Temporary Car Insurance: What Is It and Do You Need It?

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Buyers beware–companies that advertise daily, weekly, or monthly car insurance may not meet your coverage needs and can leave you on the hook for financial costs in the event of an accident.
Traditional companies typically only offer temporary 6-month and 1-year policies. If you’re not a regular driver but need a car for a short period of time, you’re probably wondering if temporary car insurance is a good idea.
That’s why the comparison insurance and broker app Jerry has compiled everything you need to know about temporary car insurance.
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What is temporary car insurance?

Temporary car insurance provides insurance coverage for you and your vehicle when you only need it for a short period of time. The shortest amount of time you can get insured by most reputable carriers is six-months. If you’re looking for car insurance for a shorter period of time than that, you’re out of luck.
However, you can still get a six-month policy and choose to cancel it early when you need to. Getting a six-month policy also means you’ll have good coverage.
The exact terms will depend on your policy, but generally speaking, you’ll be able to secure the following types of coverage:
But getting temporary car insurance isn’t as easy as you might think. Most reputable insurance companies don’t offer insurance for periods of less than six months. If you want coverage for a shorter duration, you’d have to cancel the policy part way through the term.

Temporary car insurance cost

Just like with traditional car insurance, the cost of temporary car insurance will vary depending on factors such as your age, location, and carrier.
If you want to find the cheapest temporary car insurance, shopping around is your best bet. Jerry can help!
In less than a minute, Jerry will deliver three great quotes that meet your coverage needs. And it takes care of everything–paperwork, phone calls, and even cancels your old policy.
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Who needs temporary insurance?

There are a number of times when short-term insurance might make more sense than a year-long premium.
If you have a student who’s home for the holidays or summer break, they will need coverage if they’re going to be driving. You may be able to add temporary coverage for them onto your existing auto insurance policy.
Family members using a car
If a family member is borrowing a car for a day, they will be covered by your existing insurance policy–but anything longer than that requires them to have coverage of their own. You may be able to add temporary insurance for the time they’re using the vehicle.
Rental cars
If you don’t currently have car insurance and don’t want to purchase the pricey coverage offered by the rental company, a temporary car insurance policy might make sense.
If you’re renting for an extended period of time, short-term coverage may be a more affordable option to have peace of mind.
International insurance
If you’re an expat or work abroad and are planning to drive, you’ll need temporary insurance coverage for that period. In most cases, your domestic car insurance policy won’t cover international driving.
Putting a car in storage
Even if your car is in storage, it should be insured. Having temporary coverage will protect your vehicle in the event that it is damaged while being stored.
Car-sharing insurance / borrowing a car
Car sharing means that you only have a car when you need it.
But since you don’t own the car, you don’t have a traditional insurance policy that will cover you in the event of an accident. Some car-share companies have vehicle coverage, but you may want to top-up their limits with your own temporary policy.
Temporary insurance from car dealerships
Some dealerships will offer temporary insurance after you purchase a car, which gives you a bit of a buffer (typically up to 28 days) to secure a more permanent solution. Make sure to review the coverage to ensure it meets your needs, including collision and liability insurance.
There are also times when you may not need a temporary car insurance policy, such as:
Renting: If you’re renting a car and purchasing insurance through the rental company, you will not need to purchase additional temporary insurance. Some credit cards also come with a rental car insurance benefit–which would also prevent you from having to secure temporary insurance.
Borrowing: If you’re borrowing a friend’s car for a few hours or for the day, their insurance policy should cover you in most situations. But if you’re using the car for longer than that, you’ll need to secure your own coverage.

What carriers offer temporary car insurance?

Most major insurance companies only offer one-year (and sometimes six-month) policies. Temporary insurance for shorter periods simply isn’t an option.
Be wary of companies that market daily, weekly, or monthly insurance policies. They may not offer the coverage that you need and could leave you open to financial liability in case of an injury or accident.
Here are the top five companies offering the cheapest temporary car insurance for a six-month period:
CompanyAverage monthly cost
Amigo USA$109
Farmers 21stCentury$117
If you’re looking for short-term insurance, your best bet is to use a comparison app like Jerry to find providers that meet your needs.
Jerry is your ultra-talented car insurance broker for life. No need to sit across from him at a desk–Jerry is an app! It takes less than a minute to sign up and you’ll be presented with competitive rates from up to 40 top providers. Don’t lose coverage, find savings with Jerry.

Things you need to know before looking into temporary car insurance

Before you begin looking into temporary car insurance options, there are some important things to consider.
You might be covered under an existing policy
If you have personal car insurance already, there’s a chance that it covers a temporary car from a rental agency. If you have this coverage, you can forego the expensive insurance add-ons that the rental companies offer. You’ll typically receive the same coverage on the rental vehicle that you do on your own car.
If you’ll be borrowing a car from someone, they should contact their insurance company to discuss coverage. If their insurance will cover you while you’re operating the vehicle, you won’t need to purchase short-term car insurance at all.
Buyer beware (of companies marketing short-term insurance policies)
If it turns out that you do need temporary insurance, pick your insurer wisely. Most trustworthy providers do not sell temporary insurance, but they will be happy to help you figure out a solution that works for your needs.
Your best bet is to contact some of the most reputable insurance companies to ask whether they offer six-month policies. You can always cancel part way through if you don’t need coverage for the full period. You can ask the carrier if they offer refunds for early cancellations.

Non-owner car insurance

If you are considering buying temporary car insurance because you borrow cars frequently, non-owner car insurance might be a good coverage option.
Since the coverage follows you, not the vehicle, you’ll always be protected.
This insurance provides bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverages, which are mandatory in most states.
The biggest drawback to non-owner car insurance is that it is typically secondary coverage. This means that it only takes effect if the primary insurance policy–the one held by the owner of the cars–isn’t sufficient to cover all the costs.
For a year of non-owner car insurance, you’ll likely be looking at somewhere between $200 and $500. This, of course, varies depending on your personal profile, driving history, and other factors.

Pay-per-mile car insurance

Usage-based insurance can be helpful for drivers who don’t drive often and want to save money on their insurance rates.
Insurers assess your premiums based on how you actually drive, not on how people like you are statistically likely to drive. This means that the less you drive, the less you’ll pay, and vice versa–as long as your driving record remains good.
Pay-as-you-go or pay-per-mile insurance can be a good option if you’re looking for temporary insurance simply because you don’t drive much.
And since your premiums are based on how you actually drive, you might see savings of up to 50% off regular car insurance premiums.
Is it temporary insurance? Not really. But it strikes the right balance between finding savings on your auto insurance and ensuring you have the right coverage when you need it from a reputable insurer.
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What if I just cancel an insurance policy before it ends?

You might wonder whether you can sign up for a traditional year-long policy and cancel once you no longer need it. The answer is yes, but it might not be a great idea for a few reasons.
First of all, if you go this route, it’s important to first make sure that you’re not losing coverage that you actually need.
Not having coverage for any period of time creates a lapse in coverage can leave you open to huge financial liability and cause your premiums to increase when you apply for a new policy. Driving without the minimum required coverage is also illegal in almost every state.
Most companies will offer a prorated refund for the unused portion of the policy, but they may tack on a surcharge for cancelling before your policy is up.
As your pocket broker for life, Jerry will help you get a refund if you cancel early and help you avoid paying any cancellation fees.

Save on car insurance with Jerry

If you’re looking for the cheapest temporary car insurance, look no further than Jerry.
Jerry can find the policy perfectly suited to your budget and coverage needs. And if you need to cancel early, Jerry will take care of that, too.
In less than a minute, Jerry can help you find the insurance coverage you need for the best price.
And if you’re worried that maintaining insurance will be too expensive, just leave it to Jerry! Jerry browses over 45 top car insurance providers so that you’re always getting the best deal!
No paperwork, no phone calls, no long forms to complete. A few easy questions and Jerry will find you the savings you’ve been looking for.
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Frequently asked questions

Do car dealerships offer temporary insurance?

Yes, some dealerships will offer you temporary insurance. This is because you’re legally required to have insurance before leaving the dealership with your new car. The dealership’s insurance, if they offer it, will usually last for around 28 days.

Is it possible to insure a car for one day?

No, you won’t find a car insurance policy from a reputable insurer that will cover you for just one day (or just a week or month, for that matter).
If you’re renting a car from a rental agency, you can secure daily insurance coverage through then. Otherwise, you’ll want to contact reputable insurance companies to discuss your specific situation and find the best coverage to meet your needs.

What are the best companies for temporary car insurance?

As we’ve covered above, reputable companies don’t typically offer temporary insurance–but most providers have policies that cover six months or a year.
While big insurance companies like USAA, Nationwide, Allstate, GEICO, State Farm, and Liberty Mutual all offer short-term policies, the best way to find a deal is to shop around using a comparison app like Jerry.

When do I need temporary car insurance?

Having short-term insurance coverage might make sense if:
  • You’re renting a car and don’t have a personal auto insurance policy
  • You’re borrowing a car from a friend or family member for a period of time and need your own insurance
  • You purchased a car that you’ll soon be selling, but need insurance in the meantime
  • Your driving habits will be changing in the short term and you need to supplement your existing coverage
  • You need to add temporary coverage for a friend or family member who is coming to visit and will be driving your car

What happens if I let my insurance lapse?

Letting your insurance lapse is never a good idea–intentional or not.
If you’re caught driving without car insurance, you will be subject to hefty fines and could even have your license and registration suspended until you show proof of coverage. And then you’ll need to pay a fee to get them reinstated.
You can also be held personally liable if you get into an accident, which means you would need to pay out of pocket for medical bills, property damage, car repairs, and even legal fees.
And the next time you apply for insurance, expect to see sky-high premiums. Insurance companies will see you as a high-risk driver, which means your insurance rate could potentially double.
If you’re struggling to pay your current premiums and need help finding savings, download Jerry. Jerry will browse the top insurers to help you find coverage at an affordable price.
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