Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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Just the Basics

  • Most car insurance companies don’t offer temporary coverage and the ones that do will not offer just one-day insurance policies.
  • The shortest auto insurance term is generally 30 days.
  • Temporary car insurance averages $15 per day.
  • It might be cheaper to purchase a standard policy if you will be driving more than 30 days at a time.

There are many reasons you might need one-day car insurance, such as borrowing a car from a friend or looking for auto insurance for the first time. You could also be trying to reduce the cost of auto insurance by limiting the amount of time you are paying.

No matter the reason, it’s good to know that it is possible to get short-term car insurance if you know where to look. 

Chances are your standard car insurance company won’t offer you temporary car insurance. Although some companies will offer you a short-term policy, there is no such thing as a one-day car insurance company. 

No matter what type of car insurance you’re looking for, shopping around will help you find the best coverage at the cheapest price. Just as you’d talk to different dealers when shopping for a certain car, you can compare prices between different insurance companies.

Enter your ZIP code now to compare quotes to see if short-term or one-day auto insurance is the cheapest option for you.

How Can you Get One-day Car Insurance?

Most standard auto insurance companies will not offer you a short-term policy, and the companies that do offer temporary car insurance don’t offer just a one-day policy. Generally, the shortest term you can find is for 30 days.

If you are going to be driving off and on throughout the year, it might be cheaper to buy a standard policy. There are many different types of car insurance coverage for you to choose from.

This table shows you the average price of car insurance based on the type of coverage you buy. Low coverage policies will meet the legal requirements for auto insurance in your state but don’t offer any additional coverages.

Average Annual Car Insurance Rates Based on Coverage Type
Insurance CompaniesAverage Annual Rates for Low CoverageAverage Annual Rates for Medium CoverageAverage Annual Rates for High Coverage
American Family$3,368.49$3,544.37$3,416.40
Liberty Mutual$5,805.75$6,058.57$6,356.04
State Farm$3,055.40$3,269.80$3,454.80
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Although one-day car insurance rates aren’t available, low coverage averages $10 a day, while a short-term policy will cost you about $15 a day. You can see that it is cheaper if you purchase a standard policy if you are going to be driving more than just once in a while.

It’s also important to note that there are many different factors that affect the price of car insurance, such as age, driving record, and where you live. Your rates may be lower once all of the factors are considered.

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Who Needs Temporary Car Insurance?

A temporary car insurance policy can be needed for a variety of reasons. A few reasons someone might want a short-term auto insurance policy are:

  • Borrowing a car from family or a friend. If your car is in the shop or you just need to run some errands, you could borrow a car from family or friends. Even though you will only be driving a short time, getting your own policy is not a bad idea. A non-owner car insurance policy will give you the peace of mind that you are covered should an accident occur. If you drive their car on a fairly regular basis, your insurance premium’s per day cost (for when you use it) could also be much lower than a short-term plan.
  • Test driving a new car. If you are test driving a car, you might want a temporary policy. This is especially true if you are buying from a private seller and don’t know if they have car insurance.
  • Renting a car.Rental companies offer short-term (day by day) auto insurance coverage with the promise that if something happens to the car, you can just walk away. You may have noticed it’s quite expensive. Generally speaking, your auto insurance will cover rental cars as well. If you don’t have a regular plan, the rental company plan may be your best option.
  • Looking for a new car insurance company or getting insurance for the first time. Maybe you are in the process of securing traditional auto insurance and need some time to figure out who you want to go with. Short-term car insurance will give you time to compare quotes and pick an auto insurance company that’s right for you.

As you can see, there are a variety of reasons to look into temporary car insurance. Depending on your specific needs, short-term coverage may be the way to go.

However, if you will be driving for more than 30 days, a traditional policy will be cheaper in the long run.

What Kind of Coverage Do You Need for Short-Term Car Insurance?

While you may want to save money by sticking to liability-only coverage with your own car, this would be inadvisable with a borrowed car. If the owner has full coverage, their coverage will also follow the car. If you get in an accident with liability-only coverage, though, you could end up in dire financial straights if you can’t afford to replace the car you’re driving.

What are the Consequences of Driving Without Car Insurance?

No matter your situation, the one thing you don’t want to do is drive without car insurance.

Despite most states requiring some sort of auto insurance, the Insurance Information Institute reports that 13% of drivers were uninsured in 2015. 

If you get caught driving without auto insurance, you will face fines, driver’s license suspension, and possible jail time. Saving a few dollars on car insurance is not worth the penalties if you drive uninsured.

Not to mention you would be personally liable for any damages in the case of an accident. This could cost you thousands of dollars out of pocket.

It’s so easy to shop around for car insurance. There’s no reason not to be covered, even if you only need car insurance for one day.

Enter your ZIP code to compare quotes with temporary car insurance and see if short-term coverage is right for you.