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Short-term car insurance

Only need temporary car insurance? When there's a will, there's a way.

If you only need car insurance for a brief period, such as a week or a month, there aren’t any policies specifically designed to provide this type of cover. However, this doesn’t mean you have zero options.

One of our top hacks is actually one of the most obvious:
1. Take out a regular policy
2. Opt to pay monthly
3. Cancel when you don't need it anymore!

Want short term car insurance? Start comparing some options

Name Product New Car Replacement Pay monthly at no extra cost Choice of repairer Roadside Assistance Hire car after theft Personal effects
Optional - If your car is written off in the first 3 years
No
No
No
Optional - Up to $50 a day until your claim is settled
$0
Save 24% on your policy if you've been claim free for 3 years.
Yes - If your car is written off in the first 2 years or is under 40,000 km
No
Yes
Optional
Yes - Up to $1,000 (Max 14 days)
$250
Buy online and save 15%.
Yes - If your car is written off or stolen in the first 2 years
No
Yes
Yes
Yes - Reasonable costs (Max 14 days)
$750
Emergency roadside assistance included in Comprehensive policies.
Yes - If your car is written off in the first 2 years
No
No
Optional
Yes - Up to $70 per day (Max 14 days)
$500
Save up to 10% when you buy online.
Yes - If your car is written off in the first 2 years or is under 40,000 km
No
Yes
Optional
Yes - Up to $1,000 (Max 14 days)
$500
Save 15% when purchasing online. Eligible customers can earn up to 20,000 Velocity Frequent Flyer Points when purchasing a new policy by 31 Oct 2018. Excludes NT. Min 6mths policy & T&CS apply.
Yes - If your car is written off in the first 2 years
Yes
No
No
Yes - Up to $70 per day (Max 14 days)
$500
Transforms your driving so it's 100% carbon neutral.
Yes - If your car is written off in the first 2 years
Yes
Yes
No
Yes - Up to $100 per day (Max 30 days)
$1,000
Buy online and save up to 10% on your policy.
Yes - If your car is written off in the first year or is under 20,000 km
No
No
Optional
Optional - Up to $60 per day (Max 14 days)
$500
Save up to 20% on car insurance when you purchase cover online.

Compare up to 4 providers

car mountain road

Only want car insurance for a short time period? 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.

Not quite the right fit? Here are some other short-term 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.
Pros
  • Enjoy all the benefits of comprehensive car insurance
  • The less you drive, the less you pay for cover
  • Full range of optional extras available
Cons
  • 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 New Car Replacement Pay monthly at no extra cost Choice of repairer Roadside Assistance Hire car after theft Personal effects
Yes - If your car is written off in the first 2 years
No
No
Optional
Yes - Up to $70 per day (Max 14 days)
$500
Only pay for the kilometres you plan to drive.

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.
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • 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.
Pros
  • No need to take out a separate policy
  • Simple and convenient option
  • Access all the benefits of a regular car insurance policy
Cons
  • 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.
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • Insurance from rental companies can be expensive
  • Is only suitable for very short-term needs

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


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Andrew Munro

Andrew writes for finder.com, comparing products, writing guides and looking for new ways to help people make smart decisions. He's a fan of insurance, business news and cryptocurrency.

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