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Can I buy one-day car insurance?

Can I buy one-day car insurance?

Maybe you don’t drive often but need to get behind the wheel for a short time, say a week or even a day. It could be because you might need to pick something up, or perhaps you’re planning a weekend getaway and need to borrow a friend’s car. Or maybe you simply need to use a family member’s car while yours is getting repaired.

In all these scenarios, you’ll need car insurance for the vehicle that you’ll be driving. While most car insurance providers in Australia don’t provide one-day temporary car insurance, there are ways to get around it.

Can you insure a car for one day?

If you need to drive a different vehicle for a short time and want one-day car insurance, there are very few Australian insurance providers that will provide you with immediate cover only for that duration. Think of it as short0term car insurance. Here are some options that you might like to consider instead:

  • One day: If you're going on a day trip or are shifting homes and need car insurance just for a day or two, you may be better off simply renting a car or opting for a car sharing service such as GoGet.
  • One week: If you require access to a set of wheels for a full week, you might consider paying for a fortnightly insurance policy. Once you’re done driving and don’t need the policy anymore, simply cancel it.
  • Monthly: When your requirement is longer than a few days or weeks, you can simply opt for any policy that suits your needs and pick the monthly payment option. Once you’re done driving, and you don’t need the policy anymore, you can simply cancel it. Alternatively, if you won’t be driving a lot during this month, you could also consider a pay-as-you-drive cover where you only pay for the kilometres that you plan on driving during this time.
  • Getting added to an existing policy: You could always get yourself added to the policy of the car you’ll be driving. Most insurers will allow additional drivers on an existing policy, but this could increase the price of the premium for the owner.
  • Pay-as-you-drive car insurance: This car insurance policy is ideal for those who don’t drive a lot but want to get the adequate protection that comprehensive car insurance offers. With pay-as-you-drive, you need to only pay for the kilometres you think you will be driving in a certain period. Most pay-as-you-drive policies in the market have a year-long lock-in period, but you might be able to work out something if you need the car insurance only for a short while. One way of doing this is to get cover for the kilometres you believe you’ll drive during that time. In most pay-as-you-drive policies, you can also ‘top-up’ your kilometres, which makes this kind of car insurance a more popular one when you are an occasional driver.

Why should you apply for short-term car insurance?

You might think that since you’re only taking the car out for a day or two, there’s no real need to insure the vehicle for such a short period. It is important to note that no period is too brief to be insured for. There’s a lot at stake when you drive an uninsured car out on public roads.

If you get into an accident that’s your fault and you’re not insured, you’ll have to bear the costs of repairing not just the car you were driving, but also anyone else’s property that might have got damaged as a result. Plus, you’ll be liable for any additional expenses like tow truck charges or the cost of a rental. 

Of course, if you’re not at fault, the responsibility of repairs will fall on whoever was. But as we all know, it isn’t always easy to determine who’s at fault in a road accident, and if you share even part of the blame, you will have to dig into your pockets to pay up your share of the costs. 

Who can apply for temporary car insurance?

Any Australian driver with a valid driving licence that permits you to drive anywhere in the country can take advantage of short-term car insurance. However, there may be a few eligibility factors that vary from the different types of short-term car insurance options you can choose from.

Depending on the option you choose, there may be specific eligibility requirements for temporary car insurance. 

If your relative or friend decides to add you to their policy as a listed driver, you must ensure that you register the right person as the primary driver of the car.

Some insurers may also refuse to give cover to drivers of certain ages, specifically those under 18 years or senior motorists. Check with your insurer for any eligibility requirements that may apply.

When you’re weighing up your options, you might like to compare car insurance.

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This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Georgia Brown before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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