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 19, 2021

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Just the Basics

  • Most traditional car insurance companies don’t offer temporary car insurance.
  • Short-term car insurance averages about $15 a day, while standard coverage is around $10 a day.
  • A standard policy might be a better choice if you are going to drive more throughout the year.

There are many reasons you might be looking for temporary car insurance. Maybe you are looking for your first standard auto insurance company and want to take your time. Or maybe you want to learn how to reduce the cost of auto insurance and lower your rates.

Whatever your reason, there is short-term car insurance out there for you.

However, most auto insurance companies won’t offer you temporary coverage since they make more money on long-term policies. It can be hard to find a temporary car insurance company, but not impossible.

Shopping around for car insurance will help you get the best deals, no matter what type of policy you’re looking for.

To compare quotes to see if temporary car insurance is the cheapest option for you, enter your ZIP code now.

What is temporary car insurance?

Temporary car insurance is the same thing as standard coverage except for the length of time your policy will be in effect.

Many regular auto insurance providers may not sell you a temporary auto insurance policy, and companies selling temporary car insurance will be hard to find. Most car insurance companies that offer temporary coverage will not allow you to buy less than one month of insurance.

If you’re going to drive off and on all year round, it could be easier to buy a regular policy. There are several different types of auto insurance that you can choose from to fit your needs, whether you choose a standard or short-term policy.

This table shows the average price of auto insurance depending on the type of policy you purchase. Low coverage plans will meet the legal requirements for car insurance in your state, but will not include extra coverage, like comprehensive or collision.

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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Low coverage costs about $10 a day while temporary car insurance rates are around $15 a day. You can see that it’s easier to buy a regular policy if you’re driving more than once in a while.

Your rates are determined using several different factors that affect the price of auto insurance, including your driving record, age, credit score, and where you live. Your rates may be lower depending on these factors.

How do you get temporary car insurance?

Shopping for temporary car insurance is the same as regular auto insurance.

Determine what coverage you want, and compare quotes from multiple companies to find the best deal. This is a process you should start in advance.

You may be able to get coverage in place quickly once you decide on a company, but it may take a little time to find companies and get quotes.

Who might need temporary car insurance?

There are a variety of reasons someone might need temporary insurance. Just a few are:

  • Searching for a new car insurance policy or having insurance for the first time. You may be in the process of obtaining conventional auto insurance and need some time to find out who you want to go with. Short-term auto insurance will allow you time to compare quotes and select a company.
  • Borrowing a car from family or friends. You could borrow a car from family or friends if your car is in the shop or you just need to run some errands. Even though you may only drive for a short time, it is not a bad idea to have your own policy. Non-owners insurance will allow you to insure a car that’s not yours. An auto insurance policy for non-owners will give you the peace of mind that you are insured if an accident happens.
  • Renting a car. Short-term or rental insurance would be needed if you are renting a car and do not have a regular car insurance policy covering it.
  • Test driving a new car. You may want a temporary policy if you are test driving a car. If you are buying from a private seller and don’t know if they have car insurance, this is particularly true.
  • Visiting a foreign country. If you are visiting the U.S. or if you live in the U.S. and visit another country like Mexico, your normal car insurance may not cover you driving in another country. You can get a temporary policy to cover your trip. This allows you to have the coverages in place that another country may require.

As you can see, there are a number of reasons to buy temporary car insurance. Short-term coverage could be the way to go, depending on your particular needs.

However, standard coverage would be cheaper in the long run if you drive for more than 30 days.

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What are the reasons you might need to make changes to your car insurance?

Sometimes you can make changes to your current auto insurance policy instead of getting a temporary policy.

Here are some scenarios to consider:

  • Your college student needs auto insurance on summer break. If you have a college student who doesn’t drive during the school term, you can add them to your policy when they are home. Some car insurance companies also offer discounts for students who are away at school, allowing you to keep them on your policy year-round.
  • You are loaning or borrowing a car. If you are loaning your car to a friend or borrowing a car, you might not need a separate policy. Generally, the auto insurance policy of the car owner will cover someone using the car every once in a while.
  • You are buying a car. If you are buying a new car and have auto insurance on your previous car, most car insurance companies will give you a grace period for your new car. You will usually have a few days to get the new car’s information to your insurer, and the company will cover the new car until you get it on your policy.

No matter the case, the only thing you don’t want to do is drive without car insurance.

Despite the fact that most states mandate some type of car insurance, the Insurance Information Institute estimates that 13 percent of drivers were uninsured in 2015.

If you’re caught driving without car insurance, you’ll face fines, driver’s license suspension, and possible prison time. The penalties you will face aren’t worth the risk, so make sure you have some sort of coverage in place when you get behind the wheel.

Whether you need a temporary policy or are looking for a new car insurance company, shop around to find the best deals out there.

To compare standard auto insurance quotes with temporary car insurance quotes and see if short-term coverage is right for you, enter your ZIP code now.