehicle and that cover has expired, he or she must often wait 15 days before taking out another short term policy on the same vehicle. Those buying monthly insurance (up to 8 months is available) can usually take out another policy immediately if the old one has run it's maximum course.

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