Say you have your driver’s license, but you aren’t exactly a regular driver. You don’t own your own car, or the vehicle you do own has been in storage for a while. Regardless, there might be some days where you have to get behind the wheel and drive. In these situations, you might end up borrowing a family member’s car or renting from a car rental service. If so, what should you do about car insurance? 

While there aren’t one-day car insurance policies that cover you for just a day of driving, you have some options. From rental car insurance to short-term insurance policies, there are ways to be covered for only a day or two. 

To ensure you’re getting the best auto insurance policy at the best price, it’s a good idea to compare some car insurance quotes. Luckily there’s Insurify, your #1 resource for all your quote comparison needs. With Insurify, it’s easy to compare 10+ free quotes at a time and find cheap car insurance in a matter of minutes. 

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Car Insurance for One Day

If you’re looking for a temporary car insurance policy that covers you for one day, you’re unfortunately out of luck. Most insurance providers offer traditional policies that last for six to 12 months at a minimum, which makes it a bit harder to get temporary insurance. Luckily, you can find some policies that are short term, lasting just a few months.

So what do you do if you’re borrowing a friend’s car for a day? Or how can you make sure you’re covered when you rent a car on a business trip or for a road trip? There are plenty of situations where you might need to drive for only a day or two. In that case, you still want to make sure you have car insurance coverage so that you aren’t on the hook for damages or liability. Here are a few common situations and the options you have for insurance coverage: 

If You’re Driving a Friend’s Car 

Say you’re going on a quick day trip to the beach. You don’t own your own car, so one of your good friends kindly lets you borrow their car for the day. In general, if this friend permitted you to drive their car, their car insurance policy will cover any damages sustained while you drove the car. Keep in mind that the nature of the accident and the friend’s coverage limits may affect just how much is covered. 

If you want to be covered for any property damage liability or bodily injury, you might want to look into non-owner car insurance. This is a good option for people who might borrow or rent cars frequently but don’t have a car of their own to cover. 

If You’re Driving a Rental Car 

Most car insurance policies will include coverage for rental cars. But just in case, it’s a good idea to reach out to your car insurance company before renting a vehicle to make sure you’ll be covered if you damage the rental vehicle in any way. Keep in mind that this may be different if you’re renting a larger moving vehicle like a U-Haul. In that case, your liability coverage could apply, but you might have to buy collision coverage through the rental company.

What if you’re renting a car, but you don’t already have car insurance? In that case, you might want to opt for a collision damage waiver. While this isn’t technically insurance, a collision damage waiver guarantees the rental car company won’t hold you responsible for repairs in the event of an accident or theft. It’s typically in the range of $20–30 per day, though this varies based on the rental car company and the type of vehicle you’re renting. 

Note that some credit card companies also include collision damage waiver coverage, so check the fine print of your credit card agreement before you speak with your rental car company.

If You’re Driving a Car That Was Previously in Storage

Maybe you have a car that you only take out on special occasions. It could be a sports car or luxury vehicle that you’ve been tinkering with for a little while—but now it’s finally time to take it on the road. How can you make sure you’re covered in a car that’s been in storage for a while?

In this case, you’ll want to minimize your auto insurance on this car off the bat. You could opt for comprehensive coverage that protects the vehicle against theft or fire while it’s in storage and lower your liability and collision coverage. Then, when you take it out for a drive, you can call your car insurance agent and make sure coverage has been added back on to your policy before you take it for a ride—even if you’ll only be driving it for a single day. 

If You’re Test-Driving a Car 

If you’re test-driving a car at a dealership, rest assured dealerships are legally obligated to have blanket coverage over the vehicles they’re selling, which means they’ll be the primary insurance policy called upon in the event of a claim. Don’t worry: you won’t have to take out a car insurance policy just for that quick drive around the car lot.

Short-Term Car Insurance

While one-day insurance doesn’t exist, there are short-term car insurance options that can help you stay covered even if you’re only driving for a short period of time. While you might not be able to find a short term policy at your regular insurance provider, you can find companies offering policies lasting anywhere from one to six months.

As someone who only drives occasionally, you are higher risk in the eyes of a car insurance company—so you might face higher rates. You’ll also be insured for longer than one day, depending on the terms of the policy. If you cancel this short-term policy after driving for a day or two, you could face cancellation fees. 

Whenever you’re looking for car insurance, you’ll want to compare your options. That’s where Insurify comes in. Insurify makes it easy to compare quotes, putting 10+ free quotes side by side so that you can find robust car coverage at low insurance rates.

Consequences for Driving Without Insurance 

The bottom line: driving without car insurance is illegal in just about every state. Aside from New Hampshire and parts of Alaska, driving without proof of car insurance will result in a fine that could be as high as $5,000. This mishap can also go on your driving record and result in your car being towed. You also don’t even need to be driving to be penalized for having no insurance. Many states electronically monitor which registered vehicles don’t have insurance and will reach out if your car is uninsured.

If you get in an at-fault accident while uninsured, you could get in big trouble. You might be sued for bodily injury and property damage and potentially have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars. This accident will also get you designated as a high-risk driver, staying on your driving history for years and affecting your ability to find affordable car insurance premiums.

In short, you can’t get away with driving without insurance, even if you’re only driving for a day or two. The consequences are simply too severe. Fortunately, you have a powerful solution at your disposal: Insurify. Need to find an affordable policy in minutes? Insurify has your back, helping you quickly compare quotes from a broad range of insurance providers. 

Finding Cheap Car Insurance Quotes

When it comes to comparing car insurance quotes, you won’t find a better solution than Insurify. Simply enter your driving history, vehicle information, and some basic personal information. Insurify will provide you with free quotes from a diverse array of car insurance companies — making it easy to find cheap car insurance in minutes.

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Updated August 12, 2020

Mark Steinbach is a writer based in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to his years of work as a copywriter, he is also a TV writer with a degree in English from Harvard University. When he isn't writing, he can be found playing tennis or doing crossword puzzles.