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Short term car insurance for a trip to France

As a result of a casual conversation with a friend, I was offered the chance of a cheap villa holiday in France. To cut a long story short, he was cancelling at short notice due to family circumstances and was resigned to losing his deposit. I took over the booking there and then, and he got some cash to offset his losses.

This was late Friday morning and the plan was to be in Brittany for Monday. I am self-employed, so taking a week off was straightforward enough. The school holidays were in full swing, so no issues there. Friday afternoon was taken up with documentation, ferry booking, travel insurance, currency etc., and Friday evening was the grand family announcement - leaving us all feeling like lottery winners.

Saturday morning was the car breakdown moment – clutch gone. New parts were needed, and the repairs would take up to take five days. Not a promising start, even for a would-be lottery winner.

The clouds lifted somewhat when my father offered to loan us his car, stipulating only that I must arrange insurance cover. Apparently, he is covered under a special ‘over 50s’ policy, and adding a younger driver was virtually out of the question – especially at short notice. Dad was certain short-term cover was easy to arrange, but I was thinking back to a disastrous attempt to arrange a few day’s cover, many years ago - to cut a long story short, back then I just gave up.

To my surprise, I was able to fix up cover before Saturday lunch and the process was nothing like the nightmare of interrogation and form-filling I had envisaged. Rather than having to approach my own annual insurer with this complicated tale and a plea for help, I found that it is actually possible to arrange the whole business online. Furthermore, there are insurers whose main business involves this type of short term cover. As a consequence, my business was welcomed, my cover request was accepted very quickly, and they offered a choice of several different insurance packages.

I opted for a seven-day comprehensive cover package which included motor breakdown cover with a household-name provider for a pocket-money price – I think dad appreciated the gesture too.

Online cover was easy to fix up and, best of all, the certificate of insurance and policy documents were sent via email. Thus, I was able to print out my insurance and breakdown documents within 30 minutes of making my online purchase (via debit card). I cannot imagine how else I could have got this sorted out over a weekend, and I shudder to think what it might have cost via the ‘conventional’ route.

Yes, Brittany was great, thanks – but that’s another story.

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