Temporary car insurance
Last updated: January 1
What is temporary car insurance?
Temporary car insurance, also known as short-term car insurance, is a type of auto insurance policy that provides protection for a shorter period of time compared to a standard auto policy. Unlike standard car insurance term – between six months to a year – temporary car insurance is designed to cover you for a shorter duration, often ranging from a single day, up to a few weeks or months.
The main purpose of temporary car insurance is to offer coverage for situations where you need to drive a vehicle that you don't own or that isn't covered under your regular insurance policy.
Who needs temporary car insurance?
Some common scenarios where someone might be interested in temporary car insurance include:
- Borrowing a vehicle
- Renting a car
- Test driving a vehicle
- Moving or traveling
- Sharing driving responsibilities
- Putting a vehicle in storage
Note that, while temporary car insurance may seem like an attractive option, it might not be the best, depending on your situation. A vehicle in storage, for instance, can still be exposed to risks, like vandalism, theft or damage from a falling object. In which case, a better alternative might be to suspend certain coverages – like, collision coverage, for example – while keeping a protection like comprehensive coverage, which guards against certain incidents while your vehicle is in storage or parked.
Can I purchase daily, weekly or monthly car insurance coverage?
Major insurers do not offer temporary auto insurance. Some companies may offer daily or weekly car insurance – but exercise caution. Many ads offering these kinds of insurance products may be misleading or even scam, according to MarketWatch. One route you might take, though, is pay-as-you-go insurance, which allow drivers to only pay for the miles they drive.
If you need coverage monthly, you may need to purchase a standard auto policy, which again, typically come with 6-month or yearly terms. As mentioned above, many insurers allow you to suspend certain types of coverage.
Is there short-term car insurance for vehicles I don’t own?
If you need insurance for a vehicle you don’t own, you may be added to the owner’s policy – they can talk to their provider about removing you after you’re done using the vehicle.
If you’re renting a vehicle, most rental companies offer certain types of insurance coverage – for instance, liability, comprehensive and collision, etc. But it’s important to point out that if you already have a personal auto policy for a vehicle you own, it may extend to the rental vehicle, depending on said policy. Be sure to ask your insurer. Credit cards may likewise offer certain coverages for rental cars.
Where can I get temporary car insurance?
As previously mentioned, most major insurers do not offer car insurance policies for less than a six-month period. You can always check around for pay-as-you-go protection, which can save you money if you’re not driving much.
But if you have a vehicle you own full-time and won’t be driving for a while, your best option may be to purchase a standard auto policy and then talk to your provider about options to suspend coverage while it’s in storage or parked. That way, it could be protected from incidents like theft, vandalism and more.
Temporary car insurance FAQs
If you already have an auto policy, it may cover you if you drive a friend’s car in certain cases, depending on your specific policy and laws in your state. Your friend’s insurance may cover you, too – again, depending on their policy and state laws.
If you plan on driving your friend’s car for a while, a wise option might be for them to talk to their provider about adding you to their policy as a driver.
There are companies that offer one day or short-term business auto insurance. Coverages may be similar to a personal auto policy, including property damage liability, bodily injury liability and comprehensive and collision.
Short-term auto insurance may be suitable for scenarios where you need to borrow or rent a van or truck to transport equipment, or need to drive for work-related purposes. This could also apply to a personal vehicle that you need to drive for business for a short period of time, during which a personal auto policy may not offer the proper coverage.