Temporary car insurance isn’t a product you can buy from an insurance company. Most insurers don’t sell auto policies with one-week or one-month terms.
That doesn’t mean you can’t get short-term auto insurance, though. In most cases, you have to buy and then cancel a standard car insurance policy early if you want temporary coverage.
Drivers looking to switch to a short-term policy for financial reasons can still save money even if they can’t get temporary car insurance. You can do this by adjusting your insurance coverage and plan to match your driving habits and individual needs.
Find out more about short-term car insurance here. You’ll also learn about these and other topics:
What is temporary car insurance?
Drivers looking for temporary car insurance are searching for a policy that covers them for days or weeks rather than six months or more. In most states, it is illegal to drive without having insurance coverage.
Few, if any, reputable companies will sell you one-day, one-week or one-month car insurance policies, although seven-day insurance policies used to be both common and legal in Michigan. The shortest car insurance term you should expect to get now is a six-month term.
A handful of companies may advertise car insurance coverage that lasts a few days or weeks. However, be wary, as these insurers may not offer the most ideal price or coverage. Before signing up for a quote, double check the policy because it is likely too good to be true.
As a result, most people who need short-term car insurance buy standard policies and then cancel when they’re no longer needed.
How do I get car insurance temporarily?
To get car insurance temporarily, you’ll probably have to start by buying a standard auto policy from an insurance company. Most insurers only sell in six- or 12-month terms and, as a result, drivers looking for a policy lasting less than six months will need to cancel their standard policy in the middle of their term.
If you decide to go this route, contact your current insurer to read the terms of their cancellation policy. Some insurers charge a cancellation fee for terminating a policy early, or you might have to give up a percentage of your remaining premium in the form of a "short-rate."
Also, beware of the following if you plan to buy a car insurance policy and then cancel it early:
- If you don’t buy another policy when your current one ends, you’ll be uninsured. That’s illegal in almost every state. Getting caught driving without insurance can result in license suspension, fines and potential jail time.
- You’ll also end up with a lapse in coverage. Having a coverage gap on your record may raise your rates when you go to buy car insurance again.
What are alternatives to short-term auto insurance?
Drivers look for short-term insurance options to avoid paying for coverage they don’t plan to use. However, there are multiple ways to save money on car insurance besides obtaining coverage temporarily. Depending on your circumstances, cancelling a policy prematurely might not be the most ideal option.
For students or young people
It’s no secret that teens and new drivers receive higher-than-average car insurance quotes than their more senior counterparts. With this burden, young drivers often struggle to find the best insurer and policy for their needs.
Cancelling your car insurance policy when you no longer need it might seem like a viable choice. Whether you plan to regularly use your car to get around your school or suspend your driving until breaks, consider the following alternatives:
- If you plan to drive frequently, you should ask your parents if they would be willing to place you on their auto insurance policy. Forming a combined policy is much less expensive compared to purchasing two distinct policies.
- Regardless of how much you plan to drive, check out discounts offered by your insurer. Many companies offer discounts for getting good grades, driving safely or being away from home. Check with your insurance company to see if you already qualify for any savings.
- If you plan to only use your car when you return home from breaks, you can reduce your policy down to the minimum coverage to avoid paying for protection you don’t need. When you go back to driving regularly, you can increase your coverage.
For safe or occasional drivers
If you don’t use your car often or if you practice safe driving, consider looking into usage-based insurance policies. Premiums for usage-based car insurance policies are determined by your driving habits and frequency.
Two examples of usage-based policies include pay-per-mile and pay-how-you-drive insurance. Drivers insured under pay-per-mile policies receive quotes based on how many miles they drive. On the other hand, drivers who have pay-how-you-drive policies receive discounts on their premiums for safe driving.
Note: usage-based insurance policies are not offered by every insurer or in every state. Check with your local insurers to see if it’s available in your area.
For a rental car
When you pay for a rental car, you might be offered insurance coverage through the rental company. However, before making any purchase, check with your own insurer to see if you’re covered by your current policy or if they offer a cheaper alternative. State Farm, for example, covers your rental vehicle if you have collision and comprehensive coverage.
Additionally, some credit cards have travel rewards programs that may pay for a portion of your rental. Some even provide car rental coverage.
For borrowing someone else’s car
Drivers borrowing their friend’s or family’s car will not need to do much to ensure they are insured. Standard auto insurance policies usually have a permissive use clause, which extends coverage to another person who drives your car.
All you have to do is contact your insurer. Make sure your policy has the permissive use clause and familiarize yourself with any specific limitations your insurer has put in place.
For visiting another country
Check with your insurer before driving in another country to make sure that you’re covered. Insurers have differing policies when it comes to coverage outside of the U.S. For instance, Progressive extends its U.S. policies to Canada, but you will need to purchase a separate policy if you visit and plan to drive in any other country.
Non-owner car insurance
Non-owner car insurance may be a better option for you than temporary car insurance if you don’t own a vehicle but borrow or rent one on a regular basis. The same is true if you use car-sharing services, or have to file for an SR-22 or FR-44.
How much will getting temporary car insurance cost me?
How much you pay for temporary auto insurance depends on several factors, including the kind of policy you buy, how much coverage you want and more.
No matter what type of plan you choose, though, what you pay relies on the same factors that determine what you pay for standard coverage. Some of the factors insurance companies consider to set your car insurance rate are your:
- Driving record
- Car make and model
- Area of residence
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