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Temporary Car Insurance: Everything You Should Know

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Car insurance policies usually last for six months or one year. If for some reason you don’t need that long of a policy, temporary car insurance is also an option. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to decide if temporary car insurance is the right avenue for you to take.

What Is Temporary Car Insurance?

Temporary car insurance allows you to insure a vehicle and perhaps yourself for a shorter amount of time than a traditional policy. The amount of time temporary car insurance lasts depends on you and your insurance company. Temporary car insurance can last for as little as a day or up to 28 days. Once you reach that 28-day mark, you’ll either have to purchase an extension, switch to a six-month or one-year policy, or simply let it expire.

Similar to standard car insurance plans, temporary car insurance is often offered as liability-only plans that protect other drivers and property owners or full coverage plans that protect you and your vehicle from a broader range of situations.

It’s not as easy to find short-term insurance plans like these as it is your usual longer plans. Part of the reason for that is that the insurance company has to take more of a gamble on a short-term plan than a long-term one. Because of that, you’ll generally find smaller, less nationally recognized companies offering temporary car insurance.

Why Would I Get Temporary Car Insurance?

One of the most common reasons people decide to purchase temporary car insurance is that they’re driving a car that isn’t theirs for a short amount of time. Rather than take out a new policy or add the vehicle to their current insurance plan, you can simply purchase temporary car insurance to cover you while you’re driving a car that’s not yours for less than a month.

Another reason why you might take out a temporary car insurance plan is that you’re trying to bridge the gap between your last insurance plan’s end date and your next plan’s start date. Or you may be lending your vehicle to a friend or relative. Yet another reason is that you may be selling your car and need to cover it with insurance while it’s being test-driven.

It’s these uncommon and unique situations that make temporary car insurance a viable option for some drivers and vehicle owners. The issue is that the nature of these situations makes temporary car insurance less readily available than six- or 12-month plans. If you find yourself in a situation in which temporary car insurance might be beneficial to you, take extra care to avoid predatory rates and companies.

What Can I Do Instead of Getting Temporary Car Insurance?

If you don’t want to go through the trouble of getting temporary car insurance, you have options. One of the easiest options is to ask your current insurance provider to temporarily add the car you’re driving or the driver driving your car to your current insurance coverage. Your provider should be able to tell you if the person or car is covered by your current plan and whether you can tweak your plan to cover them.

If modifying or keeping your current plan isn’t an option — either because your insurer won’t allow it or you don’t have an insurance plan — you can look into insurance designed for rental cars. There are also non-owner insurance policies that you might be able to take advantage of.

Non-owner policies are a good option for people who often rent cars and don’t want to purchase rental insurance from the rental car company. Non-owner’s insurance is also a decent option for drivers who often borrow vehicles. If you’re frequently borrowing from the same person, consider talking to them about adding your name to their insurance to avoid the cost of an extra insurance policy.

You can also simply take a six-month or year-long insurance plan instead of getting temporary car insurance and cancel the plan when you no longer need it. You may have to pay a fee for doing so, but you are also likely going to pay more for temporary insurance than you would long-term insurance for comparable time lengths.

Keep in mind that if you or someone close to you already has a long-term plan, you can often simply add another driver to that plan — even if it’s temporary. If this is your situation, you might have the easiest (and most affordable) time taking this route if you need insurance for just a couple of weeks.

How To Get Temporary Car Insurance

If you’re thinking of purchasing temporary car insurance, there are a few things you should keep in mind before you hand over your money. Though it’s a temporary fix for a short-term situation (it should be), the consequences of choosing a plan from a disreputable company can last longer.

  • The prices for temporary car insurance range from company to company and vary depending on your driver profile, much like standard car insurance. Get multiple quotes from different insurance companies if you can to make sure you’re getting the best price for your situation.
  • Before you decide on a temporary car insurance plan, look into the company that’s offering it. Ensure that the coverage is offered by a trusted company that other customers have used and reviewed positively.
  • The minimum amount of insurance a vehicle should have to be operated legally varies from state to state. Know your state’s requirements before you purchase temporary car insurance to make sure you’re not underinsuring.
  • Look for customer reviews. Though these can be subjective, taking a high-level overview of how content previous customers were with their experience can give you a better idea of which companies are legitimate.

Though temporary car insurance may be a more uncommon solution, it may be the one you need to suit your situation. FIXD is here to fix you up with the help you need — be sure to check out our series on insurance to learn everything you need to know to better protect yourself, your car, and those around you.

FIXD Research Team

At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.

We’re here to help you simplify car care and save, so this post may contain affiliate links to help you do just that. If you click on a link and take action, we may earn a commission. However, the analysis and opinions expressed are our own.

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About the Author

FIXD Research Team

FIXD Research Team

At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.

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