What is Temporary Car Insurance & Should I Get It?
Temporary Car Insurance & Should I Get It Reputable insurers rarely offer short-term auto insurance. Many insurers offer payment plans that allow policyholders to pay month-to-month, and you can cancel your policy early if you no longer need it.
Before buying short-term car insurance, think twice. One-day, one-week, and one-month car insurance may be deceptive or overpriced.
What is temporary auto insurance?
Short-term car insurance for less than six months is rare. Websites may offer cheap one-day, seven-day, 14-day, or 30-day temporary auto insurance plans.
If you ask for a quote online or over the phone, you’ll probably be connected to a regular licensed agent who can only sell six-month policies.
A major insurer’s shortest policy is probably six months.
Even if you only need car insurance for a month or two, you’ll probably need a six-month policy. Nonowner insurance or rental car insurance may be best for short-term needs if you don’t own a car.
How to get car insurance for temporary situations
Car insurance is sold in six-month or one-year units, not monthly. You must buy six months of auto insurance and pay month-to-month. Then pay monthly.
Set a reminder to cancel your policy before it expires. Request a refund if you’ve paid in full. Note the time, date, and representative you spoke with.
Insurance companies rarely charge cancellation fees and refund unearned monthly premiums. If you cancel after six weeks but only paid for four, the insurer will send you a bill for the two extra weeks.
Watch your bank statement. Refunds can take time, despite cancellation.
To get cheap temporary car insurance, get quotes from multiple companies. Compare insurers’ coverage, limits, and duration.
Local Auto Insurance Quotes
What short-term situations should you adjust your auto insurance for?
There are a few temporary reasons to change your car insurance. Here are some short-term situations where you should contact your insurer:
Temporary coverage for student drivers
Your college-aged child needs ongoing car insurance, not temporary coverage. If they only drive during the winter or summer vacation, you may want to adjust your insurance coverages.
Depending on the student’s age and driving record, putting their car insurance on hold for a while can save you between $1,000 and $2,500 per year. Driving without insurance is illegal and can result in fines or jail time.
Some insurers require all licensed or driving-age household members to be listed on a policy, even if they don’t use the car.
Other auto insurance companies offer discounts to retain college-aged drivers. State Farm offers student discounts. There’s a good student discount and an away-at-school discount for students more than 100 miles from home.
Your insurer may offer discounts. Call your insurance agent to discuss coverage options. It might seem obvious to get temporary insurance coverage during college breaks, but it might not be cheap.
If a college student leaves their car at home during the semester, lower their coverage to the state minimum and raise it when they return. This reduces rates when the car is parked.
Temporarily adding someone to your car insurance
your car for a one-time errand? This temporary driver probably doesn’t need car insurance. Temporary car sharing is likely covered by a permissive user clause in your insurance policy, which protects your car when another driver uses it.
Have a babysitter, relative, or friend who can drive regularly? You should insure this person. To temporarily add someone to your car insurance policy, call your insurer.
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- How long they’ve had their license
- Any recent traffic tickets or accidents
You can remove a friend, babysitter, or relative from your policy when they stop using the car. Adding a temporary driver to your car insurance will raise your rates, but it’s worth it in case they cause an accident.
Temporary car insurance for rental cars
Rental car insurance? Check with your own insurer before buying short-term rental car insurance. Your own auto insurance policy may cover you when you drive a rental car, and many credit cards also cover rental cars.
Your car insurance may not cover a business-rented car. If you’re on a business trip, buy temporary car insurance from the rental company.
Short-term international car insurance
To Mexico or Canada? Auto insurance may need temporary international coverage. Geico, Farmers, and Progressive extend U.S. coverage to Canada but not Mexico.
Before driving across international borders, check with your insurer. In Ontario, your car insurance may cover you, but not in Mexico.
International visitor? Foreigners need temporary car insurance. Visiting foreigners can buy temporary car insurance from rental car companies. If you stay longer, you may need an American policy.
Placing a car in storage
Temporary coverage may be a good option if you store a car for a while. Even if you’re not driving, the car could be stolen or damaged, which the comprehensive policy covers.
Your state may also require you to maintain auto insurance, including liability insurance, or you may be required to de-register your vehicle and return your license plates.
You may need temporary car insurance in other situations. Here’s what to do:
One-day temporary car insurance for the driving test: You should be covered by your parent’s, spouse’s, or significant other’s policy as a permit driver. The car you take the test in must be insured, so no temporary policy is needed.
Temporary car-sharing insurance: ridesharing insurance is complicated. Insurers treat your car differently if you temporarily convert it to a commercial vehicle. Check your state’s laws and your insurer’s rules before driving for Lyft and Uber.
temporary insurance from car dealerships. Even if you’ve bought a car, you can’t drive it off the lot without insurance. (Test drives are covered by the dealer’s insurance.)
If you have insurance on another car, it may cover you temporarily, up to your policy’s limits. Even if the dealer offers temporary car insurance, you don’t need it.
Instead of buying car insurance from a dealership, shop around for the best rate. This may take longer, but it could save money.
Nonowner car insurance
If you typically drive cars that aren’t yours, consider getting nonowner car insurance. In most states, nonowner auto insurance must cover bodily injury and property damage liability. Since liability coverage follows you, not the car, you’re always covered, whether it’s a friend’s, employer’s, or rental car.
Nonowner car insurance can help cut your costs in the long run. Traditional insurance means paying for something you don’t use every day, and rental car insurance may cost more than a nonowner policy.
If you often borrow cars from other people, nonowner car insurance is also a good choice. If you live with someone and borrow their car often, they should add you. Even with nonowner car insurance, an insurer may not cover an accident if you’re not listed.
It’s usually secondary coverage, meaning it only kicks in if the car owner’s primary insurance isn’t enough. Even then, it only applies if your nonowner’s policy exceeds the owner’s.
Consider a friend’s car with $25,000 in property damage liability. You wreck another driver’s car, causing $40,000 in damage. Your nonowner insurance would cover the remaining $15,000 if your property damage liability limits are $40,000 or higher. If not, you’re responsible for your friend’s uninsured $15,000.
Temporary car insurance isn’t sold by reputable insurers, despite popular demand. Short-term auto insurance is available. Talk to different insurance companies about temporarily adjusting your coverages. Compare car insurance to get the best rate.
Frequently asked questions
Can you get insurance only for a month?
Reputable insurers don’t sell short-term car insurance. You can buy regular car insurance from any major insurer and cancel it when you’re done.
How do I get car insurance month-to-month?
Car insurers require six-month or longer policies. You can pay for the policy month-to-month and cancel when you no longer need it. Any overpayments will be refunded.
Can I drive someone else’s car with my insurance?
Yes. Your coverage typically comes after the car owner’s liability insurance policy. Comprehensive and collision don’t transfer.