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What Is a Cover Note in Driving?

Written by, Marija Petkova

Updated June, 6, 2022

You might have heard the phrase ‘car insurance cover note’, but aren’t sure what exactly you’ll be getting when an insurance company gives you one. 

Read on to find out what is a cover note in driving, how it works, and how it differs from a certificate of motor insurance.

What Is a Cover Note for Car Insurance?

A cover note is a document that insurance companies issue to policyholders before they can provide them with a final insurance certificate.

The cover note is temporary and essentially proves that you have an existing policy in place. 

Cover Note Versus Certificate of Motor Insurance

The main difference between a cover note and a certificate of motor insurance is that the former is temporary. 

Cover notes are usually valid for about 30 days or until the insurer issues a certificate of motor insurance. A certificate of motor insurance, on the other hand, lasts for a year or up until the renewal deadline.

How Do Car Insurance Cover Notes Work?

Insurance companies often issue a cover note for driving either at the start of an insurance policy or when they amend a policy.

 If the policy is active, but they can’t immediately provide a certificate of motor insurance (due to issues with paperwork or a similar delay), insurers will send you a cover note for car insurance in case you get into an accident or are stopped by police. 

When your insurer issues a certificate of motor insurance, the cover note will stop being valid. As previously mentioned, most cover letters last for around 30 days, but some companies might extend it to 60 days. 

Still, the expiry date of the cover note doesn’t mean that’s when you’ll get a certificate of motor insurance. Most insurers need only a couple of days to produce it. 

Since it acts as a temporary substitute for a certificate, your car insurance cover note will feature:

  • Your name and address
  • Your car’s maker and model, as well as registration number
  • The type of cover (third party, fire and theft, or fully comprehensive)
  • The level of cover 
  • Your excess
  • The expiry date of the cover
  • Policy numbers
  • Special conditions

Tip: When you receive your driving cover note, double-check it to make sure that all the details included are correct. Even a simple mistake such as a misspelt name can invalidate a claim.

In most cases, cover notes for car insurance have the same terms and conditions as the official certificate, meaning you have the same rights with the cover note as you would if you had a certificate of motor insurance. 

However, insurers can put certain limitations in cover notes in case they find that you may have failed to disclose (or they didn’t ask about) during the application process. For example, they could reserve the right to cancel your cover immediately if they find that you haven’t followed the rules of the agreement, rather than give you a 7-day notice.

Also, insurance cover notes are rare nowadays. Most insurance companies can immediately produce a certificate of insurance for your car (at least in a digital form) and will offer to send confirmation within 24 hours of you purchasing the policy.

What Happens if the Certificate of Insurance Does Not Come In On Time?

The certificate of insurance for your car typically arrives well before the cover letter expires. 

If that doesn’t happen, you should reach out to your insurer. They will let you know what caused the delay and offer an alternative – if they can’t send you the certificate, they’ll likely extend the validity of the cover note

In most cases, a delay indicates that your insurer is likely having trouble confirming some of the details you’ve provided and that the policy didn’t go through properly. It also might mean that they’ve issued your insurance certificate for your car, but have the wrong contact information.

Bottom Line

Although cover notes are not as common nowadays, thanks to the digitalization of most industries around the globe, an insurance company might issue a cover note if they can’t immediately provide you with a certificate of insurance. 

This document is temporary but you can use it as proof that you have car insurance in case you get stopped by police or need to file a claim.

Frequently Asked Questions And Their Answers

Can I drive with a cover note?

Yes, you can. A cover note for car insurance allows policyholders to drive without their certificate of motor insurance. However, the cover note is a temporary document that is valid until you receive your official policy.

What is a cover note for driving?

A cover note in driving is a short-term insurance cover for your vehicle that proves you’ve paid for insurance until your insurer issues a full certificate of motor insurance.

My name is Marija, and I'm a financial writer at DontDisappointMe. Although finance might not be everyone's cup of tea, my 10+ years of working in one of the biggest banks in my country, and my interest in extensive research on everything finance/investment-related, have made me somewhat of an expert in the field (if I do say so myself). No longer having the passion to work in a corporate setting, I decided that I couldn't let all of this knowledge go to waste so I started writing. And, here I am! Today I try to share my knowledge with my audience in the hopes of making this topic as simple and interesting as possible. In my leisure time, I like spending time with my family and travelling to new locations.