If the car you’re driving isn’t yours or you’re borrowing a car for a short period of time, you still need to make sure you’re an insured driver.
However, it may not make sense to buy a full car insurance policy for the vehicle since you won’t be driving it for longer than a few months.
Temporary car insurance solves this problem by providing the coverage you need for a set period of time. Short-term car insurance is available for various terms, but you might not be able to get it through your regular insurance provider.
Insurify can help you find and compare between the best quotes from the nation’s top insurance companies for six-month and year-long policy periods. In just five minutes, you can save on your premium or switch to a new quote tailored to your driver profile.
But in case you need insurance for a much shorter amount of time, here’s a closer look at how temporary car insurance works and situations where you might need this coverage:
Car insurance protects you in the event of an accident that results in injuries, property damage, or even a totaled vehicle.
Forty-eight out of 50 states require having insurance coverage when you get behind the wheel—even if it’s not your own car. As such, not having insurance could get you in legal and financial trouble in the event of an accident, even if you’re not at fault. If you get caught driving without adequate insurance coverage, you could be looking at a big fine and even jail time. If you end up in an accident without having insurance, you would also be responsible for all the damages incurred because of the accident. This could easily add up to thousands of dollars in medical bills, lawyer fees, and cost of repairs to a building. Having even basic car insurance coverage can help you save money and protect you from a costly lawsuit.
The typical car insurance policy covers you for six months or a year, depending on your contract terms. However, you may only need coverage for a few months or when driving a car temporarily. For example, you might be a student who lives on campus and makes use of Uber or Lyft to get around. When you go home for the summer, you might drive the family car but then hand the keys back when summer’s over and you head back to school. Or, you’re visiting friends in another state for a few months and are using their car. You don’t own a car back home so you don’t have insurance. You would buy temporary auto insurance to make sure you’re covered while driving your friend’s car.
There are several other unique situations where it makes sense to buy temporary car insurance. These include:
There are several situations where you may not need to buy short-term car insurance—even if you are borrowing someone else’s car. These include:
One thing to remember when you’re looking for short-term car insurance is your regular insurance provider probably won’t offer short-term coverage. Most companies require buying a policy for at least six months to a year with the option of renewing. In addition, knowing that you’re only driving for a very short period of time could make you a risky driver. It could tell the insurance company that you’re inexperienced or are going to be driving in areas that are foreign to you, which could make you prone to accidents, theft, or vandalism.
When you do find an insurance provider that offers temporary coverage, you’ll need to make sure you’re able to use it for the full policy period. Most companies will require a down payment of at least one to two months of the total premium. If you end up canceling the policy for any reason within a few days of purchasing coverage, you may not get all of that down payment back. You might also be subject to early cancellation fees.
Since coverage usually starts within about a month of obtaining the policy for the first time, you may not technically be covered for the first few weeks you’re driving the vehicle. This means you’ll have to be extra vigilant when driving the new car and may even need to wait a while until you venture to new areas. If you were to get into an accident during this grace period, you may not be eligible for the full coverage stated in your policy.
One way to determine whether you are a risky customer is to review your insurance coverage record. If you haven’t been driving a vehicle for several months or years and have not had continuous insurance coverage as a result, you might not be eligible for attractive rates. You can expect to pay a premium for short-term car insurance—and especially if you have not had coverage on another car before or have large gaps in insurance coverage. Insurance companies can assess this situation as you being a high-risk customer so they can justify charging you a higher-than-average premium.
Buying short-term car insurance makes sense in certain situations, but it can be difficult to find attractive rates and get the coverage you need at the right time. It’s always a good idea to check with your car insurance provider if they offer short-term coverage, but you may need to shop for coverage beyond the usual policy providers. Take some time to review your options, determine whether you really need short-term coverage over a standard policy, and do your due diligence to secure a policy from a reputable company.