Short-term car insurance | Get temporary cover for your car in Australia

Short term car insurance

Only need temporary car insurance? Good news, there are several different options.

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If you only need car insurance for a brief period, such as a month, a week, or even one day, there aren't any car insurers that specifically offer this kind of product. However, you can still get cover!

Here's how:
1. Take out a regular policy and pay monthly - cancel it when you don't need it anymore.
2. Go for a pay-as-you-drive policy, where you only pay for the kilometres you drive each year

Want short term car insurance? Start comparing some options

Name Product Roadside Assistance Accidental Damage Storm Choice of Repairer Agreed or Market Value
Budget Direct Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Awarded the 2019 Finder Award for the Best Value Car Insurance, this policy offers solid coverage at a low cost plus you will get 15% discount on first year's premium when you take out a policy online. Budget Direct’s claims service has received a 4.2/5 based on nearly 5,000 customer reviews.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy without breaking the bank.
Bingle Comprehensive
Finder's summary:Bingle consistently comes up as one of the cheaper insurers out there. It only covers the basics, so you don't get to choose your own repairer, you're not covered for personal items in the car and unless you add it as an option, you won't get a hire car if your car is stolen. But this keeps its premiums low.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a low-cost option that covers them for the basics.
Coles Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Coles have two-tiers of comprehensive car insurance to choose from. You'll earn double flybuys points at Coles supermarkets and you can get $10 off your Coles grocery bill every time you redeem 2,000 Flybuys points. If you're over 30, you can get roadside assistance free for a year.

Who it might be good for: Coles customers and Flybuys collectors.
Poncho Comprehensive
Finder's summary: Poncho works like a monthly subscription – you pay monthly and can cancel and leave at any time. You can also list multiple cars and drivers under one policy, making it ideal for families and groups living together under one household.

Who it might be good for: People who want their car insurance month to month.
Woolworths Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Woolworths catches our eye due to some unique perks like a price-beat guarantee, where it'll beat any current comparable comprehensive renewal notice if you're over 25. You'll also get 10% off your grocery shop once a month and can add roadside assistance onto your policy for just $7.35 per month.

Who it might be good for: Woolworths shoppers and those that want to take advantage of its price-beat guarantee.
Qantas Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be with optional extras like choice of repairer and the option of agreed or market value. Plus earn Qantas Points for joining and paying your premium. Sign up by 2 May 2021, you can earn up to 30,000 Qantas Points (points awarded will be based on your premium). T&Cs and eligibility apply.
Virgin Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Finalists for the 2019 Finder Awards for Best Value Car Insurance, Virgin Comprehensive provides a good level of cover for a decent price. Get 15% off on your first year’s premium when you purchase a new eligible comprehensive car insurance online. T&Cs Apply.
Stella Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Stella’s a female-focused insurer. It'll cover you if your car is damaged as a result of domestic violence. It offers higher cover for baby gear than most, with up to $2,000 cover for prams, strollers and child seats. Get $50 cash back when you purchase online between 1 April – 30 June 2021 using the code STELLA50. T&C apply.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a female-centred car insurance policy (it will cover men too).
QBE Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: QBE is a sustainable insurance company and also Finder's Green Insurer of the Year 2020 Award winner. This policy offers the highest level of protection available from QBE including three-year new car replacement. You can also save $75 when you purchase a new comprehensive policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Those that are looking for a more environmentally friendly insurance choice.
Real Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Real Comprehensive Car Insurance provides similar coverage to other insurers for the important stuff like looking after your car if it's stolen or you crash. They're also one of the few insurers who offer a Pay As You Drive policy, so you might be able to save big if you don't drive much.

Who it might be good for: Those that don't drive much can take advantage of their Pay As You Drive policy.
Australia Post Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Australia Post car insurance offers comprehensive cover for things like theft, fire, new for old replacement and emergency accommodation and transport. Cover also extends to anyone who uses your car, not just you.

Who it might be good for: If multiple people use the one car and you don’t want to worry about listing all drivers.

Compare up to 4 providers

car mountain road

Only want temporary car insurance? We've got your solve.

If you're after car insurance for a short-period of time for whatever reason, this is probably the simplest way to get cover for your vehicle.

  1. Take out a car insurance policy the same way you usually would.
  2. Pay monthly as opposed to yearly. Bonus points if you opt for an insurer that doesn't charge you extra for paying monthly (you can find them in our table above).
  3. When you're done with needing cover, cancel your policy!

Whilst you'll need to hack a small cancellation fee, it's probably better than paying a year's worth of premiums.

Can you get car insurance in Australia for under 30 days?

There are policies that provide immediate cover if you need to drive a different vehicle for a short period of time. Here are some options:

  • 1 day: If you're taking a day trip or are moving house and simply need car insurance for one day or a couple of weeks, it might actually be better for you to just rent a car or get a GoGet.
  • 1 week: Some insurers will allow you to pay fortnightly. If you're driving for a week, it might be best to just pay fortnightly and then cancel your policy when you don't need it anymore.
  • Monthly: You could choose whatever policy takes your fancy, choose to pay monthly, and then cancel it when you don't need it anymore. If you're not driving a lot in this month, you could also look into pay-as-you-drive cover which only requires you to pay for the kilometres you plan on driving over a certain period.

Not quite the right fit? Here are some other short-term car insurance options.

So you already know that Australian car insurers don't offer temporary car insurance. Instead, you will have to choose one of the four following options to get the cover you need:

  • Find a pay-as-you-drive car insurance policy
  • Pay premiums monthly or fortnightly
  • Add a driver to an existing policy
  • Rent a car instead

Pay-as-you-drive policy

This type of policy lets you only pay for the distance you drive, while still extending comprehensive car insurance benefits for an ongoing period. You might think of it as a temporary car insurance that works based on distance driven, instead of for a period of time.

  • How it works: Choose an insurer that calculates your premium based on the distance you drive.
  • Who it could be suitable for: If you need temporary car insurance in Australia and have a rough idea of how far you will be driving.
  • Enjoy all the benefits of comprehensive car insurance
  • The less you drive, the less you pay for cover
  • Full range of optional extras available
  • You need to have a rough idea of how far you’ll be driving all up, and not just how long you need the car for
  • An additional excess will apply to claims if you have exceeded your nominated distance
  • A “price floor” will typically apply, limiting your savings if you’re only using the car in the very short term
  • Generally only available with comprehensive car insurance policies
Name Product Roadside Assistance Accidental Damage Storm Choice of Repairer Agreed or Market Value
Real Pay As You Drive
Only pay for the kilometres you plan to drive.
Woolworths Drive Less Pay Less
Only pay for the kilometres you plan to drive.
ahm Comprehensive with Fixed Kilometre Plan
ahm's Fixed Kilometre Plan is available as an add on with comprehensive cover

Compare up to 4 providers

Pay premiums fortnightly or monthly

Another option is to select a standard car insurance policy of your choice and pay your premiums monthly or fortnightly. This can be a fast and effective way of finding the right type of cover for your needs and accessing the full range of car insurance benefits. Once you no longer need cover, simply cancel the policy.

  • How it works: Pick any car insurance policy you want that allows you to pay your premiums fortnightly or monthly as you go rather than annually in advance. When you no longer need cover, cancel the policy.
  • Who it could be suitable for: Anyone who needs short-term car insurance in Australia and wants the freedom to pick the policy of their choice.
  • Choose from an extensive range of policies
  • Tailor cover to suit your needs
  • Choose from comprehensive, third party fire and theft, and third party property damage policies
  • Only pay for the cover you will use
  • Cancellation fees apply
  • You will need to pay special attention to the policy terms and conditions to ensure this is a viable choice

Add a driver to an existing policy

If you’re borrowing a relative or friend’s car for a temporary period, you could ask them if they would consider adding you to their car insurance policy as a listed driver.

  • How it works: A temporary driver is added to the car owner’s existing car insurance policy for a limited period.
  • Who it could be suitable for: People who are borrowing someone else’s vehicle for a short period, for example if you’re home from uni for the summer and driving your parents’ car.
  • No need to take out a separate policy
  • Simple and convenient option
  • Access all the benefits of a regular car insurance policy
  • Can significantly increase the cost of cover
  • Make sure to avoid the illegal practice of "fronting", which is where you wrongfully list someone else as the main driver in return for cheaper premiums

Rent a car

This option may be more cost-effective than you think. Many credit cards will let you pay for rental cars with reward points, and there are many car rental discounts available, such as free upgrades, free days at no extra cost and straightforward price reductions. Some credit cards also offer complimentary rental car insurance cover, or you can purchase the cover you need from the rental company.

  • How it works: Rent a car for the period required.
  • Who it could be suitable for: People who are moving house and may require a specialist vehicle such as a ute or a van.
  • Great for anyone who needs a very short-term solution
  • You are able to choose a vehicle to suit your needs
  • There are many discounts and savings available
  • Some credit cards offer complimentary car hire insurance
  • You can purchase cover from the rental company to cover the vehicle during the rental period
  • Insurance from rental companies can be expensive
  • Is only suitable for very short-term needs

Compare some car hire options here

Who is eligible for temporary car insurance?

Short-term car insurance is available to suit the needs of a wide range of Australian drivers. If you hold a valid licence that allows you to drive in Australia, you’ll generally be able to qualify for cover.

However, special eligibility requirements may apply depending on the temporary car insurance option you choose. For example, if a friend or relative is going to add you to their policy as a listed driver, you’ll need to make sure that you list the correct person as the main driver of the vehicle.

In addition, some insurers may refuse cover to drivers of specific ages, such as those under 18 years of age or senior motorists. Check with your insurer for full details of any eligibility requirements that apply.

Can you get six-month car insurance in Australia?

It is not possible to find dedicated comprehensive or third-party property car insurance policies that cover you for a set period of six months. Instead, the most cost-effective way to get the cover you need can be to buy a 12-month policy and then simply cancel it after six months.

However, make sure you look closely at the early cancellation fees and terms set out in the policy before deciding whether this option will save you money. Issues to be wary of include:

  • Cancellation fees. Some insurers charge a fee if you cancel your policy after six months. This can be up to around $40 depending on the insurer.
  • Premium refunds. If you’re paying in advance for 12 months, many insurers will refund your unused premium.
  • Paying month to month. If you’re paying your premiums on a month-to-month basis anyway, you shouldn’t need to worry about refunds.

Are there any short-term car insurance exclusions?

The general exclusions that apply to ordinary car insurance policies also apply to short-term car insurance. For example, you will not be covered if:

  • You were driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Your vehicle was being used in an unsafe or unroadworthy condition
  • Your vehicle was being driven while overloaded with passengers or goods
  • Your claim is for wear and tear, gradual deterioration, rust or depreciation
  • Your claim is for tyre damage caused by road punctures, cuts or bursts
  • Your claim is for repairs to old damage
  • Your claim is caused by mechanical, structural or electrical failures
  • Your claim is for intentional loss or damage caused by you or someone acting on your behalf
  • Your car is legally seized or repossessed
  • Your claim arises due to your involvement in criminal or illegal activity
  • You fail to properly secure your car after it breaks down, is involved in an accident or is stolen and recovered

You can find out more about what car insurance won’t cover in our guide to car insurance exclusions.

How to choose short-term car insurance

Which short-term car insurance option is right for you? To work this out you’ll need to answer a few simple questions:

  • Why do you need cover?
  • How long do you need cover for?
  • What type of car insurance do you want?

Once you know which of the four options is the best fit for you, it’s time to start comparing quotes and policy features across multiple insurers.

FAQs about temporary car insurance

Picture: GettyImages

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