One-Day Car Insurance — A Common Myth

Jennifer Pendell
Written by
Jennifer Pendell
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Written by
Jennifer Pendell
Insurance Writer
Jennifer Pendell is a personal finance expert. She specializes in breaking down dense subjects to make them easier for consumers to understand, with a particular interest in homeowners, renters, and auto insurance concepts. She studied at the University of Iowa.
John Leach
Edited by
John Leach
Photo of an Insurify author
Edited by
John Leach
Insurance Content Editor at Insurify
John Leach is an insurance content editor who has worked in print and online. He has years of experience in car and home insurance and strives to make these topics easy to understand for everyone. He has a linguistics degree from UC Santa Barbara.
Amber Benka
Reviewed by
Amber Benka
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Reviewed by
Amber Benka
Licensed Insurance Agent
Amber Benka is a licensed insurance agent specializing in auto, home, commercial, life, and health insurance.

Updated June 15, 2022

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Why you can trust Insurify

Insurify is America's highest-rated insurance comparison platform. We partner with the nation's top insurance companies and are licensed as an agent in all 50 states. However, the insurance experts writing our content operate independently of our partners, and you can learn more about how we make money by viewing our advertising disclosures. Also check out reviews from over 3,000 satisfied customers, our data methodology, and our editorial standards.

You may not drive regularly or have your own car, but there may come a time when you need to get behind the wheel. Say you’re borrowing a friend’s or a family member’s car or you’re renting a vehicle for a road trip. You may wonder whether you can buy temporary coverage for a single day.
Insurers don’t usually offer insurance options for such a short period of time, but there are ways to make sure you’re covered and stay safe on the road. Drivers who compare car insurance quotes online often find the best rates and save the stress of searching all over the internet.

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Quick Facts

  • Temporary car insurance is for people who are borrowing or renting a car, don’t drive often, or have a car in storage.

  • Most insurance terms are 6 or 12 months long.

  • Most reputable insurance companies don’t sell one-day insurance.

What is one-day auto insurance?

Can I get a one-day car insurance policy?

Need a super short-term car insurance policy? They exist if you know where to look!

One-day car insurance is a bit of a misleading name. Reputable insurance companies don’t provide one-day insurance policies. In most cases, you’re getting auto insurance that covers your car for 6 or 12 months. Some companies say they have one-day car insurance but are really just scams to collect and resell your personal details.

However, it’s still possible to insure a car for a single day, as long as you choose the right coverage options. Here’s how.

See More: Best Car Insurance Companies

When do you need a short-term policy?

There are several situations where you might need temporary auto insurance that covers a car for a single day. These are some of the most common ones.

Borrowing a Car

If you’re driving a friend’s car for a day, call the owner’s provider and ask if they can have their insurance cover you for that day. Most insurance policies are written for the car, not the driver, so you will probably be able to get coverage.

If you regularly drive cars that aren’t yours, non-owner car insurance is another good option. The liability coverage will follow you instead of the car, so you’ll always be covered. However, a non-owner policy is usually only considered secondary coverage. It kicks in if the car owner’s policy doesn’t have high enough coverage limits to cover damages.

Insuring a Rental Car

Call the rental car company and ask whether the vehicle’s car insurance covers you. If not, you can usually buy a temporary rental car insurance policy through the rental company.

See More: Cheap Car Insurance

Getting a Car out of Storage

If you’re hitting the road in a classic car, don’t worry. You don’t need extended coverage for vehicles you only drive on rare occasions. Consider classic car insurance that covers the vehicle’s full value.

Other vehicles you’ve kept in storage, such as cars you’ve been building, can be covered by temporary auto policies, too. It’s easier to do this if the car already has existing comprehensive coverage for things like vandalism and theft. Policyholders can simply call their current provider and ask for more coverage for the day they’re driving.

Driving on Rare Occasions

A usage-based insurance policy may be best if you don’t drive very often. Auto insurance companies that offer this option charge you only for the days you drive the car. If you’re an infrequent driver, you can save a lot of money on your policy. You may have to install a mileage tracker in your car to qualify for this type of discount.

Test-Driving a Car

If you decide to take a car for a spin before buying it, you should be covered. Dealerships have to have full coverage for their whole inventory, so if you’re in an accident during a test-drive, their insurance providers will cover the claims.

See More: Car Insurance Quotes

How to Sign Up for a One-Day Car Insurance Policy

Start by understanding your circumstances. Insuring a rental car is different from getting non-owner coverage so that you can drive your friend’s car.

Next, gather the documentation you’ll need to insure the car. This will include:

  • Your driver’s license

  • Your Social Security number

  • Bank or credit card information

  • Information on the vehicle you’ll be driving

See More: Best and Worst Sites to Compare Car Insurance

How to Get Affordable Short-Term Insurance Rates

Most car insurance policies last for six months or one year. If you need a shorter term, the best option might be a six-month policy. But to start, you probably want to find the best coverage for your situation. Finding cheap insurance premiums from great insurers starts with comparing auto insurance quotes.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • In nearly every state, it’s illegal for motorists to drive without car insurance. You risk having your license, registration, and license plate suspended, getting community service, and even facing possible jail time if you’re caught driving uninsured.

  • You can, but it will result in a coverage lapse that makes it harder to buy car insurance again later. Insurance companies may consider you high-risk, which means they’ll charge you higher rates for an auto insurance policy in the future. Avoid higher insurance costs by choosing a reputable insurer that understands your situation.

  • Many companies offer temporary car insurance policies that allow you to buy one- to six-month car insurance. Some major car insurance companies that provide temporary policies include Allstate, GEICO, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, State Farm, and USAA.

  • There are many options. Consider alternatives like pay-per-mile auto insurance if you don’t drive often or non-owner insurance if you don’t drive your own car.

Compare Car Insurance Quotes Instantly

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  • Data scientists at Insurify analyzed over 40 million auto insurance rates across the United States to compile the car insurance quotes, statistics, and data visualizations displayed on this page. The car insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers' vehicles, driving records, and demographic information. With these insights, Insurify is able to offer drivers insight into how their car insurance premiums are priced by companies.

Jennifer Pendell
Written by
Jennifer Pendell

Insurance Writer

Jennifer Pendell is a personal finance expert. She specializes in breaking down dense subjects to make them easier for consumers to understand, with a particular interest in homeowners, renters, and auto insurance concepts. She studied at the University of Iowa.

Learn More
John Leach
Edited by
John Leach

Insurance Content Editor at Insurify

Photo of an Insurify author
Edited by
John Leach
Insurance Content Editor at Insurify
John Leach is an insurance content editor who has worked in print and online. He has years of experience in car and home insurance and strives to make these topics easy to understand for everyone. He has a linguistics degree from UC Santa Barbara.
Amber Benka
Reviewed by
Amber Benka

Licensed Insurance Agent

Icon of a woman
Reviewed by
Amber Benka
Licensed Insurance Agent
Amber Benka is a licensed insurance agent specializing in auto, home, commercial, life, and health insurance.