Temporary Car Insurance Solutions in Michigan

Short-term car insurance options include pay-as-you-go insurance and rental car insurance, though the right policy will depend on your needs.
Written by Jessica Barrett
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Temporary car insurance doesn’t exist, but you might be able to use rental car insurance, a non-owner policy, or pay-per-mile coverage depending on your needs.

Your best solution for temporary car insurance coverage depends on why you need it

There isn’t one thing that qualifies as “temporary” car insurance—and the best choice for short-term insurance for you will depend on why you need the coverage. No matter what type of policy you get, it will always include the state minimums. 
Michigan’s minimum coverage insurance requirements
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability per accident
  • PIP—drivers with qualifying health insurance coverage may opt-out
  • Property protection insurance (PPI)
Let’s explore the various short-term car insurance options.

If you’re buying a car: Avoid short-term policies

Many car dealerships sell temporary insurance coverage so that buyers can drive their vehicles home legally—but they’re typically not a great choice.
  • The good: Coverage from a dealer is convenient and lasts about 30 days, giving you time to
    shop for an insurance policy
  • The bad: Short-term dealership coverage is typically expensive and you might get less coverage than you need
Your best bet is to find
car insurance before buying a car
. You can get a same-day auto policy free quote from Jerry and drive off the lot fully protected. All you need to have ready is your credit card, an understanding of your driving history, and all required documents. 

If you don’t drive often: Pay-per-mile insurance

Pay-as-you-go car insurance is the best car insurance option for low-mileage Michigan drivers who only want to pay for the miles they use.
  • The good: A pay-per-mile car insurance policy combines low fixed car insurance rates, plus an additional charge per mile driven that month
  • The bad: Not available in every state or with every insurance provider

If you’re renting: Rental car insurance

If you’re renting a vehicle in Michigan, your rental agency will be able to provide you with the car insurance coverage you need for the duration of your rental.
  • The good: If you don’t have your own policy, it’s convenient to buy coverage through the rental car company
  • The bad: Insurance from the rental company tends to be very expensive

If you borrow or share cars regularly: Non-owner insurance

With
non-owner car insurance
, you can borrow or rent a car without worrying about personal liability.

If you borrow a car occasionally: You’re already covered! 

As long as you have permission to borrow the vehicle, you’re very likely covered under the owner’s policy.
  • The good: Most auto insurance policies allow for permissive use and will cover you if you’re involved in an accident 
  • The bad: If you’re named as an
    excluded driver
    on the vehicle policy, you won’t have coverage while driving the car
Keep in mind: Some Michigan car insurance companies limit the number of times the owner may lend their car in the policy’s fine print—especially to an uninsured dependent. 

If you regularly borrow a specific car: Named driver

If you use the same car regularly or live with someone who owns a vehicle, they should add you to the policy as an additional driver.
  • The good: You’ll be covered anytime you drive the vehicle
  • The bad: The owner’s insurance premium may increase, particularly if you are a young driver or have a spotty driving record

If you stop driving temporarily: Standard policy with adjusted coverage levels

If you aren’t going to be driving for a specific period of time, you can reduce your coverage. This might come in handy if you’re:
  • Going away for the winter: Ask your insurer about dropping your coverage to comprehensive only while the vehicle isn’t being driven
  • The parent of a college student away at school: You can often remove the student from the policy while they’re at school and add them again during the months that they’re home
  • Being deployed: Some insurance companies offer storage plans for military members while the car is not being used

The worst way to get temporary auto insurance coverage

If you need coverage for a few months, you might consider buying a six-month policy and canceling early—but this isn’t usually a good idea. Here’s why: 
  • Possibility of coverage refusal: Repeatedly canceling policies early can prompt insurers to refuse you coverage in the future
  • Gaps in your insurance history: Cancelling a policy without having another one in place is considered an insurance lapse and will result in higher car insurance costs
  • Cancellation fees: Not all insurers charge cancellation fees, but some do—and you might even lose your down payment if you don’t maintain your policy for the full term
That said, if you’re moving to the U.S. temporarily and aren’t worried about a lapse in coverage or being denied insurance in the future, buying a standard policy and canceling it once you no longer need it might make the most sense for you.
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Watch for scams:
Reputable insurers don’t offer one-day, weekly, or even monthly insurance. If you see this type of coverage advertised, it might be false advertising—or it could be a scam that will leave you without insurance.

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