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Short term car insurance, temporary car insurance, and day car insurance are all different terms for the same thing: a quick and easy way to insure yourself as a driver for a short period of time. 

Annual car insurance is a little different. That takes longer to arrange and usually makes sense if you have your own car.

Still unsure which insurance is right for you?

Don’t worry, we can help you out. In this post, we’ll explain the difference between short term and annual car insurance policies. By the end, you’ll be able to decide which option is best for you (that’s not something we can work out from where we’re sat).

Short term vs annual car insurance

Short term car insurance is like your childhood BFF you see once a year for dinner. You catch up, have some laughs, and reminisce about the good old days. But then, before you know it, it’s time to say goodbye.

Annual car insurance is more like your ride-or-die squad. They’re always there for you, day or night. You know them like the back of your hand, and they know all your secrets too.

So, which one is right for you?

Well, that depends on your needs. If you just need a quick fling with a car, then short term car insurance could be your best bet. But if you’re looking for a long-term commitment, then annual car insurance has a lot to offer.

You probably want short term car insurance if:

  • You’re borrowing your mate’s car to take the road trip of a lifetime and you’ll give it right back when you return.
  • You’ve just bought your first banger but haven’t had time to sort out annual insurance yet and you want to drive it home safely and legally.

Your short term car insurance could last anywhere from an hour to a few weeks. Short term is a pretty flexible term here.

These are just the headline differences. There are more. But, in short: short term car insurance is temporary, and annual car insurance is… well, annual. Make sense? Cool.

Does short term insurance offer full cover?

Short term car insurance is designed to help you out in a pinch. But you might be wondering what level of cover you can expect from this type of policy.

Here’s the thing: temporary car insurance is designed to offer broadly the same level of cover as that provided by an annual car policy, just for a shorter period. There are differences to be aware of. For example temporary car insurance rarely if ever includes windscreen cover or glass cover, and you should understand these differences before buying a policy.

But there will always be differences between insurers and brands.

So before buying any policy, make sure you’re clear on what cover you need, and what cover is, and is not, provided by any policy.

Also, be sure to read the Policy Wording and Insurance Product Information Document (IPID) before buying short term car insurance – or any insurance for that matter.

Yup, we know. Almost nobody wants to read the T&Cs.  That’s how one gaming company claimed the legal right to all its customers’ souls. Of course, it was all an April’s Fools joke. We think.

All we’re saying is, you need to know what you’re buying. This way, you’ll know exactly what is and isn’t covered. And you’ll get to keep your eternal soul if you believe in that kind of thing.

Zixty’s comprehensive short term car insurance

If you’re looking for comprehensive short term car insurance, you’ve come to the right place. Here at Zixty, we offer comprehensive car insurance that is designed to cover you and the car.

But what does ‘insured incident’ even mean? Well, put simply, it means your policy won’t just cover you in the event of a crash or accident. An insured incident can mean theft, accidental damage, or fire damage, for example. And you could still claim against your policy in these instances.

Do I need the owner’s permission to take out temporary car insurance?

If you’re thinking about taking out short term car insurance, you might be wondering: do I need the owner’s permission? The answer is a resounding yes!

You cannot legally take out short term insurance on a car that you don’t have the owner’s permission to drive.

So before you hit the open road, be sure to get permission from the person who owns the car.

Otherwise, you could be in for a world of trouble. Yes, even if it’s your nan’s car and you’re only borrowing it to nip to the shops while she naps.

Is short term car insurance more expensive?

Short term car insurance might seem more expensive at first, but if you only need it for a few days a year, it can work out cheaper than annual car insurance.

Let’s say that one of your parents has a car that you drive once in a while. You could either take out a short term policy from time to time, or you could be added to their annual policy.

A day of cover might cost a few quid. If you multiplied this by 365 days, the costs might not be that attractive. But you’re not driving their car every day. You pay as you go.

Being on an annual policy makes sense if you actually drive your parents’ car every day. But if you’re only going to drive a handful of days a year, and you divided the annual cost by the number of days when you actually drive, the daily cost of your annual insurance might work out a lot more expensive.

Viewed day by day, short term might appear more expensive, but viewed across the year, it may well be a more cost-effective option.

What about temporary cover on an annual policy?

So you’re thinking of asking your mum to add you as a driver on her policy, eh? But hold up! There are a few things you need to know first.

  • There might be admin charges and fees to make any changes to your mum’s policy
  • If you claim on your mum’s policy, she might lose her No Claim Discount
  • It might not be as quick and easy to arrange as you’d like – some insurers make you jump through hoops just to get cover for an extra day or two.
  • Extending the policy could result in more fees or new limitations

But what’s the solution? Short term car insurance, my friend. It’s designed to take minutes to sort, be easy on the pocket, and flex as your needs change.

So before you go ahead and beg your mum to add you to her insurance, give temporary car insurance a go.

Does there need to be an insurance policy in place already?

Good news! You don’t need to have any other insurance policy in place when you take out a Zixty policy.

Why? Well, let’s take a look at a couple of scenarios:

You’re sharing a car: Taking a road trip with your friend who owns the car? They should have valid insurance before you set off. Or they’d be breaking the law. Your Zixty policy covers you while you’re driving their (insured) car.

You’re borrowing a car: Need to borrow your friend’s estate to move the sofa to your new pad? Whatever the reason you’re borrowing a car for unless your buddy is breaking the law, the car should already be insured. Your Zixty policy covers you while you’re driving the car you’re borrowing.

You’re buying a car : Buying a sweet second-hand car? Unfortunately, even if there is insurance in place prior to the purchase, it won’t usually extend to you. Unless you’ve been given temporary car cover.

If not, you’ll need to take out insurance from the time you collect the car. Your Zixty insurance can cover you until you sort out annual insurance.

Can I use a Driving Other Cars (DOC) extension?

Driving Other Cars (DOC) is a feature of some annual comprehensive car insurance policies. It allows people with an existing policy to drive other people’s cars.

But, where DOC exists in a policy, there are generally lots of exclusions or limitations. It’s really only designed for unplanned emergency use. It’s definitely not designed so you can borrow your mate’s car to get some flat-pack furniture back from IKEA.

If you’re unsure about whether you’re covered, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Think about it, is it really worth the risk? Probably not.

The implications of getting this wrong can be very serious, including being uninsured, being fined, and getting points on your licence.

Because of the complexity of this subject, we’ve dedicated a separate Driving Other Cars article to this subject.

Is short term car insurance greener than annual car insurance?

Here’s the harsh truth: all cars have an environmental impact. But short term car insurance can lead to a more sustainable way of driving. For instance, it facilitates the sharing economy, encouraging car sharing and possibly reducing car ownership altogether.

And at Zixty, we try to do our part through carbon offsetting. When you take out our temporary insurance, we carbon offset your journeys by up to 100 miles a day!

How? By covering the cost of planting trees to absorb the CO2 your car emits each time you drive it. And yes, we cover electric cars too.

Also, if you enable Zixty Miles in our app, you get rewarded for driving safely. Because driving safely is also better for the planet.

Annual car insurance versus short term car insurance

Short term car insurance is great if you don’t own a car and are planning on borrowing your mate’s banger to pick up your new IKEA futon. But even if you drive your mum’s car occasionally, it might make sense to go short term.

Annual car insurance makes sense if you own your car, but otherwise, there is a lot to be said about temporary car insurance; it’s quick, easy, and flexible.

Plus, with Zixty’s temporary car insurance policies, you can carbon offset your journeys and do something good for the planet. What’s not to love?