Temporary car insurance & short term policies | finder.com

Temporary car insurance and short-term coverage

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Need a policy for less than six months? You have options.

Maybe you’ll be borrowing a friend’s car. Perhaps you bought your own car that you plan on quickly reselling. Regardless of why you’re looking for short-term car insurance, you can find a temporary policy without paying for a full year of coverage.

Our top pick:

  • Pay by miles driven
  • Low base rates
  • Drive less, pay less

Our top pick: Metromile

Drive less than 30 miles a day? Save on the coverage you need with pay-per-mile insurance from Metromile. Get a low monthly rate then pay just a few cents per mile. Available in AZ, CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA and WA.

  • Rates from $29/month plus pennies per mile
  • Low-mileage drivers could save $611/year
  • All miles over 250 a day are free
  • Easy app and online claims plus 24/7 support

What is short-term car insurance?

Just like it sounds, short-term car insurance temporarily protects you against damage and injury if you’re in an accident in your own car, a rental or one that you’ve borrowed.

Unlike your typical car insurance policy that covers you from six to 12 months at a time, short-term or temporary car insurance is typically good for up to 30 days. You specify the exact coverage you’d like and the specific days you’ll need it.

Short-term car insurance generally costs more than a regular policy. Pricing is based on the make and model of the vehicle, where you’re intending to drive and other factors.

Find the cheapest rates

Compare the best car insurance companies near you.

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Do I need temporary car insurance?

The short answer: It depends. In order to drive legally, you’re required to carry at least the minimum coverage.

Here are some situations where you might need short-term car insurance:

  • You’re renting a car for an extended period of time but don’t want to pay the rental company’s higher car insurance fees.
  • You’re borrowing a friend’s car that you intend to use on a regular basis.
  • You’re buying a car that you’ll resell in a short period of time.

You may be able to avoid picking up temporary car insurance if:

  • You’re renting a car and opt for coverage through the rental company.
  • You’re renting a car and have a credit card that provides coverage on rental cars. Check the fine print of your credit card coverage, as they often offer limited protection.
  • If you’re borrowing a friend’s car for temporary, occasional use, the your friend’s current policy will likely cover you. If you’ll be driving the car on a regular basis, you’ll need to be added to the current policy or obtain temporary insurance.

What are the alternatives to short term insurance?

You can easily find companies that will provide temporary car insurance, but usually at a cost. Instead of opting for a lesser-known insurance company that specializes in temporary car insurance, consider a more flexible car insurance option.

  • Find a pay-as-you-drive car insurance policy. This type of policy allows you to enjoy all the benefits of comprehensive car insurance while only paying for the distance you drive. One drawback is that a “price floor” will typically apply, limiting your savings if you’re only using the car in the short term.
  • Pay premiums monthly. Choose a policy that allows you to pay your premiums monthly and cancel it when you no longer need coverage. To avoid a cancellation fee, take out a policy with one of these providers who don’t charge cancellation fees.
  • Add a driver to an existing policy. If you’re borrowing a relative’s or friend’s car for a temporary period, ask them if they’d consider adding you to their policy as a listed driver. Note that this could significantly increase the cost of coverage.
  • Rent a car. Though it’s an expensive option, you could rent a car and purchase insurance through the rental company.

Compare temporary car insurance from top providers

Name Product Description Roadside assistance New car protection Available states
Drive less than 30 miles a day? Save on the coverage you need with pay-per-mile insurance from Metromile. Get a low monthly rate then pay just a few cents per mile. Available in AZ, CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA and WA.
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
Enjoy having your own dedicated agent to help you get the best discounts and coverage.
Included free
Yes, cars under 2 years old
All 50 states
Root offers simple, affordable insurance that’s ideal for good drivers. Try the Root app for 2 weeks and see how much you could save. Available in 20 states.
Included free

Compare up to 4 providers

Do I need temporary car insurance if I have a home in two different states?

Different rules and regulations apply, but if you’ll be driving between states, make sure your current policy meets the minimum requirements of that state. For example, Florida requires part-time residents — anyone staying 90 days or longer — to register and insure their vehicle in the state.

For other places, like Arizona, you’re required to register and insure your car there for stays of seven months or longer. Check with your vacation state and your current provider to learn what type of coverage you’ll need.

What if I’m at a college that’s not in my home state?

If you’re away from home attending college in another state, you might be wondering which state your car should be registered in.

If your permanent address is at home, you should get coverage there. Most insurers will let you stay covered under your home address instead of your school address, but check with your provider to see if there are any exceptions or unique coverage for college students.

Can I get temporary RV insurance?

For campers, caravans or RVs that you only drive part of the year, some providers offer part-time RV insurance. Tell your provider how many months you use it and what kind of coverage you need, and you’ll be billed only for the months you drive your RV.

Also check with your provider for any special requirements — like how long your RV has to be parked or garaged before this kind of insurance kicks in. You also might need to update your insurance provider if your RV usage changes to make sure you’re covered when you use it.

Bottom line

While car insurance is required in all 50 states, specialty companies offer short-term coverage, usually at a higher price. Compare your car insurance options to find the best one for however long you’ll be on the road.

Find the cheapest rates

Compare the best car insurance companies near you.

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Common questions about short-term car insurance

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    SteveJanuary 17, 2019

    I have a car that is registered in AZ. I dropped my insurance because I am living full time in Baja Ca Mexico which I have Mexican insurance. Can I purchase US auto insurance for one to two weeks to visit the US maybe three times a year?

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaJanuary 23, 2019Staff

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      If you are going to buy a policy that will cover you for a short time, your options might be limited and the premium could be higher than the average.

      Upon checking, I could see that you’re on the right page. Please check our guide as well as the comparison table to help you find the right insurer for you. You can compare based on the availability of roadside assistance, new car protection, and available states. You can then click on the “Go to site” green button to be redirected to your chosen insurer’s website. From there, you can ask more about their short-term insurance policy.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


  2. Default Gravatar
    frankAugust 31, 2017

    I am visiting North America from France for 3 months and I am bringing my car from home. Is temporary insurance available for the period I am in North America and can you advise which brokers would make this coverage available. thanks

    • finder Customer Care
      JingAugust 31, 2017Staff

      Hi Frank,

      Yes definitely. If you are going to be staying in California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, or Washington, we highly recommend MetroMile. MetroMile is a pay-per-mile insurance provider that you can cancel at anytime. If you are going to be residing in a state not listed above, your best bet might be applying for a 6-month policy from a major reputable provider such as Allstate or Esurance.

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