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Do I Need to Have a Full UK Driving licence to Qualify for Short-term Cover?

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Insurance plays a vital role in the realm of driving, offering protection to drivers, vehicles, and third parties. In the UK, various insurance options cater to a wide array of needs, including short-term or temporary car insurance. A frequent query surrounding this is the type of driving licence required. This article addresses the question of whether a full UK driving licence is necessary to obtain short-term insurance.

What is Short-term Car Insurance?

Before moving onto the licence requirements, it's worth understanding the essence of short-term car insurance. As the name suggests, it's an insurance policy designed for a shorter duration - from a few hours up to a few months. It serves as a flexible solution for those who don't require year-long insurance.

Driving licence Types in the UK

The UK offers different types of driving licences, primarily:

1. Provisional licence: A learner's licence permitting holders to drive whilst accompanied by a qualified driver.

2. Full UK Driving licence: Issued once a driver successfully passes the driving test, allowing independent driving without restrictions.

3. International Driving Permit (IDP): A document allowing tourists or residents with foreign licences to drive in the UK for a limited time.

Driving licence Requirements for Short-term Insurance

When considering short-term insurance, the type of driving licence held becomes a pivotal factor. Most insurance providers typically require drivers to possess a full UK driving licence. The reasons include:

1. Assurance of Skill: Holding a full licence indicates that the driver has demonstrated the necessary skills and knowledge to drive safely on UK roads.

2. Reduced Risk: From an insurer's perspective, those with a full licence present a lower risk compared to provisional licence holders.

3. Clarity of History: Insurance providers can access the driving history, including any penalties or past incidents, of full licence holders more easily.

However, some insurers might offer short-term policies to provisional licence holders or those with an IDP, but these are exceptions and often come with higher premiums and specific conditions.

Short-term Insurance for Provisional licence Holders

Whilst obtaining short-term insurance with a provisional licence is less common, it's not entirely impossible. Insurers that cater to this segment might impose conditions such as:

1. Supervision Requirement: The provisional licence holder might be required to drive only when accompanied by a fully licenced driver.

2. Vehicle Limitations: There could be restrictions on the type or value of vehicles that can be insured.

3. Duration Restrictions: The length of the policy might be limited.

Short-term Insurance for International Permit Holders

For those with an IDP or a licence from a country with a reciprocal agreement, some insurers might provide short-term insurance. However, it's essential to:

1. Ensure Validity: Confirm that the foreign licence or IDP is valid and recognised in the UK.

2. Understand Limitations: Be aware of any policy limitations or specific conditions imposed due to the non-UK licence.


In the vast landscape of car insurance, short-term or temporary insurance emerges as a flexible and adaptable option. However, understanding the licence prerequisites is essential to navigate the process efficiently. Whilst a full UK driving licence is the most widely accepted for these policies, there are avenues available for provisional or international permit holders, albeit with some additional conditions and potentially higher costs.

It's important to note that all policies are different, and terms, conditions, and benefits can vary significantly.

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