How to Find Temporary Car Insurance in North Carolina

Most reputable insurers don’t offer temporary car insurance in North Carolina, but you can purchase a six- or 12-month policy and cancel before the renewal.
Written by Jacqulyn Graber
You likely won’t find temporary auto insurance in North Carolina from a reputable insurer, but you can purchase a six-month policy and cancel before your renewal date.
  • Most North Carolina insurance companies offer policies starting at six months.
  • Any company advertising one-day auto insurance is probably a scam.
  • Rental car insurance or non-owner insurance are good alternatives for some drivers.

What is temporary car insurance?

The truth about
temporary auto insurance
policies is that they’re technically not an option. 
While you can obtain a policy that lasts six months, most reputable car insurance companies won’t offer a shorter policy. In fact, companies that do offer insurance for less than six months are almost always a scam. 
If you need car insurance for a very short period of time, your best option is to purchase a six-month car insurance policy from a respectable auto insurance agent and cancel it early. That said, you’ll need to be careful doing this to avoid paying early termination fees and having a
lapse in your coverage

What is a mid-term cancellation fee?

While many insurers no longer have cancellation fees, North Carolina permits a short-rate cancellation fee to be part of a car insurance policy contract. It's not a law to have a short rate fee, but since it is allowed, many companies take advantage.
You’ll likely have to pay one of three types of fees if you cancel mid-term:
  • Short rate: Once you cancel the policy, some providers will charge 10% of the unearned premium (amount of time not yet used on the policy). We recommend finding a 6-month policy if you intend to cancel early. 
  • Pro rata: With this type of refund, you will only be charged for the time that your policy was active. If you paid your premium in advance, you may receive a full refund for unearned premiums.
  • Flat fee: In this scenario, the company simply charges a flat fee for early termination—usually $25 or $50. 

Best companies for temporary car insurance in North Carolina

Instead of looking for a short-term or temporary car insurance policy, look for insurance companies that have an easy cancellation process and no cancellation fee. There are companies in North Carolina that make it easy to cancel a policy early. You may even get a refund for your unused premiums when you cancel.
Here are some insurers where canceling before your renewal is a possibility: 
    : GEICO makes canceling early fast and easy—although they do charge a short rate fee to North Carolina customers. 
  • USAA
    : Though USAA is only available to military members and their dependents, you can cancel your policy without a fine and receive a refund in most cases. 
  • State Farm
    : State Farm also allows you to cancel a policy early without charging a cancellation fee, and offers refunds for unused premium payments. 
  • Allstate
    : Typically, Allstate makes it easy to cancel a policy before your renewal, and doesn’t fine you for it. 
  • Progressive
    : While Progressive does charge a short rate fee in North Carolina, you are welcome to cancel your insurance plan at any point. 
If you still intend to keep your car after canceling your policy—whether you’re driving it or not—you will need to purchase another policy to comply with state insurance requirements. 
All North Carolina drivers are required to carry: 
North Carolina auto insurance companies are required by law to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) if your vehicle’s insurance is canceled. Any lapse in your car insurance in North Carolina results in a $50 fee, which increases to $100, then $150 for subsequent offenses. 
Keep in mind:
Driving without valid proof of insurance
leads to suspension of your driver’s license and license plates, civil penalties, and hefty fines—so be sure to leave no gaps in your coverage! 

Alternatives to temporary car insurance

There are a few unconventional options for short-term car insurance, as well, depending on your situation. Both
rental car insurance
non-owner car insurance
, for example, can offer temporary coverage for North Carolina drivers. 
Additionally, it may be a good idea to simply keep your policy open! 

Rental car insurance

If you’re only going to be driving in North Carolina temporarily: It may be more practical to get a rental car, which comes with its own insurance options. Most notably, this includes a collision damage waiver (CDW)—signing one with the rental company allows you to receive their highest level of protection on the road. 
But be warned: Rental companies are notorious for overpricing CDWs—so much so that CDW protection can sometimes total more than the rental car price itself. Usually, you’ll be better off opting for less expensive limited-coverage options like rental car liability insurance or personal car accident insurance. 
Additionally, several credit card companies offer rental collision coverage for free, so be sure to check with yours!

Non-owner car insurance

If you don’t own a car but frequently drive someone else’s: A non-owner car insurance policy could set you up with secondary coverage and help you avoid an insurance lapse.
While traditional car insurance is tied to a registered vehicle, a non-owner policy is attached to the driver instead and is often up to 10% cheaper than standard car insurance. 

Keep your policy open

If you’ll need to insure your own car in the future: Depending on your circumstances, it’s likely you’ll need car insurance coverage again down the line. 
For example, if you’re in the process of replacing your vehicle, you might find it worthwhile to just bite the bullet and insure both cars for a few weeks. Then, you can remove your old car from the policy without ever having to shop for entirely new coverage! 
This could be the most convenient option, and could keep your insurance costs down in the long run. Just be sure to compare new car insurance quotes every six months to make sure you’ve got the best auto insurance rate!
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