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Temporary Car Insurance

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It is common to wonder whether you can get temporary auto insurance. There are plenty of reasons you may be interested in temporary insurance, such as when you are between insurance policies. However, the harsh reality is that you will not find temporary auto insurance from a reputable company. The good news is that there are some alternatives that should work in most situations. These options will help you meet your local minimum requirements for insurance coverage.

Our team has reviewed the best car insurance providers and gathered all of the relevant information about each for you.

Can You Get Temporary Car Insurance?

If your definition of “temporary” is anything less than six months, then the answer is no, you cannot get short-term car insurance. That is because the shortest standard term for auto insurance policies is six months. There are simply no reputable providers that offer shorter terms than this.

If you do a quick search online or ask around, you may mistakenly believe that you found a decent option. That is because some companies do technically offer shorter terms. However, these companies are generally not reputable. For instance, these companies may overcharge you for insurance, or may not provide the promised payouts or coverage. 

Even worse, the policies offered by these companies may not even meet your state’s minimum requirements for coverage. Simply put, if you find an insurance company that claims to offer temporary insurance, definitely do some research first, as nine times out of ten, the company will not be reputable.

While you can’t get temporary car insurance, there are some great alternatives, which we will now explain further.

Other Ways to Have Car Insurance for Occasional Driving

Since we have established that the only way to get short-term car insurance is from an unreliable company, your best option is to look at alternatives. Remember that shady companies may steal your money or personal information. After all, you have to provide plenty of personal information, including running a credit check, to get auto insurance. That can give bad companies all the information they need to cause serious problems for you.

Instead, consider one of the alternative coverage options to ensure that you won’t be at risk of being penalized for driving uninsured.

Rental Cars

One of the best options is to rethink owning a car at all if you just need one temporarily. While you cannot get temporary insurance on a vehicle you own, you can easily do so for a rental car. You simply opt for getting insurance coverage through the rental car company. This option will save you money on insurance and eliminate the costs of vehicle ownership.

Non-Owner Car Insurance

There is also an option called non-owner car insurance. This is a policy that covers you when you are driving cars that you don’t own. The policies typically last six months or a year.

The great thing about this option is that it gives you the coverage you need, but it tends to be a lot more affordable than normal insurance for a car. You can even get a non-owner car insurance policy and then use rental cars. This type of policy is typically more affordable than the rental car insurance policies offered via rental companies, especially if you frequently rent cars.

Get Listed on Another Driver’s Policy

This alternative to temporary car insurance works well if the car you occasionally drive is a car that belongs to someone else. In that case, you can ask the family member or owner of the vehicle to add you to their existing policy. This way, you will always have the coverage you need when you drive their car.

To make this option more appealing to the car owner, you could offer to pay for the difference in their rates if they do notice an increase when they add you to the policy. As a bonus, this option will typically cost less than purchasing insurance for your own car, as you would just be an add-on versus a prime policy owner.

Should You Buy a Policy and Cancel It a Few Days Later?

After learning that you can’t get temporary coverage from reputable car insurance companies, you may be tempted to just buy a policy and cancel it in a few days, weeks, or months when you don’t need it anymore. Do not do this.

There are several reasons that this approach is a bad idea. These include both financial reasons and the fact that it will make it harder to get coverage in the future.

To start, keep in mind that getting a policy only to cancel it so soon after will typically result in a quick loss of a fair amount of money. Simply put, your insurance company is incredibly unlikely to give you back your deposit. You also aren’t likely to get your first payment back, which is an automatic negative. After all, those two costs alone likely cost more than you would pay to rent a car with rental insurance. On top of that, there may be cancellation fees.

There is also the fact that this will leave you with a very short car insurance coverage period to consider. Remember that when an auto insurance company offers you a rate, the company determines that rate by considering numerous factors, including your coverage and claims history. If you have a noticeably short coverage period, insurance companies will assume that you pose a higher risk. That is particularly problematic if you have other factors that classify you as a high-risk driver, such as a short driving history or a driving record with accidents.

In the best-case scenario, the fact that they see you as a riskier driver will mean you will have to pay higher premiums on future insurance policies. Expect higher car insurance quotes in your future.

In the worst-case scenario, you may struggle to find any car insurance coverage at all. That is because some insurance companies will not even offer you coverage if you were with your last insurance company for less than six months. These companies know that a six-month policy is the minimum standard car insurance and assume something went wrong if your coverage was less than this.

It is much smarter to just use one of the previously mentioned insurance options to get liability coverage. Remember, you can also increase your deductible to get lower monthly insurance premiums on a normal policy. You may also be eligible for discounts, such as those available for homeowners or for bundling your car insurance with your life insurance.

Our Recommendations for Auto Insurance

When it comes down to it, you won’t find a temporary car insurance policy from any reputable provider. For most people, the best route will be to either rent a car and get insurance through the rental agency or to get non-owners insurance.

Luckily, the most reputable insurance providers offer non-owners insurance. Our top recommendations based on our extensive research are GEICO, USAA and State Farm.

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GEICO: Best Overall

Based on our extensive research and comparisons, we awarded GEICO the title of Best Overall among insurance companies. This includes an overall rating of 9.1 out of 10.0. Our team rated each insurance company in various relevant categories and awarded ratings for those as well. GEICO performed well across the board with a 9.8 for industry reputation, an 8.5 for coverage, a 9.4 for cost, and a 9.0 for customer experience.

USAA: Best Military Provider

Our team found that USAA is the best military provider. Just keep in mind that this insurance company exclusively offers its policies to members of the military and their immediate families. If you fall into that category, then a USAA policy gives you access to an insurer that earned an impressive 9.6 out of 10.0 overall. USAA earned a 9.3 for industry reputation, a 9.5 for coverage, a 9.3 for customer experience, and a 10.0 for cost.

State Farm: Best Student Discounts

While our team found State Farm offered the best student discounts, the insurance provider also has great rates and coverage for those who aren’t high school or college students. It earned an 9.1 out of 10.0 rating overall, which includes a 9.9 for industry reputation, an 9.0 for coverage and cost, and an 8.8 for customer experience.

Short Term Car Insurance: FAQ

Can you get temporary car insurance?

No, you cannot get temporary car insurance. If you only need coverage temporarily, your best options are to rent a car or to drive a friend’s car, as either of those options lets you use a non-owner policy. Another possibility is for you to get insurance with a rental car through the rental agency. If you own a car and want to keep it, just go ahead and get a normal plan. Remember that many companies offer low-mileage discounts.

What is the best temporary car insurance?

There is no “best” temporary car insurance, as no reputable company offers temporary car insurance. You will be putting your finances and personal information at risk if you sign up with one of the rare companies that offer this type of policy, as they are known to be shady.

Can I get one-month car insurance?

The short answer to this question is no. No reputable company in the U.S. offers car insurance policies that are valid for a period less than six months. You cannot find reliable or viable options for a shorter period of time.

Can I buy car insurance for one day?

No, as mentioned earlier, there is a six-month minimum for insurance policies. The only way to get car insurance for just one day is through a rental agency. To qualify, you would have to rent a car through the agency for just one day.