How does one day car insurance work?

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Motorists, you are probably most familiar with taking out car insurance that lasts a full year. But what if you only need to be behind the wheel for a short time during a 12-month period?

That’s where one-day car insurance comes in. It works like this.

If you are behind the wheel of a car, you need car insurance. It is illegal to drive without it, even if you only want to use the vehicle for a day.

If you’re only interested in driving a car temporarily, the first thing you need to establish is whether you’re already insured. If you are a ‘Designated Driver’ on the policy of the car you plan to drive, you have already got third party cover.

What is One Day Car Insurance?

Especially if you live in a big city like London, you don’t necessarily have a car even if you have a driver’s license.

But what if you want to borrow a friend’s car for a one-time trip? Or, you’re moving home and you’ve been offered to use a van so you can take your belongings to a new address?

Instead of taking out full blown car insurance that lasts a full year – or asking a friend or family member to make changes to an existing policy – it’s possible to have a much shorter term than the typical 12 months. Take cover.

This is known as one-day car insurance and is also called ‘temporary’ or ‘short-term’ car cover.

One big advantage of taking out a temporary cover is that you can tailor it to times when you know you’re going to be driving. For example, Aviva offers coverage ranging from one hour to 30 days.

Where can I buy one day cover?

You can go directly to insurance companies, but another option is to head online and use a comparison site to check day’s policies side-by-side.

You will be presented with a wide selection of quotes, assuming you have been driving for a few years and have a full UK driving licence. In order to work out the premium you will be asked to pay, insurers will take into account a number of details from you including:

  • Age
  • Know
  • profession
  • driving license details

Insurers also need to know the make and model of the car you intend to drive, as well as when you want to start covering.

Note that some providers will not cover drivers under the age of 25 for this type of short-term cover. Policies may also set an upper age limit on drivers of 75.

You can start ticking the clock on your policy from the moment you set up the policy. Alternatively, set a start date for a later time depending on the cover you need.

Along with taking cover only for a period of 24 hours, it is also possible to buy policies that last for a few days, a few weeks or several months.

To keep the cost of premiums low you will be asked to pay, one option is to choose to pay a higher voluntary extra. If you make a claim, the excess is the amount you are liable to pay before the insurer collects the balance.

Drivers taking out a one-day insurance policy usually get fully comprehensive cover as standard. Third party cover (the legal minimum for UK drivers) as well as third party, fire and theft insurance is also provided by some insurers on a short-term basis.

It is also possible to pay for add-ons to your main policy such as breakdown cover. If you’re planning on going to Europe for a day trip, you can add on cover for driving on the mainland continent as well.

Remember that the more additions you add, the higher your premiums will be.

Is one-day cover available for all cars?

Generally speaking, yes, there is a valid MOT to provide the car in question and not more than eight seats. However, insurers may refuse to cover expensive vehicles. For example, cars worth over £50,000.

If you need cover for a very expensive car, your only option may be to find an expert insurer in this area.