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Temporary Car Insurance

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Jeffrey Johnson graduated summa cum laude from the University of Baltimore School of Law and has worked in legal offices and nonprofits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman University and worked in film, education, and publishing. His professional writing has appeared on sites like The Manifest and Vice, and he is the author of a novel ...

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UPDATED: Oct 11, 2021

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Key Takeaways

  • Temporary car insurance generally has higher rates than a longer contract
  • The most common short-term policy is six months to a year
  • Other factors — such as age and make of car — will factor into your temporary policy rate

Temporary car insurance is an option for drivers with special circumstances where a standard policy isn’t necessary. Since most states require every vehicle on the road to be insured, it’s likely your short-term policy will be used as extra safety padding.

Car insurance rates are determined by various factors, including risk, location, type of vehicle you drive, and your age. Drivers may find that short-term car insurance has higher rates than standard policies.

Ready to start comparing temporary car insurance quotes? Enter your ZIP code to speak with agents in your area.

What is temporary car insurance?

Temporary car insurance, or short-term car insurance, is offered to drivers that need coverage for a short amount of time. Many companies don’t offer insurance policies that are shorter than six months.

More commonly, however, it comes as a six-month to a one-year policy with very limited coverage. Examples of this type of auto insurance coverage include rental car insurance, non-owner insurance, and student driver insurance.

Keep reading to learn more about this type of policy and where to find the best temporary car insurance rates.

What is the average cost of short-term car insurance?

Depending on how long you need coverage for, your rates will vary. Most companies offer affordable temporary car insurance policies in six- and 12-month policy options. Six-month policies generally have higher rates than year-long policies.

See the table below to compare rates from national car insurance companies.

Insurance CompanyAverage 6-Month RateAverage Monthly Rate
Esurance$582$97
GEICO$679$113
Progressive$784$131
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Average Temporary Car Insurance Rates by Provider
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Check out the table below to compare the average cost of the different types of insurance. Drivers can purchase liability, collision, comprehensive, and full coverage car insurance — which can also be purchased for limited periods.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates by Coverage Type
Type of Auto Insurance CoverageAverage Annual U.S. Auto Insurance Rates
Collision$299.73
Comprehensive$138.87
Full Coverage$954.99
Liability$516.39
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A temporary car insurance company will likely adjust these base rates to your short-term needs. These adjustments may be higher or lower than the average rate for a standard policy, depending on where you live and what company you choose.

How can I get short-term car insurance?

First, you need to determine if a short-term policy is right for you. If you’re simply looking to cut costs, cheap car insurance options are for just about anyone.

Then, you need to figure out how much coverage you need. If you’re insuring a parked car for six months, collision coverage may be enough for you. However, if you’re insuring a student driver, you may want full coverage.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, depending on where you live could be the difference of hundreds of dollars in car insurance.

For example, the average expenditure for auto insurance is more than $1,500, whereas North Dakota is only $686.

Temporary Car Insurance Options

Drivers may want temporary car insurance for many different reasons, including:

  • To cover a vehicle that is not theirs and that they do not have regular access to; this type of coverage is called non-owner insurance
  • They may need temporary insurance for a rental car. Often, the rental company has its own insurance
  • Student driver insurance may be good if they need to cover a child for a limited period
  • Stored vehicle insurance can also be short-term, especially if they plan to drive it seasonally

As you can see, there are many reasons to get short-term insurance. But to know if it’s right for you, keep reading to learn about the pros and cons of temporary car insurance.

What short-term situations should you adjust your auto insurance for?

The downside when you’re looking to buy temporary car insurance is that you will likely not find the coverage you really need.

If you’re not looking to commit to an insurance company or you have special circumstances that don’t need a full insurance contract, you could end up paying more overall.

Drivers could face higher rates for short-term policies, and they could end up paying more out of pocket if the coverage limit is not adequate. Situations where temporary insurance will be beneficial include:

  • Temporarily adding someone to your car insurance
  • Temporarily using someone else’s car
  • Additional renter’s insurance
  • International car insurance for short periods
  • One-day car insurance or car-sharing insurance
  • Temporary insurance through the car dealership

Keep reading to connect with companies that offer short-term policies.

Temporary Car Insurance: The Bottom Line

Most states have a minimum requirement of continuous car insurance in order to drive legally on the road. If you’ve purchased a short-term policy, it may reflect as a gap in your coverage, which will raise your rates.

Temporary car insurance is suitable for drivers that are already fully covered on the road but may need an extra buffer for specific situations. The only way to determine if a policy is right for you is to speak with an expert.

Use our free tool to speak with agents in your area. Enter your ZIP code to compare affordable temporary car insurance quotes.

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