Temporary Car Insurance in Illinois: What You Need to Know (2024)

A normal car insurance policy in Illinois lasts for six months. Progressive provides the cheapest six-month policies in the state.

Jennifer Brozic
Written byJennifer Brozic
Jennifer Brozic
Jennifer Brozic
  • 18+ years experience in finance writing

  • Background in communications for banks and credit unions

Jennifer is a content marketing writer specializing in the financial services and insurance industries. Her areas of expertise include budgeting, building credit, loans, and more.

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Katie Powers
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Katie PowersAuto and Life Insurance Editor
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 3+ years experience in insurance and personal finance editing

Katie uses her knowledge and expertise as a licensed property and casualty agent in Massachusetts to help readers understand the complexities of insurance shopping.

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Amber Benka
Reviewed byAmber Benka
Amber Benka
Amber BenkaLicensed Insurance Agent

Amber Benka is a licensed insurance agent specializing in auto, home, commercial, life, and health insurance. She has owned the R.A.L Insurance Agency for four years.

Updated May 19, 2023 at 12:00 PM PDT

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A six-month car insurance policy in Illinois costs $128 per month for liability and $195 per month for full-coverage insurance, on average. You may struggle to find temporary coverage for fewer than six months because policies from most reputable insurers typically have terms of either six or 12 months.[1]

Here’s what you need to know about finding shorter-term coverage in Illinois.

Quick Facts
  • Illinois drivers pay less per month on average for car insurance than the national average.

  • Unless you purchase on-demand or pay-per-mile insurance, you’ll have trouble finding a policy shorter than six months from a reputable car insurance company.

  • Comparing quotes from multiple insurers can help you find the cheapest coverage for your needs.

Is temporary car insurance available in Illinois?

Most standard car insurance companies don’t offer policies with less than a six-month term. Regardless of the term length, the cost for standard auto insurers to underwrite and issue the policy stays the same.

“My guess is six months is [how long the insurance company] needs to recover some of their up-front expenses for getting it on the books,” says David Miller, vice president and private client team leader at Plexus Groupe, an Illinois-based commercial insurance brokerage and consulting firm.

One of the only companies that offer reliable temporary car insurance for fewer than six months is Hugo, an online insurance company that specializes in on-demand car insurance. Infrequent drivers in Illinois can choose to turn coverage from Hugo on and off or buy insurance for as little as three days at a time.

You can consider a few other options as well if you need car insurance for fewer than six months.

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Getting nonowner car insurance in Illinois

Nonowner car insurance provides you liability coverage if you drive cars you don’t own. A nonowner policy pays for injuries and vehicle damage you cause to someone else. It doesn’t cover the cost of treating injuries you sustain or repairing damage to the borrowed or rented vehicle you drive.

In some states, you can add optional coverages to your nonowner policy, such as medical payments, personal injury protection, and uninsured motorist coverage.

This type of coverage is typically cheaper than standard auto insurance. But you usually have the same policy term options of six or 12 months. You may want to purchase a nonowner policy if:

  • You drive rentals. Rental car companies provide the minimum amount of liability insurance the state requires when you rent a vehicle. A nonowner policy can offer greater protection and usually costs less than buying coverage from the rental company.

  • You borrow other peoples’ cars. If you have permission to drive a friend’s or family member’s car, their insurance typically covers you if you have an accident. However, a nonowner policy can provide higher coverage limits.

  • You want continuous coverage. If you decide to take a temporary break from driving, a nonowner policy allows you to maintain continuous coverage that costs less than a standard policy.

Canceling your policy early in Illinois

You can cancel an insurance policy before the end of the term for any reason, though you may face a cancellation fee from your insurer. Canceling a policy is relatively simple.

Start by calling your insurance company or agent to let them know you want to cancel your policy. For some companies, you may also need to fill out a cancellation form. You can make the cancellation effective immediately or at a future date. If you prepaid for your policy, you should receive a refund for the unused portion.

If you plan to continue driving after you cancel your policy, you must purchase new coverage that meets Illinois’s minimum insurance requirements.[2] You should buy a new policy before canceling your existing one to avoid a lapse in coverage.

If you drive without insurance — even for a day — you could face severe penalties. If you don’t have coverage, the state will suspend your registration until you provide proof of coverage and pay a $100 fee to reinstate your registration. For subsequent offenses, the suspension will last for four months. You can’t drive your vehicle with a suspended registration.

If you’re caught driving without insurance, you must pay a minimum fine of $500. If you get caught driving while your registration is suspended for driving uninsured, you must pay a minimum fine of $1,000.

Getting car insurance for a rental car in Illinois

Illinois law requires rental car companies to provide at least the minimum amount of liability coverage to anyone who rents a vehicle. However, those limits may not provide adequate protection if you have a serious accident.[3]

If you want additional protection, you have a few options. First, you should check your existing personal auto insurance policy.

“If you have an accident with a rental car, your policy will respond as if [you were driving] your own vehicle when you’re in the United States,” says Miller.

A nonowner insurance policy will cover you, too. If you don’t have auto insurance, check with any of your credit card issuers to learn if your cardholder benefits include rental insurance. Some cards cover you when you drive a rental.

You can also purchase insurance directly from the rental car company that provides more protection for vehicle damage or theft, medical bills, and theft of personal possessions. Even if you have personal auto insurance, you might consider getting coverage from the rental company. If you’re in an accident, the company will handle everything, including filing a claim and getting you a new rental.

“Weigh the cost of the additional coverage and how much of a hassle it’s going to be if you have to file a claim during a trip,” says Miller.

Best car insurance companies for short-term car insurance in Illinois

The best short-term car insurance policy depends on whether you own the car you’ll be driving and how much coverage you need. Compare the average six-month rates for a liability-only policy from Illinois insurance companies below. Progressive offers the lowest rate, at just $82 per month.

Insurance CompanyAverage Monthly QuoteInsurify Quality (IQ) Score
Progressive$824.1
Travelers$884.3
Safeco$913.8
National General$953.5
State Auto$983.8
Midvale Home & Auto$1063.2
Elephant$1103.6
Clearcover$1122.9
Certainly$117N/A
Mercury$1273.6
Foremost$1313.3
Kemper$1362.8
Dairyland$137N/A
Direct Auto$1373.2
Freedom National$140N/A
SafeAuto$1423.0
Nationwide$1664.1
Bristol West$1712.2
The General$1953.4
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.
  • Insurify uses an in-house, proprietary method to rate and review the best car insurance companies. The Insurify Quality (IQ) Score uses more than 15 crucial criteria, including average premiums, customer satisfaction, discounts, third-party ratings, and more, to calculate a final score for a company.

    Criteria are weighted by importance to the consumer — factors such as customer reviews and affordability influence the score more than availability and third-party ratings. With the IQ Score, Insurify is able to provide quantitative ratings for drivers to better compare car insurance companies and make informed decisions to meet their coverage needs.

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Car insurance for students in Illinois

If your child plans to go away to school, you may need (or want) to modify your insurance coverage in certain situations.

Let’s say your child recently moved to Illinois from another state to attend college, and they’ll drive their car while at school. They can typically remain on your insurance policy if your home is still their permanent address. If your child plans to establish residency in Illinois, they must register their vehicle and purchase a separate policy in Illinois.

If your child leaves Illinois for college in a different state and leaves their car at home, you shouldn’t rush to remove them from your car insurance policy.

If your child will drive the car when home for breaks or on weekends, you need to maintain their coverage. Check with your insurance company to see if it offers a discount for students away at school.

Whether your child plans to take a car with them or leave it at home, you should contact your insurance company. A representative can help you decide whether you should update your coverage for your college student.

Temporary car insurance in Illinois FAQs

If you need short-term car insurance, you may need help figuring out where to start. The information below should help you navigate the process of finding temporary car insurance in Illinois.

  • Can you get temporary insurance in Illinois?

    Most reputable car insurance companies only offer policies with six- or 12-month terms, but you have a few options. You can buy a standard or nonowner auto insurance policy and cancel it when you no longer need coverage. You could also purchase coverage from a rental car company if you drive rental vehicles.

  • Is temporary car insurance legit?

    Most major car insurers don’t offer temporary car insurance in Illinois. In general, car insurance companies offer policies for terms of six or 12 months. One exception is Hugo, a relatively new insurance company in Illinois. It offers pay-as-you-go car insurance for terms of as little as three days.

  • Can you drive a car without insurance if you just bought it in Illinois?

    Some car insurance companies have a grace period that covers you if you buy a new car. The grace period only applies if you already have a policy for another vehicle, as it provides the same coverage you have for other cars on the policy. “Your policy is not going to give you more coverage for the new car than what you have for the old car,” Miller says.

    The time you have to add a new car to your existing policy varies by insurer. If you don’t already have insurance, you must buy coverage before you take possession of your vehicle.

  • How long can you be without car insurance in Illinois?

    It’s illegal to drive without auto insurance in Illinois. If you’re caught driving without insurance, the state will suspend your registration, and you’ll have to pay a fine and a reinstatement fee.

Sources

  1. Insurance Information Institute. "What is auto insurance?." Accessed May 16, 2023
  2. Illinois Secretary of State. "Mandatory Vehicle Insurance." Accessed May 16, 2023
  3. Insurance Information Institute. "Rental car insurance." Accessed May 16, 2023
Jennifer Brozic
Jennifer Brozic

Jennifer Brozic is a content marketing writer, specializing in the financial services and insurance industries. She's committed to helping her clients create content that inspires people to take action. Her areas of expertise include insurance, financial planning & budgeting, building credit, loans, credit cards and more. 

Katie Powers
Edited byKatie PowersAuto and Life Insurance Editor
Photo of an Insurify author
Katie PowersAuto and Life Insurance Editor
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 3+ years experience in insurance and personal finance editing

Katie uses her knowledge and expertise as a licensed property and casualty agent in Massachusetts to help readers understand the complexities of insurance shopping.

Featured in

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Amber Benka
Reviewed byAmber BenkaLicensed Insurance Agent
Amber Benka
Amber BenkaLicensed Insurance Agent

Amber Benka is a licensed insurance agent specializing in auto, home, commercial, life, and health insurance. She has owned the R.A.L Insurance Agency for four years.

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