Can You Get One-Day Car Insurance?

Reputable insurance providers will not offer one-day car insurance, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have any options if you need temporary insurance.
Written by Cameron Thiessen
Reviewed by Jessa Claeys
One-day car insurance doesn’t exist unless you’re buying insurance for a 24-hour vehicle rental. However, some companies do offer short-term temporary auto insurance options.
If you don’t own a car or only drive a car on rare occasions, you might wish that you could purchase a cheap one-day
car insurance
policy. Unfortunately, this isn’t really an option. 
In fact, if you do find a car insurance company offering one-day car insurance, it’s probably a scam. Instead, you should look into short-term coverage options. To get the best rates, make sure to compare insurance quotes from several companies.
Let’s take a look at what your best temporary car insurance options are.
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4 options for temporary car insurance

If you need a short-term car insurance policy, various options might suit you, depending on your specific situation. The main thing that will affect which option you choose is whether or not you own a car.
Remember that driving uninsured can result in serious repercussions, especially if you end up in an at-fault accident. You need more than just a driver’s license to regularly drive a car. 
While you’ll usually be covered under the car owner’s insurance policy if you’re borrowing a friend’s car for a short amount of time, there are limits. You cannot borrow someone else’s car (and insurance) indefinitely. 

Cancel a 6-month auto insurance policy early

If you own a vehicle but only need it for one month, one option is to open a six-month policy and then cancel it early. The best car insurance companies will offer you a full refund for the months you paid for after the date of cancellation, and they’ll rarely charge you cancellation fees.

Purchase non-owner insurance

Non-owner insurance
is perfect if you drive often but don’t own a car. It’s usually cheaper than a standard car insurance policy and provides necessary
liability coverage
for the times when you are driving a car you don’t own.
While you might be covered by certain aspects of the car owner’s insurance policy if you’re just borrowing their car on one specific location, there are usually limits preventing people from doing this all of the time. Often the limit is just one day or month.

Be added as a permissive driver

If you borrow the same car often, it might be a good idea for you to get the owner to add you as a permissive driver. This means that you’ll have the same coverage that they do while you’re using their vehicle.

Buy rental car insurance

If you’re renting a car and don’t already have insurance that covers rentals, then purchasing the collision damage waiver (CDW) from the rental company might be your best option. This isn’t technically an insurance policy, but it has the effect of waiving most damages that might occur while you have the vehicle.
In addition to this, some rental companies might offer per-day insurance on a vehicle rental if you simply need basic insurance.
However, before you spend this extra money, check if you have
rental car insurance
via your credit card provider—this is fairly common. Buying the rental company’s CDW should be a last resort since it’s generally overpriced compared to regular auto insurance rates. 
Lastly, if you already have insurance on your own car and are renting a car, usually your car insurance covers the rental, as well. You can always reach out and ask.

When would temporary car insurance be necessary?

Family member using a car

If you have a spouse or kid who regularly uses your vehicle, they’ll need insurance. The best way to do this is to add them as a permissive driver. Unfortunately, this might affect the price of your insurance, especially if the permissive driver doesn’t have a clean driving history.

Driving a rental car

If you don’t have coverage for rental cars through your credit card, you’ll need to get some other form of temporary insurance. For a short rental period, purchasing the overpriced policy from the rental company might be the best option. But if you’re renting for a longer period of time, you might be better off going with a non-owner insurance policy.

International insurance

If you’re planning to drive while working abroad, you’ll need temporary international insurance. Ask an insurance agent for guidance to get signed up.

Keeping a car in storage

While there’s no rule stating that a car needs insurance if it isn’t being driven, it’s still usually recommended that you keep your vehicle insured with
comprehensive coverage
. Many auto insurance companies will allow you to get reduced coverage for a short amount of time to keep your stored vehicle protected from possible damages that might occur in storage.
This is especially relevant if you have a high-value classic car.
Classic car coverage
is usually cheaper than regular auto insurance, with the understanding that the car likely isn’t being driven that often.
For cars that are rarely driven, there may also be the option to increase your deductible to reduce your insurance premium. If you increase your deductible, you’ll get a lower payout if you do file a car insurance claim, though.
Bear in mind that if you’re leasing a vehicle, the company handling your lease might require that you maintain liability insurance in addition to full coverage, even if it’s in storage.

Borrowing cars and car-sharing

If you subscribe to a car-sharing service and drive various cars, it may be best to get a non-owner insurance policy. While most car-share organizations will have basic insurance included with the price of the subscription, you should be aware of what that insurance does and doesn’t cover—and what the coverage limits are. 
If you use these services often, having a more robust non-owner auto policy might be worth it.

After purchasing a car

While many dealerships will offer a temporary insurance policy to you when you purchase a new car—usually one that lasts four weeks—you should make sure you understand what that coverage includes. Don’t go this route if at all possible. The coverage is usually overpriced and not so great.
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Yes, this is usually the case. However, if you specify a specific start date for the policy, you can have it go into effect on that date instead.
The only time you’ll end up getting one-day car insurance is when you buy the insurance policy offered by a rental car company for a vehicle you’re renting. Car insurance rates for basic per-day coverage from rental companies will usually cost $5 to $15 per day. If you opt for the collision damage waiver (CDW), you can expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $30 per day for this type of coverage—sometimes even more.
If you pay $30 per day for four weeks, that amounts to $840, while the average cost of minimum car insurance coverage in the U.S. is only about $60 per month. This is why it’s rarely worth it to purchase these extremely short-term insurance solutions.
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