Your Guide To Short-Term Car Insurance

WRITTEN BY: Julia Matseikovich


Typically, major insurance companies do not provide temporary auto insurance policies, as they usually require a minimum policy term of six months or even a year. Be cautious of insurance companies advertising short-term coverage, as they may provide limited coverage and poor customer service.

Canceling your standard auto insurance mid-term for a period shorter than six months is possible but not recommended due to potential consequences and fees. However, alternative ways exist to obtain temporary insurance coverage that deviates from the usual six or 12-month policy structure.

What exactly is short-term car insurance?

Traditional short-term car insurance is unavailable in the United States for drivers needing coverage for a few days or weeks. Reputable insurers typically provide policies for six or 12 months, excluding coverage options for less than six months.

However, there are alternative options to obtain coverage for a short period. In certain situations, you may already have coverage. For instance, if you’re borrowing a friend’s car with permission, you may be covered under their policy.

Similarly, when renting a vehicle, the rental company typically provides basic liability coverage, and you can opt for additional rental car coverage if desired.

In some cases, additional insurance policies may be necessary. Non-owner insurance would be suitable if you frequently borrow cars or use rental vehicles for short periods.

Alternatively, per-mile insurance could be viable if you anticipate driving infrequently. Consider your specific needs and explore these alternatives for temporary auto insurance coverage.

Types of short-term car insurance

Determining the most suitable method for obtaining short-term insurance coverage relies on individual circumstances. Although drivers cannot acquire one-day or month-to-month car insurance, alternative options exist to safeguard your vehicle and maintain affordability when full-time coverage is unnecessary.

  • Rental car insurance: When renting a car, you can purchase short-term insurance directly from the rental company. This type of coverage typically includes liability insurance, collision damage waiver, and sometimes comprehensive coverage for the duration of your rental period.
  • Non-owners insurance: Non-owners insurance is designed for individuals who frequently borrow or rent cars but do not own their own vehicles. This policy provides liability coverage when driving vehicles that are not registered in your name.
  • Pay-per-mile insurance: Pay-per-mile insurance is a flexible option for drivers who use their cars infrequently. With this type of coverage, you pay insurance premiums based on the number of miles you drive, making it a cost-effective choice for occasional drivers.
  • Temporary additional driver insurance: If you briefly share driving responsibilities with someone else, temporary additional driver insurance can be useful. This coverage allows you to add another driver to your existing policy for a limited duration, providing them with the necessary protection while they operate your vehicle.
  • Event-based insurance: Event-based insurance is designed for specific occasions or events requiring short-term coverage. This could include using a friend’s car for a road trip or borrowing a vehicle for a special event. Event-based policies offer temporary protection during these specific circumstances

Remember to consult with insurance providers to determine which type of short-term car insurance best suits your needs based on the specific situation and duration of coverage required.

Drawbacks of short-term car insurance

Auto insurance is a legal requirement in nearly every U.S. state, and the aforementioned short-term coverage options may not always provide adequate protection. Insufficient coverage puts you at risk of paying for damages in the event of an accident.

It’s important to be aware of the limitations of short-term car insurance. Continue reading to understand the potential drawbacks associated with these temporary coverage options.

Limited availability of temporary car insurance from insurance companies

Insurance companies typically provide policy term lengths of six months and 12 months. The primary goal of insurance companies is to retain clients for extended periods. Short-term policyholders are less likely to renew, making them less desirable to insurers.

Moreover, the premium collected from extremely short-term car insurance policies often doesn’t outweigh the administrative costs incurred by the insurer. As a result, most insurance companies don’t offer temporary car insurance options.

Potential loss of down payment with a temporary insurance policy duration

When it comes to temporary insurance policies, the down payment required typically ranges from 30 to 45 days’ worth of the total premium, although this can vary between companies. Canceling your policy early may not guarantee a full refund of your down payment.

It’s essential to note that the intention of saving money with a short-term policy may not always hold true. Additionally, remember that certain insurance companies may impose cancellation fees, further impacting the potential costs involved.

Waiting period for immediate coverage with short-term insurance policies

It’s important to be aware of the grace period rules set by most insurance companies. Typically, these rules limit the use of collision and comprehensive coverage within the first 30 days of a policy’s start date.

Coverage options may have a limit of a two-week period, so it’s important to consider the availability of specific coverage. Make sure to consider these limitations when deciding on the duration of your short-term insurance policy to ensure it aligns with your coverage needs.

Mandatory auto insurance laws in the majority of states

Except in New Hampshire, it is mandatory to have at least the legal liability coverage limit to drive or register a vehicle. Driving without insurance can lead to the suspension of your license. Leased or financed vehicles often require comprehensive collision insurance, which is unavailable for short-term coverage. Failing to maintain insurance coverage may result in the repossession of your vehicle if your lender discovers the lapse in coverage. It is crucial to adhere to these insurance requirements to ensure legal compliance and protect yourself from potential consequences.

Potential coverage gaps with temporary car insurance

Having gaps in your insurance coverage can have significant implications when obtaining temporary car insurance. Insurance companies often prefer customers who have maintained continuous coverage for at least six months.

If a driver has an active license but lacks a history of consistent insurance coverage, insurers may perceive them as high-risk clients, assuming they drove without insurance during those periods. These gaps in insurance history can lead to increased premiums, with rates potentially rising by approximately $15 per month.

Lack of coverage in case of a collision with short-term car insurance

Not obtaining permanent coverage after temporary insurance expires puts you at risk of driving uninsured. Driving uninsured and being at fault in a collision can lead to penalties like tickets, license suspension, and lawsuits for damages.

Without coverage, you’re responsible for out-of-pocket expenses if your vehicle is damaged in a hit-and-run accident. It is crucial to ensure continuous insurance coverage to safeguard yourself from these potential financial and legal consequences.


What is the shortest time frame for insuring a car?

Short-term car insurance policies typically have a minimum term of six months. While it is possible to obtain a six-month policy and cancel it before the term ends, doing so may result in additional fees or penalties.

Is car insurance required when driving someone else’s vehicle?

When driving someone else’s car, their insurance may cover you under their policy’s permissive use rule, granting you temporary coverage.

Consider non-owner insurance when frequently using a friend’s car instead of solely relying on their coverage.

Non-owner insurance offers liability coverage to non-vehicle owners, providing added protection and peace of mind.

Is short-term care insurance a real option?

The existence of temporary car insurance is a common question. Traditional short-term car insurance, like one-day or month-to-month coverage, is not widely offered despite some advertising claims.

Instead, alternative options like rental cars, non-owners, and pay-per-mile insurance can provide temporary coverage for specific situations. Consult insurance providers to find the best options for your temporary car insurance needs.

Can I cancel my car insurance if I only require coverage for a brief period?

Yes, you can typically cancel your car insurance if you only need it for a short duration. Consult your provider to understand potential fees or consequences before canceling by reviewing your policy terms.

Canceling your policy may save money now but create a coverage gap affecting future insurance rates. Consider your specific needs and consult with your insurance provider to make an informed decision regarding canceling your car insurance.

Can I obtain car insurance for daily, weekly, or monthly periods?

Approach cautiously as ads for daily, weekly, or monthly car insurance policies are often scams. Established insurance companies generally provide policies in six or 12-month terms, which are the standard options available.

An alternative approach is to initiate a regular policy and cancel it once it is no longer required. Insurance companies typically refund unused premiums paid for coverage beyond the actual duration.

Get affordable short-term car insurance

Looking for affordable short-term car insurance? Look no further! Compare rates from reputable insurers for the best deal on temporary coverage by filling out our online form.

Don’t miss out on saving money and getting the protection you deserve. Take the first step towards affordable car insurance by filling out our rate form now!


AgileRates extracted and analyzed data from the following to provide data in this article.

  • “Does temporary car insurance exist?” (Progressive)
  • “Who Offers Short-Term Car Insurance” (Forbes)
  • “What is Temporary Car insurance?” (True Jersey)

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