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

Michigan has more short-term car insurance options than you may expect.

Angela Brown
Written byAngela Brown
Angela Brown
Angela Brown
  • 17+ years in insurance and personal finance writing

  • In-depth knowledge of home and real estate topics

Angela is an insurance and personal finance expert who uses her experience to create content that helps readers understand important and complex topics.

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Chris Schafer
Edited byChris Schafer
Chris Schafer
Chris SchaferSenior Editor
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  • 7+ years in business and financial services content

Chris is a seasoned writer/editor with past experience across myriad industries, including insurance, SAS, finance, Medicare, logistics, marketing/advertising, and many more.

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Updated June 8, 2023 at 12:00 PM PDT

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Short-term insurance policies, or temporary car insurance, provide you coverage for less time than the period of a typical policy. Temporary insurance usually lasts about a month. You’re most likely to use temporary insurance when you’re renting or borrowing a car and aren’t otherwise covered.

Most insurance companies don’t offer temporary insurance policies, and insurance companies aren’t required to provide coverage to drivers who don’t plan to live or drive in the state for a minimum of 30 days. However, despite these limitations, you aren’t without options that could help keep you covered for a short period.

Quick Facts
  • A nonowner insurance policy can be helpful if you’re a rideshare driver who rents your vehicle, you travel regularly, or you borrow someone else’s vehicle.

  • Most insurers will let you cancel a six- or 12-month policy early without penalty, but you should always read your policy to be sure.

  • If you have a student traveling from out of state to attend college in Michigan, contact your insurer to make sure your coverage still works.

Is temporary car insurance available in Michigan?

Most major insurance companies won’t allow consumers to purchase car insurance for less than a six- or 12-month term. When insurance companies underwrite policies for drivers, they’re taking on the risk that the driver could be involved in an accident or otherwise need to file a claim. The premiums the company charges to help cover other drivers’ losses outweigh some of that risk. Temporary policies don’t last long enough to help offset the risk an insurance company would take by writing the policy.

If you need a temporary policy, you do have some options. Each option below outlines different situations where you might need a temporary policy and what you can do.

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Getting nonowner car insurance in Michigan

A nonowner car insurance policy provides liability-only coverage when you rent a car or borrow a car from a friend. When you purchase a nonowner policy, the coverage only applies to vehicles you rent or borrow, and the policy only offers liability protection (coverage for damage to another party’s property or body). Full-coverage policies offer more protection, including personal injury and damages.

Nonowner policies typically last between six months and a year, like a traditional policy. But these policies are typically less expensive than a traditional policy since they have less coverage. You can also cancel a nonowner policy early if you need it for only a short amount of time.

Some everyday situations where you may need to purchase a nonowner policy include:

  • You work for a rideshare service (like Uber or Lyft) and use one of its rental vehicles.

  • You rent vehicles regularly for travel.

  • You borrow a friend’s, family member’s, or roommate’s car regularly.

  • You don’t own a car, but you need to avoid a lapse in coverage (for example, if you have an SR-22).

Canceling your policy early in Michigan

If you want more coverage than a nonowner policy offers, you can pay for a full-coverage policy and cancel it when you no longer need it. Most insurance companies don’t charge a fee for canceling your policy early.

If you want to cancel your policy, you’ll need to call your insurer. If your payments are automatically withdrawn from your bank account, simply canceling the autopay won’t cancel your policy. You may also be able to cancel online or mail a cancellation letter to your insurance company. If you switch to a different company, it can call and cancel your old policy for you.

If you plan to continue driving your vehicle or use a rental, however, you must have insurance coverage that includes personal injury protection, property protection, and residual liability insurance in Michigan.

Important Information

Drivers convicted of driving a vehicle (or letting someone else drive their vehicle) without insurance coverage face a fine of up to $500 and up to one year in jail. In addition, if you’re in an accident and don’t have insurance, you may be sued and held accountable for expenses.[1]

Getting insurance for a rental car in Michigan

If you plan to rent a vehicle and don’t want to purchase a nonowner policy or a standard policy that you can cancel, you may be able to just pay for rental car insurance. You may also be able to add rental coverage to your current auto policy so that your policy covers any rental you drive.

If you want to purchase an insurance policy through the rental company, you can accept the insurance it offers when you pick up the vehicle. Most rental companies ask if you want to pay for the coverage. If you choose to pay for coverage through the company, review the options and select the one that best fits your needs. The price for coverage varies based on the length of your rental and the type of vehicle you choose.

If your existing policy covers a rental, you may be able to save money by declining the additional coverage. In addition, check with the credit card company you use to pay for your rental. Some credit card companies offer rental car insurance.

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

While you won’t be able to purchase a short-term car insurance policy through most major auto insurance companies, the companies below have some of the best rates for shorter-term policies in Michigan.

You can also typically cancel these policies, without any fee, if you no longer need the coverage.

Insurance CompanyAverage Monthly QuoteIQ Score
The Insurify Quality (IQ) Score uses more than 15 criteria to objectively rate insurance companies on a one-to-five scale. The Insurify editorial team researches insurer data to determine the final scores.
Progressive$2534.0
Safeco$2703.7
Bristol West$3872.2
Midvale Home & Auto$5803.2
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.

How Insurify rates car insurance companies

Insurify uses an in-house, proprietary method to rate and review the best car insurance companies. The Insurify Quality Score uses more than 15 crucial criteria, including average premiums, customer satisfaction, discounts, and third-party ratings, 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 Insurify Quality 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 Michigan

If you’re a student or you have a student headed to a college in Michigan, you may need to purchase or modify your auto insurance.

If your student heads to college and no longer intends to use your car, you may still want to keep them on your policy in case they need to borrow or rent a car while away at school. However, if your student will no longer drive your vehicle or any other, you may be able to ask your insurer to remove them from your policy as a driver.

For students who just moved to Michigan for college and intend to drive their car, you should contact your insurance company to determine whether you need to change your policy. Most who have student status in Michigan can maintain coverage from their home state. You should inform your insurance company that your student will be out of state so you can be aware of any coverage differences.

Michigan is a no-fault state. This means that, in most cases, each driver’s insurer will pay for their medical expenses and lost wages through personal injury protection (PIP).

You may also want to increase your coverage on your student driver if you’re concerned they could get in an accident in Michigan and be responsible for the cost of damages.

Temporary car insurance in Michigan FAQs

If you still have questions about getting temporary car insurance in Michigan, you’re not alone. Finding the right auto coverage can feel overwhelming. Here are some quick answers to the most commonly asked questions about temporary car insurance in Michigan.

  • Can you get temporary insurance in Michigan?

    Most insurance companies won’t offer temporary policies. Drivers may opt to secure a nonowner policy, purchase rental insurance through a car rental agency, or pay for a standard policy. Policyholders may also cancel a standard policy early without any fees.

  • Is temporary car insurance legit?

    While some smaller companies claim to offer temporary car insurance, most of these policies don’t provide adequate coverage. Some offers may even be scams. Consider purchasing a six-month policy from a major insurance company for the best protection for both you and your vehicle.

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

    Drivers with an existing insurance policy have up to 30 days after purchasing a vehicle in Michigan to obtain coverage on the new vehicle.

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

    Drivers have up to 31 days following the cancellation of a previous policy to obtain insurance without facing a fine. If you drive while uninsured, you could face a penalty of up to $500 and one year in prison.

Sources

  1. Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services. "What if I am currently uninsured?." Accessed June 6, 2023
Angela Brown
Angela Brown

Angela Brown is a freelance writer with 17 years of professional writing and editing experience.
She specializes in finance, real estate, and insurance content. Angela uses her experience to
create easy-to-understand content that helps consumers understand tough topics better. When
she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her family and planning vacations.

Chris Schafer
Edited byChris SchaferSenior Editor
Chris Schafer
Chris SchaferSenior Editor
  • 15+ years in content creation

  • 7+ years in business and financial services content

Chris is a seasoned writer/editor with past experience across myriad industries, including insurance, SAS, finance, Medicare, logistics, marketing/advertising, and many more.

Featured in

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