Many New Zealanders, visiting the UK, borrow a car from friends or relatives to get around in. However; getting a car insurance policy in the UK is not always easy, if you are a non-resident. The cost of it in the UK can be high and some companies will not insure you if you are not resident in the country. This is where short term car insurance comes in!
Car Insurance Requirements in the UK
New Zealanders need to be aware that if they’re planning to drive a car in the UK, they will need to get insurance. The law is different in each country, but get this wrong and you could end up having a very bad day.
In New Zealand, you can drive a car without having car insurance. In the UK, this is not the case. In fact, if you're caught driving without insurance, you could face a hefty fine and even have your car impounded. Not only that, the person who lent you the car could face heavy penalties too.
What is Short Term Car Insurance?
Short term car insurance is a policy that will only last for a few days or weeks. It is very similar to regular yearly-paid car insurance but there are imperative differences:
1) It can be used for a car that has been borrowed. Insuring a borrowed car via a regular yearly-paid policy can be very difficult and expensive, since most insurers do not cater for this market. Short term insurance, however, is designed for people who want to drive a car temporarily, perhaps at very short notice, so insurance for a borrowed car can applied for easily.
2) Drivers who do not have a permanent UK address can be covered. Most regular pay-yearly insurers will not insure people in this category.
3) Foreign driving licences can be accepted. Many UK insurers only accept applicants with licences that have been issued in Britain.
Can New Zealanders buy UK short term car insurance?
This cover is not just available to UK residents; it can now be appled for by motorists from various UK and Commonwealth countries too, including New Zealand.
How long could I insure a car for?
Policies are available for a single day up to 84 days; and if you need more than this most insurers will let you buy another policy as soon as your present one has expired, so you should be able to get insurance for as long as you wish.
How Much Does Short Term Car Insurance Cost?
Just as buying any single item works out more expensive for each one than buying a hundred of them at once, getting insurance for a short period usually works out dearer per day than buying it for a full year. However it is still affordable; and bearing in mind the fact that you would not be a UK resident, would not have a UK driving licence and would want to drive a borrowed car, getting a standard yearly policy could be infinitely more expensive - if you could find an insurer to provide insurance at all.
As with other insurance, the premium will depend on a few factors, including your age, driving experience and what type of car you’re planning to drive.
What is the level of cover?
All the insurers we link to offer comprehensive insurance, rather than third party only cover. This is why:
- The purpose of car insurance is to provide you with financial protection in case something goes wrong. The minimum level of cover which is obligatory in the UK is third-party liability insurance, which covers the costs of any damage or injury caused by you to other people. However, comprehensive policies also cover your own car if it gets stolen or damaged, and roadside assistance is often available too, either included with the policy or as an optional extra.
- Also: it used to be the case in the UK that third party only insurance was a lot cheaper than comprehensive cover, but this is no longer always the case. Since third party claims make up the bulk of insurance payouts, and motorists with this level of cover had more accidents than those with comprehensive cover, the cost difference has shrunk considerably in many cases, even though comprehensive cover provides greater benefits.
Would I qualify for a policy?
All insurers have different acceptance criteria, but generally you need to be between about 21 and 70, and have held a full driving licence for at least 3 years. The car you would want to insure would have to be on the insurer's approved list, but the majority of fairly modern cars are usually acceptable.
How do I get a policy?
First you get a quote; the form is simple and should only take a few seconds to fill in. You then proceed with the full application which should only take a few minutes, and for this you will need your licence and passport details, the numberplate of the car you are borrowing, and the address of the car owner.
Before you actually buy a policy the documentation will be available for you to check; make sure you understand what type of coverage you’re getting and know how it might help protect you in the event of an accident.
Getting standard car insurance as a non-resident in the UK can cause quite a dilemma, but getting a short term policy is usually quite straightforward. It’s best to get a quote as soon as possible, so have all the necessary documentation on hand before making an application.
Remember that having car insurance is a legal requirement in the UK, and if you drive without it, you could face very heavy penalties. So, get quotes now!