What is short term car insurance?
Short term car insurance covers a motorist cheaply for a limited period of time between 1 and 28 days. This cover is used by motorists who need to be covered on another vehicle temporarily, for example when borrowing a friend's car to move or when going on a holiday; or perhaps when buying a car and needing cover to drive it home.
Temporary cover could save your driving licence!
It is generally accepted that 5% of the drivers on British roads are uninsured. What is not as well known is that about a third of these genuinely believe that they are in fact covered, even though they are not!
Vehicles not belong to you
In most cases, the reason is this: there was always a tradition that anyone taking out a fully comprehensive car insurance policy (and sometimes a third party, fire and theft policy to) was automatically given insurance to cover driving any vehicle that the policyholder did not own, and was not buying under a hire purchase agreement.
Unfortunately two things have happened; firstly the government has decided that this is not a good thing, and has made representations to the insurance industry to drop the whole idea; and secondly, partly in response to the difficulties that the industry is going through, a lot of insurers have introduced a number of conditions. For example some of them do not extend this cover to people under 25, some to cars over a certain cubic capacity, some to cars owned by spouses or other relatives. This can very easily mean that someone who borrows a car for a small period while may well assume that he or she is insured, when this simply is not the case.
Is it cheap?
This is a specialised policy which provides legal cover for just a few days. Whilst it costs more per day than a conventional 12 month policy, the rates are still very reasonable and competitive.
Lending your car to someone else
There is another very important point that must be borne in mind. If someone lends a car to a person who turns out to be uninsured, the lender will probably be prosecuted for allowing a vehicle to be on the road without insurance. This is a very serious offence with a maximum penalty of 5000 pounds fine +8 penalty points on the driving licence for a first offence. Not only that; the car could be confiscated and crushed, under the Road Traffic Act. The only defence against a charge like this is the claim that no permission was ever given, and would not have been given if asked; something that could lead to the borrower facing very serious charges indeed.
Staying within the law
The moral is to check the insurance situation scrupulously, whether you are lending a car to someone, or borrowing one yourself; and if in the slightest doubt take out some temporary insurance to cover the period of the loan.