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Temporary Car Insurance Coverage: A Guide (Updated 2022)

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Charlie Mitchell

By: Charlie Mitchell

Edited by Jackie Cohen | Reviewed by licensed insurance agent, Amber Benka

Last Updated May 10, 2022


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Quick Facts

  • A temporary auto insurance policy will provide a driver with coverage for one to six months.
  • The cheapest insurer we found for temporary car insurance is USH&C, with average premiums of $110 per month.
  • Temporary auto insurance is cheapest in Hawaii, North Carolina, and Maine.

Heading on a road trip with a friend’s car and don’t have your own car insurance policy? Hosting a family member or college student for a summer and looking to make sure they have liability coverage for a few months? Gearing up for a temporary commute and want to up your coverage during that time? These are some examples of when temporary car insurance is necessary.

Read on for the basics on temporary car insurance—how to get it, what premiums you can expect, and how to find the cheapest car insurance companies to buy it from. Spoiler: the answer to that is Insurify, which helps you compare car insurance quotes from America’s top companies. Try it today—it’s free and takes just a few minutes.

Cheapest Companies for Short-Term Car Insurance

What does temporary car insurance cost? Sometimes, you’ll pay a bit more for temporary auto insurance than standard car insurance, but if you shop around, you can find it cheap. Here are the top 10 cheapest insurance providers for temporary car insurance:

Insurance CompanyMonthly Temporary Car Insurance Quote
Amigo USA$116
First Chicago$135
TSC Direct$138
Foremost Signature$148
Mile Auto$148
Disclaimer: actual quotes may vary based on the policyholder's unique driver profile.

What is temporary car insurance?

A temporary car insurance policy keeps you covered for one to six months, while most standard auto policies last for six months or a year. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a one-day car insurance policy. The minimum tends to be one month.

A number of situations can cause people to seek out short-term car insurance. Just because a car has standard car insurance in someone’s name doesn’t mean you are fully insured when driving it. By the same token, even if you have a standard car insurance policy, you’re not necessarily covered in whatever car you drive.

Perhaps you don’t otherwise own a car, or you live abroad. If you want property damage and liability coverage to drive legally in most states, you need short-term car insurance. If you’re driving a friend’s car and get pulled over, or you’re in an accident and are driving uninsured, and/or you’re not the named driver on the car’s policy, you could wind up in big trouble.

And it may make sense to get some extra insurance options. If you crash your friend’s car and no one is at fault, your friend’s insurance might not cover you—nor will your existing policy. So your temporary coverage for a friend’s or family member’s car—especially if it’s a new car—might be most effective with comprehensive coverage and collision coverage, too.

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How Short-Term Car Insurance Works

How long does temporary insurance last?

Temporary insurance coverage usually covers a driver for six months or fewer, and usually will not cover drivers for less than a full month. A standard insurance policy, on the other hand, will typically cover a driver for six months to one year.

Before you determine whether you need temporary car insurance, it would help to ask your insurance agent when you are and are not covered on your existing policy. That way, you’ll know your coverage options for the insurance company you have and what your needs are for your situation.

Temporary car insurance covers you for usually at least a month, but you agree upon the time frame beforehand. If you want a six-month policy, the car insurance company will probably just sell you classic car insurance coverage. But for anything between one month and six months, there’s short-term car insurance.

If you think you need temporary car insurance to drive a rental car, be extra careful. Sometimes, credit cards come with rental car insurance that might eliminate your need for a short-term car insurance policy. You’ll also want to take a close look at the insurance coverage the rental car company offers to make sure temporary coverage is necessary.

Here’s one way temporary car insurance doesn’t work: you can’t try to outsmart auto insurance companies and buy a policy for three days and then cancel it. Not only will the cancellation fees sting, you might be labeled by insurance companies as inconsistent and pay higher premiums later on.

Cheapest States for Car Insurance for Temporary Car Insurance

Here are the five cheapest states to buy short-term car insurance. You’ll notice that New Hampshire is on the list, which doesn’t even require liability insurance in the first place—so even though temporary car insurance is cheap there, it’s not necessary.

StateAverage Rate
North Carolina$127
New Hampshire$130
Disclaimer: actual quotes may vary based on the policyholder's unique driver profile.

Tips for Cheaper Temporary Car Insurance

You’re already paying a bit extra to get a short-term car insurance policy. So pay attention to these guidelines to try to bring the cost down:

See What Your Existing Policy Covers

First things first: ask your insurance agent what your current auto insurance policy covers you for—you might not need short-term car insurance to begin with! But if you don’t have liability coverage at all, you’ll definitely need a temporary auto insurance policy to get on the road.

Consider Non-owner Car Insurance

An alternative to temporary car insurance, a non-owner policy is not suitable for very short increments of time. But if you’re going to need insurance coverage for a car that isn’t yours, you can buy a non-owner policy in six-month increments from large insurance companies and cancel after some months without penalty. It’s cheaper than standard coverage or full-coverage car insurance.

Bundle with Other Insurance Policies

If you have a renters or homeowners insurance policy, you can bring all your insurance premiums down by bundling them together. It might be tricky to make this happen, but if you opt for a non-owner policy and work with a larger insurance company for your existing policy, you could still maintain your bundling discounts.

Find the Right Deductible

More likely than not, you will get through this less-than-six-month car insurance policy with no claims. So you might be wise to opt for a high deductible, which could bring the overall rate down for your temporary auto insurance. This applies if you’re buying comprehensive coverage and/or collision coverage for the car you’re driving for a short period of time.

Shop Around for Car Insurance

Bigger companies like Progressive, GEICO, and State Farm don’t offer temporary car insurance. So you’ll have to look around for the right company. There’s no better way to find the lowest quotes for auto insurance than Insurify, which provides you personalized quotes from the best insurance companies—no matter what kind of insurance plan you’re looking for.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • If you’re driving a car even for a temporary period and don’t have your own car insurance, you need to fill the gap with a temporary car insurance policy.

  • If you’re uninsured and driving a car for a short period of time—less than six months—you need an auto insurance policy to drive legally, and the policy you can get will be a short-term car insurance policy. People that live abroad or in New York City and other places where few people own cars are faced with this issue when traveling for brief periods of time.

  • Temporary car insurance comes with slightly higher premiums than standard car insurance. Ugh! It’s all the more reason to shop around and view as many insurance quotes as you can before buying your policy. Insurify does that for you in just a few minutes and totally free.

The Best and Cheapest Temporary Car Insurance Coverage

Your short-term car insurance will give you a reason to relax during a potentially stressful time. But what’s peace of mind if you have money troubles weighing you down along with it? When you’re buying a temporary car insurance policy or a standard policy, it’s important to compare car insurance rates.

With Insurify, you can access a free slate of personalized quotes that will take your auto insurance to the next level. Try it and get to saving money!

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The car insurance quotes displayed are based on an analysis of Insurify’s database of over 40 million quotes from 500 ZIP codes nationwide. To obtain representative rates, Insurify’s data science team performs frequent comprehensive analyses of the factors car insurance providers weigh to calculate rates including driver demographics, driving record, credit score, desired coverage level, and more.

Insurify’s analysis also incorporates the Insurify Composite Score (ICS) assigned to each insurance provider. The ICS is a proprietary rating that weighs multiple factors reflecting the quality, reliability, and health of an insurance company. Ratings used to calculate the ICS include Financial Strength Ratings from A.M. Best, Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch; J.D. Power ratings; Consumer Reports customer satisfaction surveys and customer complaints; mobile app reviews; and user-generated company reviews. 

With the above insights and ranking methods, Insurify is able to offer car insurance shoppers insight into how various insurance providers compare to one another in terms of both cost and quality. Note, actual quotes will vary based on unique attributes including the policyholder’s driver history and their garaging address.

Charlie Mitchell
Charlie Mitchell

Content Writer at Insurify

Charlie Mitchell is a journalist, researcher, and copywriter living in Minneapolis. He's contributed to Vox, Mother Jones, The New Republic, and other magazines and websites.

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