Can I Tax My Car With Temporary Insurance?

old tax disk - taxing car with temporary insurance

If you want to drive a new or old vehicle temporarily for a short amount of time, say for 1 day or 1 month, there are some things you will need to arrange before you can drive it legally on UK roads.

If you don’t sort these things out, you will be driving around illegally and risk being caught by the police, facing fines, having your car seized and even court proceedings, depending on the severity of your case.

In this article, we look at what you need to remain legal on UK roads, how to get vehicle tax and how you can use your temporary car insurance policy to tax your vehicle.

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Driving essentials - Insurance, Tax & MOT

Firstly, you must have a valid car insurance policy in place before you attempt to get inside your vehicle, even if you’re just planning on driving it for a day or a month.

The minimum level of cover you’re legally required to have is third party insurance, but bear in mind that this only covers you financially for any injuries you may cause to someone else or any damage done to their vehicle or belongings - it will not cover any damage done to you and/or your vehicle.

It is generally advised that you get a fully comprehensive policy to make sure you are covered for all eventualities when driving. In many cases, this type of insurance works out cheaper than basic third party, contrary to what many drivers assume.

If you are purchasing temporary car insurance, a short-term policy tends to be fully comprehensive to fully cover you during that shorter space of time, but make sure you understand your policy with your chosen short-term insurer.

Read more: What does third party and comprehensive car insurance mean?

Secondly, you must also tax your vehicle in your name before attempting to drive it. If you’ve bought a second-hand car, the road tax, also known as vehicle excise duty (VED), will not be carried over from the previous owner, so you must make sure you arrange this before driving your vehicle.

You cannot tax your vehicle without car insurance, so you must arrange cover before sorting out your tax.

And finally, if your vehicle is older than 3 years, you will need to make sure you have a valid MOT certificate to prove that it is roadworthy.

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MOT extensions due to Coronavirus pandemic

If your MOT was due on or after 30th March 2020, you will have been given a six-month extension due to the COVID-19 crisis. For example, if your MOT expired on 1st April 2020, you will need to make sure your vehicle is booked in for an MOT by 1st October 2020.

Learn more about this in our article: Motorists to Receive and Extension on Their MOT

Once you have arranged insurance, tax and your vehicle's MOT, you are legally ready to drive it on UK roads.

How to tax a car - Can I tax a vehicle without insurance?

No, a driver cannot tax their vehicle in the UK if they do not have an insurance policy - you will need to arrange this first before getting tax.

When arranging your vehicle tax, you do not need to have the policy documents to be able to tax it - as long as you have bought insurance, you can arrange tax without any hassle.

Once you have a legally-valid car insurance policy, you can either visit the GOV.UK website, which people find the easiest and quickest way to do it, or your nearest Post Office to get your vehicle taxed.

The DVLA’s Motor Insurance Database (MID) is a record of all insured cars in the UK, as well as MOT details. The DVLA and the policy use the AskMID website to get access to this database to detect any uninsured drivers, and drivers themselves can use this website to check that their own vehicle is insured, or that of a third party in the event of a road traffic accident.

Your insurance and MOT details will then be used when you go to tax your vehicle.

To check your car insurance status, read our useful guide about AskMID here.

When you don’t need insurance or tax

If you are not using your vehicle and it is being kept on private land or in a garage and not on public roads, you will need to make a SORN (Statutory Off-Road Notification), which legally declares your vehicle as ‘off the road’.

While you have a SORN, you cannot drive your vehicle at all and therefore do not need to tax it or get insurance.

When you do intend to drive the vehicle again, however, you will need to remove the SORN from your vehicle, and arrange insurance, tax and MOT before driving it again.

Can temporary car insurance be used to tax a car?

Yes, you can still tax your vehicle whether you have a short-term car insurance policy or a standard annual one.

Most short-term, temporary car insurance companies try to update the MID with new customer insurance details as much as they can every day so that people can get their tax done as soon as possible too.

This can, however, take up to 7 days to update on the MID, so if you’ve checked your car insurance status on AskMID and your vehicle is showing up as uninsured, give it a couple more days and check again.

If you choose to tax your car at your local Post Office, bear in mind that it is their decision as to whether or not they will accept your short-term policy depending on the company, so you may find it easier to sort your tax out online or check with your Post Office first.

You have the option of paying your vehicle tax once every year, every 6 months or monthly, so if you’re using your car temporarily for just a few months, you may just want to pay for just 6 months, just remember that the government will add a 5% surcharge to those who pay monthly or have a 6-month tax disc.

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Reasons for getting temporary car insurance

For many drivers in the UK who want to drive a vehicle for a short period of time, a temporary car insurance policy would suit them much better than having a more expensive annual policy, when there really is no need to.

Drivers may choose to get a short-term policy for the following reasons:

  • If they are borrowing a car for a day or a weekend
  • If they need to use someone else’s car in an emergency
  • If a driver is taking their SORN vehicle to have an MOT
  • If the driver needs to tax their vehicle but doesn’t need an annual policy
  • If a driver doesn’t know how long they’ll need insurance for, they may choose to get it for 1 month, so they know they’re covered during that time only
  • If they are test-driving a car
  • If they have just bought a new car and want to drive it home

Short-term & temporary car insurance

Temporary car insurance companies generally tend to offer policies lasting for the following durations, depending on your needs:

  • 1 week
  • 1 month
  • 2 months
  • 3 months
  • 6 months (not all companies provide short-term cover for this long)

The majority of temporary car insurance policies are fully comprehensive, working to protect both you and other drivers, but ensure you check what level of cover you’re getting with your specific insurance provider.

It is also worth finding out where you stand with your no claims bonus (NCB), as you may not be able to build one up while driving someone else’s car.

To get an instant quote for temporary car insurance, simply tap the button at the top of this page, or read on if you are looking for cover that lasts for just one day.

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One day car insurance

There are plenty of temporary car insurance companies offering cover for just one day, if that’s all you need it for.

To get an instant quote for one day insurance, you will need the following information:

  • Driving licence and driving history (claims, etc)
  • Name and existing address
  • The vehicle you are insuring
  • The date and time for when you want the 1 day insurance to begin and end

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Once you have those details, simply tap the button below to get covered straight away!
Once you have a valid insurance policy in place, whether it’s for one day or one year, you can then tax your vehicle without any problems via the GOV.UK website.

For further information regarding temporary car insurance and tax, read our related articles below: