How to find Temporary Car Insurance in Illinois

In Illinois, standard car insurance is typically limited to 6 or 12-month policy terms, but alternatives for short-term coverage exist.
Written by Sean Boehme
Edited by Pat Roache
and the rest of the U.S., you can only purchase standard car insurance policies for a period of 6 or 12 months. While it’s not possible to purchase
temporary car insurance
, you may have other options depending on your coverage needs.

Temporary car insurance alternatives

Your best solution for temporary car insurance depends on why you need it
The coverage options...
Best if you...
Dealership-provided insurance
Haven't found a policy yet but are ready to buy a car
Pay-per-mile insurance
Own a car that you rarely drive
Rental car coverage
Drive rented vehicles a few times a year
Non-owner insurance
Frequently drive borrowed or rented vehicles
Permissive driver
Occasionally drive your friends' vehicles
Named driver
Regularly borrow the same car
Adjusted coverage
Drive seasonally
Early cancellation
Only plan to drive temporarily
Learn More

Temporary car insurance from an Illinois dealership

While most legitimate insurance companies in Illinois don’t offer “temporary” car insurance, some dealerships in the state offer customers the choice to purchase short-term auto coverage while they search for more permanent options. 
In most cases, these types of policies extend coverage for about a month (30 days or so), giving you the chance to shop for a long-term policy with a reputable provider. While temporary auto insurance can be convenient, it typically costs more than other types of coverage. 
On top of a higher price tag, temporary coverage may provide even less protection than a standard policy. For many drivers, the headache of acquiring short-term car insurance from a dealership can be too much—but for others, the ease of purchasing insurance immediately from the dealership may outweigh the expense.

Illinois pay-per-mile insurance

If you are a car owner who doesn't frequently drive, opting for pay-per-mile insurance can assist you in saving money while ensuring uninterrupted coverage. 
In Illinois, pay-per-mile coverage (sometimes called Pay As You Drive or PAYD coverage) enables low-mileage drivers to pay a fixed monthly rate for auto insurance. Here’s how it works:
  • A base rate is applied to your insurance policy, with an additional surcharge based on monthly mileage.
  • Your insurance premium fluctuates monthly, but having a short commute or working from home may lead to lower costs overall without compromising coverage. 
  • Premiums are typically capped, meaning you won't be charged extra for additional mileage once you exceed a set monthly limit.
Similar to
telematics programs
, the majority of pay-per-mile car insurance policies monitor your mileage via an in-car device or mobile app, which is then used to calculate your insurance rate. To determine whether this type of coverage is right for you, it may be worth tracking your actual mileage a few months ahead of time. 
Bonus: Pay-per-mile insurance coverage is also a great option for environmentally conscious drivers, as low mileage can also help lower your carbon footprint! 

Non-owner insurance in Illinois

non-owner car insurance
can provide supplemental liability coverage for people who have their driver’s license but do not own a vehicle. This type of coverage is one of the few that follows the driver rather than the vehicle, providing extra protection if you get into an accident while borrowing a friend’s car or driving a rental.  
You can use non-owner car insurance coverage to obtain a valid driver’s license, satisfy
Illinois SR-22
requirements, or provide coverage when renting a vehicle.
In many cases, non-owner insurance costs less than traditional car insurance policies. This is because most non-owner policies include only basic liability insurance—which helps pay for damage caused to other drivers if you’re in an accident, but won’t contribute toward your own repair bills or medical expenses. 
An Illinois non-owner policy must meet the state’s minimum coverage requirements, which include:
  • $$20,000 in bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 in bodily injury liability per accident
  • $20,000 in property damage liability 
  • $25,000 in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
Key Takeaway: Keep in mind, non-owner car insurance won’t help cover the costs of damage to the vehicle you're driving—so you should still be careful when driving a vehicle you don't own.

Rental car insurance

If you're renting a car in Illinois for a short period of time, there's no need to buy auto insurance separately. Most rental companies let you purchase
rental insurance
when you pick up the vehicle—although the coverage options may vary: 
  • Liability insurance
    : Provides coverage for damages to another driver and their vehicle if you cause an accident while driving the rental.
  • Collision damage waiver (CDW) coverage
    : Protects against damage to the rental car caused by a collision.
  • Personal accident insurance: Covers medical expenses in the event of injuries to you or your passengers as the result of an accident.
  • Personal effects coverage: Offers protection against theft of personal items kept inside the rental car.
Depending on the rental car company, other supplemental coverages may be available. You may want to ask the agent whether they have additional options to find coverage that best fits your needs. 
Need to know: Before purchasing separate rental insurance, check and see if your credit card company provides rental car insurance through their rewards program. If your card offers this perk, you can use it to pay for your rental. Just be mindful of any policy exclusions, such as non-covered vehicles or limitations on coverage duration.

Borrowing a car in Illinois

If you're borrowing a vehicle from a friend or relative in Illinois, you're likely covered under
permissive use
. This means that the owner of the vehicle has given consent for you to use it, and (in most cases) their insurance company will automatically cover you in the event of an accident. 
It’s important to note that permissive use does not extend to family members residing in the same household. Rather, car insurance companies prefer to see other members of the household listed as additional drivers on the insurance policy. 
Need to know: Before you borrow another person’s car, make sure to confirm that the vehicle owner has insurance coverage.
Driving without insurance
can result in a ticket, and if an accident occurs you could also be held responsible for the cost of damages.

Adjusting the limits of a standard Illinois auto insurance policy

If your insurance requirements are changing temporarily, you may be able to modify your insurance limits or the listed drivers on your policy. Here are some common situations where this could be a good choice:

College student away at school

If you're a parent of a college student who doesn't drive while they’re away at school, it may be possible to exclude them from your policy during the academic term and reinstate their coverage when they return home. This option allows you to save money while still ensuring your child’s protection when they’re home and driving.
Note: Some insurance companies have an “away at school” option on your policy—just switch your child to “away at school” when they first start attending school, as long as they’re 100 miles or more from home, then switch them back after they graduate or are no longer enrolled.

Seasonal drivers

If you keep your vehicle in storage for a portion of the year, it may be worth it to consider reducing your coverage temporarily. While it’s recommended you keep full coverage (which includes
comprehensive insurance
) on a car you drive regularly, vehicles kept in storage may only require basic liability protection. 
Say you have a ‘67 Ford Mustang you only like to drive during the summer months of May—October, and keep tucked away in storage for the winter months of November—April. In this case, switching up your policy every six months could help you keep your car insurance rates low without putting you at risk of a lapse. 
That being said, we recommend consulting your insurance provider for help adjusting your coverage properly and maintaining the required protection based on your registration.

Military deployment

If you or a family member are deployed in the military, you may qualify for a special auto storage plan provided by some Illinois car insurance companies. 
This type of insurance plan can significantly reduce the expenses associated with standard coverage, as providers often reduce rates and include discounts for active-duty personnel. Not only does this help you save money on your premium—it also ensures the security of your vehicle while you’re away.

Canceling standard car insurance early in Illinois

If you're visiting the U.S. temporarily or won't be driving for an extended period, canceling your standard six-month policy ahead of time could be a reasonable choice for short-term auto insurance. 
However, it's important to note there are potential risks associated with obtaining short-term coverage in this way: 
  • If you plan to drive in the future, you'll need to purchase a new policy—but
    lapses in coverage
    could lead to higher car insurance costs than if you had continued your current policy.
  • Canceling your policy early raises a red flag for auto insurance companies, and could result in them refusing to issue you a policy in the future. Your rates could be higher as a result.
  • Some insurance companies may charge a cancellation fee if you end your policy early. 
If you do decide to buy a policy and cancel it early, be sure to check with your insurer to see whether they offer pro rata or short-rate cancellation. Here’s what that means: 
  • Pro-rata cancellation means that you will be refunded a pro-rated amount for the unused portion of your policy. 
  • Short-rate cancellation means that you may be subject to a penalty in addition to the pro-rated refund. 
No matter why you’re seeking a temporary car insurance policy in Illinois, comparing car insurance quotes from three to five different providers will help you find the best rates. With Jerry's
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