1. Home
  2. Car insurance
  3. Temporary European car insurance

Temporary European car insurance

Just like in the UK, you're required by law to have insurance to drive in Europe. Your annual car insurance policy may already offer 30 days cover for driving in Europe, so it’s worth checking with your insurer.

If you don’t have an existing annual policy, then short-term cover might be a suitable option for you. It offers 1-28 days cover for driving in the UK and Europe.

Confused.com C icon
Our expert panel review all content. Learn more about our editorial standards and how we operate.

Ready to get a temporary car insurance quote?

Get a quote

What are my options for short-term cover in Europe?

Check your existing policy to see if you’re already covered to drive in Europe, what the level of cover is and for how long. Depending on the insurer, you might already be covered, or you might be able to upgrade your policy.

If you don’t have an existing policy or your own car, short term cover could be ideal. Temporary European policies only offer the legal minimum cover for the country you are in which often will be third-party only, so consider whether you need more protection.

If you want comprehensive cover, consider a new 12-month car insurance policy with European cover included.

How does it work and how do I get a quote?

You can get insured instantly, or schedule your start date up to 28 days in advance. You also have the option to choose to have cover from 1 hour to 28 days, making it a flexible option for a short trip. If you need more time, get another quote and buy a policy to start when your first one ends.

All temporary policies include comprehensive cover in the UK, but when you enter Europe they only give the legal minimum cover depending on what country you're in, which is often third-party only. So if you’re looking for comprehensive cover it might not be right for you.

Like standard temporary car insurance, we work with our trusted partner Tempcover to provide you with instant cover for your trip to Europe. They'll give you a quote based on the information you provide. If you’re happy with the quote, you can buy and get covered instantly.

You can get covered in 4 steps:

  • Fill in our quote form
  • We'll compare up to 7 companies with our partner Tempcover to find you the right policy at the right price.
  • We'll show you our single best price, which we think is best suited for your needs. If you’re happy with the policy, you can go ahead and buy it.
  • Once you’ve bought your policy, you’ll get an email confirming everything, including when the policy starts and ends.

What’s the eligibility criteria for taking out a policy?

As the driver, you must confirm that you:

  • Haven’t been disqualified from driving or had your licence cancelled in the last 2 years
  • Have never been refused insurance or had a policy cancelled or voided
  • Have no criminal convictions or pending prosecutions
  • Have had no more than 7 penalty points on your licence in the last 3 years
  • Have had no more than 2 accidents, claims or losses in the last 3 years regardless of blame
  • Are aged between 18-75
  • Have a full, valid UK driving licence
  • Have a permanent UK address
  • Have an unmodified vehicle - unless it's to aid a disabled driver
  • Will be starting and ending your trip in the UK

You also need to confirm that the car:

  • Has a valid MOT, unless you’re using the policy to attend a pre-booked MOT - and hasn’t been declared as SORN
  • Hasn’t been modified, unless designed to aid disabled drivers
  • Has valid car tax, unless you’re using the policy to buy the car tax immediately after taking out a policy
  • Is worth more than £1,500

How much does short term European cover cost

According to our data the average price of 7 days temporary cover is £113* and the average price of 14 days is £159*. Your own quote could be cheaper or more expensive, so it’s best to run a quote to get an exact price.

It’s worth comparing the price of temporary cover with the price of an annual policy, as 28 days of temporary cover could end up being more expensive than a full annual policy which would normally include 30 days of cover as part of the price.

If you’re going to use your car more than once in 12 months as well as the European trip, it might be worth considering an annual policy instead, especially if you own the car.

*Based on average customer prices paid from Tempcover data August 2023.

Where in Europe can I drive with short-term cover?

With all policies sold through Tempcover, you are insured to drive across all EU member states as well as the following places:

  • Gibraltar
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Monaco
  • Norway
  • San Marino
  • Switzerland
  • Andorra

What our car insurance expert says

"You’ve got several cover options if you want to drive in Europe. You're either covered by your current insurer or you can get a quote in minutes from us.

While you’re looking at your insurance needs, don't forget to consider adding on or buying a separate European breakdown cover policy. Recovering or fixing your car when you’re so far from home can be expensive and stressful enough, but more so when you’ve got no cover.

If you choose a temporary policy, breakdown cover will have to be bought separately as it's not available as an add on in Europe."

Marc Pell, Managing Director at Tempcover
Managing Director | Tempcover Tempcover logo

Can I adjust my existing car insurance policy to cover driving in Europe?

Usually yes but it depends on your insurer. Speak to them to see if it’s something you can adjust on your policy. If you are able to add cover to your policy it may come at an additional cost and come with some limitations.

For example, even if you have cover to drive other cars on your policy, you may only be able to drive the vehicle you’re already named on. If you want to hire, borrow or share a car when abroad, your existing policy might not cover you unless you add yourself to the owner's insurance policy. But this can increase their insurance costs.

Even if you use your own vehicle, you could still have issues. For example, if you're planning to share the driving with someone else, you'd need to add them as a named driver to your annual policy. This comes at a cost which can be expensive, especially if it's only temporary.

And if a named driver has an accident while driving your car, your no-claims bonus is likely to be affected.

Do I need to let my existing insurance company know I’m taking out another policy

No, by arranging temporary European car insurance, you don't need to adjust your existing policy. If there are extras you need but don't want to add to your annual policy, you can instead add them to your temporary cover. This ensures you get the extras you need but your existing annual policy remains unchanged.

If you have an accident at any point of your temporary policy it won’t affect your no claims on your other policy, but you will have to notify your insurer of the claim or accident the next time you renew.

How long can I drive in Europe with UK insurance?

As stated if you have a standard 12-month car insurance policy in the UK, you should get at least 30 days of European third-party cover included. Some policies go up to 90 days as standard, but these are likely to be more expensive.

The key difference in length between an annual and temporary policy is that you will have a maximum of 28 days with short-term cover through Tempcover. If you need longer, you can always take out another instant policy for more days.

Do I need a green card to drive in Europe?

With a temporary policy, you don't need a car insurance green card when driving in:

  • The EU (including Ireland)
  • Andorra
  • Bosnia
  • Herzegovina
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • Serbia
  • Switzerland

Many UK car insurance policies including our partner Tempcover, will cover you to drive in most of Europe without needing a green card. But there are some countries that may need more documentation, so make sure you check with your insurer before travelling.

For example, you usually need a green card to drive in:

  • Albania
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Moldova
  • Russia
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine

It's important to note that, in some countries, it’s also a legal requirement to have an international driving permit or international driver’s licence. So again, make sure to do your research before travelling.

Who is Tempcover?

Founded in 2006, Tempcover are a UK based insurance company specialising in temporary motor insurance. We only work with Tempcover across all of our temporary insurance products. Their customers rate them as Excellent on Trustpilot.

Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, and with their vast years of insurance industry experience, you can expect excellent trustworthy service and fast efficient flexible cover.

Tempcover brand logo

Types of car insurance

Car insurance guides

Confused.com's temporary cover solution is provided by Tempcover LTD. Tempcover LTD are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under firm reference number 746985. Tempcover LTD is registered in England No. 9923259 at office: 2nd floor, Admiral House, Harington Way, Fleet, Hampshire, GU51 4BB. Confused.com is an intermediary and receives a percentage of commission received by Tempcover LTD.