One Day Car Insurance: Everything You Need to Know

Read on as we tell you everything you need to know about one day car insurance.

Updated: February 13, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

 

One day car insurance can be a lifesaver when you need it most. Perhaps your car has broken down and you need short term cover to drive a friend’s car? Temporary insurance cover will ensure that you still arrive at work on time. 

Furthermore, arranging insurance for your car is simple and straightforward, getting you on the road in no time at all.

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about one day car insurance, getting you ready to rev the engine and drive on the road legally.

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1. RAC★★★★★Click Here
2. Aviva★★★★★Click Here
3. Halifax★★★★★Click Here
4. Tempcover★★★★Click Here
5. Zoomcover★★★★Click Here
6. Marmalade★★★★Click Here

What Is One Day Car Insurance?

One day car insurance is also known as temporary car insurance and provides you with short term cover so you can drive your car legally.

To drive your car legally in the UK, you must purchase car insurance. At a minimum you must buy third party insurance cover, although you can upgrade your policy to either third party fire and theft cover or fully comprehensive insurance.

Usually, a driver takes out an annual policy to give them peace of mind when driving on a regular basis. However, you may need temporary cover if you only need to drive a car occasionally, or if you need to drive a friend or family member’s car.

Despite temporary cover being known commonly as ‘one day car insurance’, you can purchase short term insurance for any period from one day through to several months.

Why Would I Need to Buy One Day Insurance?

The most common reason why temporary insurance is purchased by drivers is when your own car breaks down and you need to borrow a car to use until your car is fixed. 

You might borrow a friend or family member’s car, or you may hire a car. In such instances you will need short term car insurance so you are covered to drive a different car.

Alternatively, perhaps you don’t have your own car but need to drive a friend's car when you go on holiday for the weekend? Or, you might need temporary insurance cover for a brand new car until you have arranged a new annual policy.

Whatever the reason, short term insurance cover is flexible and can be adapted to almost any situation.

What Happens If I Drive Without Insurance?

It is illegal to drive a vehicle on UK roads without car insurance.

This includes situations where the car is insured but you are not insured to drive it. You must at least purchase third party insurance which covers third parties in the event of an accident.

If you do not purchase insurance before driving on UK roads you will face a penalty of up to £300 along with six penalty points. However, in some instances, cases that go to court could result in unlimited fines and driving disqualification. The police could even destroy your vehicle.

The police can easily check on the motor insurance database to determine whether you are driving insured.

Are There Different Types of Car Insurance?

There are three different classifications of car insurance that you could purchase when arranging cover.

However, most insurance providers insist on comprehensive cover for temporary car insurance policies.

Third Party Cover

Third party temporary car insurance policies protect other drivers if you are ever responsible for an accident. This is the minimum level of cover that you can purchase so that you are legally able to drive on the road in the UK.

So, if you are liable for a road traffic collision, your third party temporary car insurance policy will pay for damages to other vehicles involved in the accident, in addition to injury to those third parties.

If you decide to get temporary car insurance with third party cover, however, you will not be able to seek damages for your own vehicle or injuries if you are involved in an accident. You are also unable to claim damages if your vehicle is stolen or involved in a fire. 

Third Party Fire and Theft Policy

Third party fire and theft is a mid-range temporary car insurance policy that covers everything that a third party policy covers in addition to covering fire and theft.

So, if your car is involved in a fire, either accidental or deliberate, your policy will provide a market value replacement if the vehicle cannot be fixed.

Similarly, you are covered if your vehicle is stolen under this policy. If your vehicle is recovered, your insurance policy will repair any damage. However, if the vehicle is not recovered or cannot be repaired, you will receive a payout for the market value of your own car.

However, remember that a third party fire and theft policy still does not cover you and your vehicle if you are involved in an accident.

Comprehensive Policy

A fully comprehensive car insurance policy covers third parties, fire and theft, and your own car and personal injuries. 

So, if you are involved in an accident that you are liable for, your fully comprehensive car insurance covers damage to your vehicle and any injuries suffered, as well as third party vehicles and any injuries they have suffered.

If your vehicle is damaged in a fire or is stolen, you are also covered. Most car insurance providers recommend that comprehensive car insurance is purchased due to offering drivers the highest level of protection possible.

Can I Get Car Insurance for One Day?

You can purchase car insurance for one day, or even a week or several months.

Your car insurance provider will tailor the duration of insurance to meet your needs, listening to the level of cover you require and ensuring to provide you with the best temporary car insurance policy for you.

Can I Get Car Insurance for One Hour?

One hour car insurance is also a possibility provided by some car insurance providers, ensuring that you only pay for the duration of cover that you require.

So, if you need to drive another vehicle to pick up your new car, you can purchase hourly car insurance to get you to your location.

If you need temporary car insurance for a few hours, your car insurance provider will provide you with the exact duration of cover that you need.

How Does Temporary Car Insurance Work?

Temporary car insurance is flexible short term cover so you can drive a vehicle on the road.

You can tailor the temporary car insurance policy to meet your needs instead of buying annual car insurance.

Most providers will insist that you take out comprehensive cover regardless of whether you intend to drive a hire or rental vehicle, or borrow a friend’s car. However, you should be able to purchase cover for as little as one hour up until several weeks or even months.

To purchase temporary car insurance, contact a leading car insurance provider that offers temporary car insurance policies. You will find the very best providers featured in our review at the end of this article.

You will then need to enter your details, focusing on the type of vehicle you intend to drive, details about your own driving history, and how long you need car insurance cover for.

Your provider will tell you how much the policy will cost for you to purchase car insurance and the time and date when the policy will expire. You will then agree to the conditions and make a payment. You will be covered by a temporary car insurance policy for the stated duration.

Remember that once the temporary car insurance policy has expired, you will not be covered to drive the vehicle legally on the road. Make sure you know the exact time when the temporary car insurance cover will expire, and extend the temporary policy if required.

How Much Does Temporary Car Insurance Cost?

Temporary car insurance does not have to be expensive.

In fact, it can cost you less than £11 per hour when purchasing temporary car insurance for a few hours with some car insurance providers. 

Although, if you purchase temporary car insurance for several weeks or months, you could find that you are paying a much higher price for your temporary insurance policy in contrast with an annual car insurance policy. If your provider insists that you can only buy comprehensive cover, your flexible car insurance will also cost more.

However, the cost of any car insurance policy will depend on your own personal circumstances, regardless of whether you need hourly car insurance or an annual car insurance policy.

If you have been prosecuted for speeding in the past, car insurance providers will deem you to be a high risk. They might think that you are likely to speed again in the future, increasing the chance that you will be involved in an accident that the insurance provider will have to pay for.

The type of car is also relevant to the cost of your temporary car insurance policy as bigger, more powerful cars are more expensive to insure. The more expensive your car is will also result in higher car insurance costs as it will cost the provider a higher amount to repair or replace the vehicle if it is involved in an accident or stolen.

At a Glance, Temporary Car Insurance Pros and Cons

If you are considering purchasing flexible car insurance, what pros and cons should you consider?

Pros

✔️ Legal requirement — You need to buy car insurance so that you can legally drive on the road.

✔️ Repercussions — If you are found to be driving without insurance, you could be fined £300 and given six points on your licence. In some instances, you could have your vehicle destroyed, receive an unlimited fine, or be disqualified from driving.

✔️ Flexibility — Temporary car insurance is flexible car insurance that can be adapted to your needs.

✔️ Freedom — As soon as you have arranged temporary car insurance with a provider, you are free to drive on the roads and enjoy the journey.

Cons

❌️ Cost — Purchasing temporary car insurance for a few hours may be cost effective, however buying temporary car insurance for several weeks or months can be much more expensive than an annual policy and monthly car insurance instalments.

❌️ Comprehensive plans — Many temporary insurance policy providers insist that you purchase comprehensive cover instead of purchasing third party or third party fire and theft cover. This will mean that the price you pay is much higher.

❌️ Expiration — Your temporary car insurance will expire at a certain time and date so ensure you know when this will happen. Once the insurance has expired, you will not be able to legally drive on the road.

❌️ Restrictions — If you do not have an annual car insurance policy, you are restricted as to where you can go on a daily basis. With an annual car insurance policy you have the freedom to go wherever you like, whenever you like.

Best Temporary Car Insurance Policies — Reviews

We have tested the very best temporary car insurance policies and providers in the UK so you don’t have to. 

Here are our top temporary car insurance policies for you to choose from:

1. RAC Temporary Comprehensive Insurance — Best Overall Choice

Benefits:

  • Fully comprehensive cover 
  • For business or leisure use
  • Purchase cover from 1 hour to 30 days
  • Extend coverage online
  • Add optional benefits

Features:

  • Covered for loss, theft, fire or vandalism
  • Replacement child car seat
  • Replacement locks
  • Personal belongings up to £150
  • Legal expenses up to £100,000
  • Personal accident up to £5,000 per year

Prices:

  • 1 hour insurance from £18.48
  • 1 day insurance from £30.26
  • 1 week insurance from £92.86

RAC temporary car insurance offers fully comprehensive cover that can be used for business or leisure use. 

You can purchase car insurance from 1 hour through to 30 days with optional benefits added as extras. Furthermore, you can simply extend your coverage online using the RAC portal for as long as you need.

Your RAC policy covers you for loss, theft, fire or vandalism, paying for personal belongings up to a value of £150 and legal expenses of up to £100,000. You can also claim personal accident up to £5,000 per year, split between claims of no more than £2,500 per accident.

You can also claim for replacement locks should your keys be lost or stolen, as well as a replacement child car seat after an accident, even if there is no visible damage.

Temporary car insurance from the RAC costs from £18.48 for one hour, with prices escalating by around £2 for every additional hour covered. Coverage for one day will cost you £30.26, rising by around £16 for every additional day covered.

Furthermore, you can insure your vehicle for £92.86 for one week, rising by around £30 for every additional week. If you purchase temporary car insurance from the RAC for four weeks, you will pay £186.55. You can also add optional extras such as breakdown cover.

2. Aviva Temporary Comprehensive Insurance — Great for Optional Benefits

Benefits:

  • Fully comprehensive cover 
  • Purchase cover from 1 hour to 30 days
  • Third party European cover
  • Add optional benefits

Features:

  • Covered for loss, theft, or fire
  • Accident recovery
  • Emergency treatment cover
  • Legal liability for up to £5,000,000

Prices:

  • Aviva price coverage on an individual basis

Aviva temporary car insurance offers fully comprehensive car insurance on a flexible and temporary basis. You can purchase car insurance cover for as little as one hour and for as long as 30 days.

Whilst Aviva provides comprehensive insurance as standard, as an included extra you will also receive third party European cover, covering other drivers if you are involved in an accident outside of the UK across Europe.

In addition, optional extras may be included in your package. This includes fully comprehensive European cover, protecting yourself and third parties when you are abroad, as well as RAC breakdown cover if you live in England, Wales, or Scotland.

Features of the Aviva temporary insurance policy cover you for loss, theft or damage. You are also entitled to receive accident recovery as well as emergency treatment cover. Legal liability also comes as standard up to the included value of £5,000,000.

Temporary cover from Aviva includes tailored prices that are dependent on your own circumstances. For example, your driving history and the type of car you want to insure are taken into consideration. However, as an estimated guide, an hour of Aviva temporary cover will cost you around £19.

3. Halifax Temporary Comprehensive Insurance — Best for Reliability

Benefits:

  • Fully comprehensive cover 
  • For business or leisure use
  • Purchase cover from 1 hour to 30 days
  • Third party European cover included
  • Add optional benefits

Features:

  • Covered for loss, theft, fire or damage
  • Legal expenses up to £5,000,000
  • Personal accident up to £5,000 per year

Prices:

  • 1 day insurance from £24.99

Temporary car insurance from Halifax is perfect for both business and leisure and comes as a comprehensive plan as standard.

Your insurance entitles you to receive a payout if your vehicle is damaged as a result of an accident you are liable for, as well as covering injuries to yourself. Likewise, third party vehicles and personal injuries are also covered under a fully comprehensive plan.

Choose coverage from Halifax from as little as 1 hour of car insurance up to a maximum of 30 days. You can choose the duration of your temporary car insurance policy to suit your needs and requirements.

There are also optional benefits that can be added onto your package, whilst third party European cover comes as standard. This means that if you are liable for a road traffic accident whilst driving in Europe, you are covered for the damage to third party vehicles as well as injuries to the third party. Your own car and injuries are not covered when driving in Europe, however.

Halifax’s temporary cover ensures that you are covered for loss, theft, fire and damage whilst covered under the policy. As soon as the temporary cover expires, you are not legally allowed to drive on the roads.

You will also receive benefits of being covered for personal accidents for up to £5,000 per year across all claims, as well as being covered for legal expenses up to a total of £5,000,000.

The cost of temporary insurance with Halifax varies and is tailored to your own driving history and type of car you want to insure. However, when insuring a standard vehicle for one day, you will pay in the region of £24.99.

4. Tempcover Comprehensive Insurance — Best for Learner Drivers

Benefits:

  • Fully comprehensive cover 
  • Tailored for learner drivers
  • Purchase cover from 12 hours to 28 days
  • Extend coverage online

Features:

  • Covered for loss, theft, fire or damage
  • Highest level of protection
  • Protects the owner’s no claims discount
  • The car must be valued between £500 and £30,000

Prices:

  • Tempcover tailor prices on an individual basis

Tempcover’s temporary car insurance for learner drivers is the perfect addition to a learner driver’s journey. Additional cover can be added when a learner driver needs to obtain extra practice before an upcoming test, or to reduce the cost of private lessons.

Tempcover offers fully comprehensive car insurance that covers your own car and any injuries sustained as well as third party cars and injuries if you were to blame for an accident. 

You can purchase temporary cover for any duration between 12 hours and 28 days, providing the exact level of coverage you need. When you need to purchase additional temporary insurance simply log into your account and purchase more hours.

Your Tempcover policy will cover you for loss, theft, fire and damage, providing the highest level of protection for a learner driver. Your friend or family member who is allowing you to use their car will have their no claims discount protected so both you and they can have peace of mind.

To obtain cover from Tempcover, the car you are insuring must be valued at between £500 and £30,000. The learner driver must possess a UK provisional licence and must be aged between 17 and 69 years old.

Furthermore, the supervising individual must be aged at least 25 years old and must hold a full UK driving licence. Additionally, the supervising individual must have been a permanent UK resident for at least 2 years.

5. Zoomcover Temporary Insurance — Best for Low Prices

Benefits:

  • Pay-as-you-go car insurance
  • Fully comprehensive cover 
  • Purchase cover from 1 hour to 28 days
  • Extend coverage online

Features:

  • Covered for loss, theft, fire or vandalism
  • Add top up cover if you have an annual insurance policy already
  • Choose business only to save costs
  • Breakdown cover included

Prices:

  • 1 hour insurance from £4
  • 1 day insurance from £8
  • 1 week insurance from £40

Zoomcover temporary car insurance provides you with a low cost short term policy that is fully comprehensive as standard. You can choose coverage lasting as little as 1 hour or as much as 28 days, depending on what you need from your car insurance.

Additionally, your Zoomcover pay-as-you-go car insurance can be extended online and can be adapted for a variety of purposes. So, instead of choosing a standard temporary insurance policy, you could save money by purchasing the short term cover for your needs.

For example, you could purchase Zoomcover Car Share insurance so you can drive a friend or family member’s car that is already insured. This cover will cost you around £7 per hour, £11 per day or £90 per month.

Or, if you already have insurance for another car and want to borrow a different car, Zoomcover Top Up Cover could be for you. This policy provides third party cover in addition to your standard cover and starts at £4 per hour, £8 per day or £40 per month.

If you need temporary insurance to drive to a training course or make a site visit, Zoomcover Business Use insurance is the perfect choice. 

This policy type is tailored for drivers who have an annual social, domestic and pleasure use policy but who are not covered for business use. Prices for Zoomcover Business Use insurance begins at £5 per hour, £8 per day or £60 per month.

With each type of short term cover, you will receive breakdown cover as standard, adding an additional incentive to choose Zoomcover as your insurer.

6. Marmalade Temporary Insurance — Best for Young Drivers

Benefits:

  • Fully comprehensive cover 
  • Tailored for young drivers aged 18 to 27 years old
  • Purchase cover for up to 6 weeks
  • Opt for pay-as-you-go insurance for low mileage drivers
  • Choose short term insurance for university students
  • Extend coverage online

Features:

  • Covered for loss, theft, fire or damage
  • Covered for windscreen repair or replacement
  • Personal belongings up to £100
  • Legal liability coverage for up to £20,000,000
  • Personal accident up to £2,500 per year
  • £750 excess necessary

Prices:

  • Marmalade temporary car insurance quotes are based on individual circumstances

Marmalade temporary car insurance is tailored for young drivers aged between 18 and 27 years old. You will receive comprehensive cover to protect yourself and your own car as well as other road users and their vehicles in the event of an accident that you are responsible for.

Marmalade offers two variations of their temporary car insurance for young drivers, both of which can be arranged and extended using an online portal.

The pay-as-you-go option allows you to pay for the miles that you actually drive when purchasing insurance. This is a great option for drivers who possess a low mileage and can be bought for your own car or a parent’s car. You must have a full UK driving licence and you can build your own no claims discount for claim-free years, a significant benefit for the future.

To purchase the pay-as-you-go short term cover you will start by buying insurance for 500 miles in distance. You can then top up your cover to purchase more miles of coverage.

However, the car you drive must not be older than 20 years old and cannot be worth more than £30,000 in value. 

Another option from Marmalade is their short term insurance policy which is tailored for university students, or boarding school students. This policy allows you to borrow a car from a friend or a parent with up to 6 weeks of coverage available.

This is a flexible type of insurance that is perfect if you are a student sharing a family car. You cannot use this insurance to insure your own car, however, and the car you drive cannot be worth more than £30,000 to qualify for this insurance policy.

Temporary coverage from Marmalade is fully comprehensive to cover you for loss, theft, fore and damage. You are also covered for windscreen repair or replacement, in addition to personal belongings cover for up to £100.

Furthermore, you are covered for legal liability of up to £20,000,000 in addition to personal accident claims of up to £2,500. 

However, if you make a claim with either Marmalade policy, you will need to pay an excess of £750.

Leading One Day Car Insurance Policies: The Verdict

There are many variations of temporary car insurance that you can purchase, some of which are unique to your own circumstances and that are very affordable.

If you already have fully comprehensive insurance for another car and need temporary insurance to drive a different car, you could find options of cover that are much cheaper than you originally thought with Zoomcover. Similarly, if you need temporary cover for business use when you already have a standard social, domestic and pleasure car insurance policy.

However, if you are a young person or a learner driver, ensure to visit a specialist temporary car insurance provider who can offer you attractive policies to meet your own requirements. For example, Marmalade could provide you with a pay-as-you-go option for low mileage drivers, or a short term policy for 6 weeks of cover if you are a university student.

Related Guides:

One Day Car Insurance: FAQS

Do I have to have insurance to drive a friend’s car?

Can I insure a car for just 1 day?

Can I drive a car the same day that I insure it?

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