If you need temporary insurance for a car you will be driving short term, you’ve got options.
There are different reasons you might be seeking short-term car insurance. Perhaps you will be borrowing a friend’s car, or you bought a car that you are going to resell. Whatever the reason, there are companies that offer short-term insurance to meet your needs.
- 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 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 a rental, borrowed car or even your own car.
Unlike your typical car insurance policy that covers you from six to 12 months at a time, short-term or temporary car insurance is usually for a period of up to 30 days. You specify the exact coverage you’d like and the specific days you’ll need it.
In general, short-term car insurance could cost more than your typical policy. Pricing is based on the make and model of the vehicle and where you’re intending to drive, among other factors.
Do I need temporary car insurance?
The short answer: It depends. To legally drive in all US states, drivers are required to carry at least minimum coverage.
Here are some situations where you might need short-term car insurance:
- You are renting a car for an extended period of time but don’t want to pay the rental company’s higher car insurance fees.
- You are borrowing a friend’s car you intend to use on a regular basis.
- You are purchasing a car that you will resell in just 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 you have a credit card that provides coverage on rental cars.
- If you’re borrowing a friend’s car for temporary, occasional use only, the current policy will likely cover you. If you will be driving the car on a regular basis, you will 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. Short-term car insurance is often pricier than traditional insurance. Instead of opting for a lesser-known insurance company that specializes in temporary car insurance, consider a reputable provider that allows you to cancel coverage at any time. Most insurance companies provide this option. You can sign up for a six-month policy and cancel when you are done driving the car.
Compare temporary car insurance from top providers
Do I need temporary car insurance if I have a home in two different states?
If you’re a snowbird who heads South for the winter, you might be wondering if you need temporary insurance while staying at your vacation home. Depending on whether you drive your car back and forth between states or if you keep a second car at your vacation home, different rules and regulations will apply.
If you will be driving your car to warmer climets, you will need to make sure you current policy meets the minimum requirements of that state. In some cases, you might need to register and insure your car in that state. For example, Florida requires part-time residents (anyone staying 90 days or longer) to do so. For other states like Arizona, you are 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 will need.
If you keep a second car at your vacation home, you will be required to take out a policy on this car in your vacation state. However, you might be able to get a discount from your provider for not using the car for part of the year while it’s parked at your home.
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.
Typically you’re required to get plates and car insurance from the state you’re currently living in. But what should you do if your school is in another state?
If your permanent address is at home, you should get coverage in your home state. Most insurers will let you stay covered under your home address instead of your school address, but you should check with your provider to see if there are any exceptions or unique coverages for college students.
Can I get temporary RV insurance?
For a camper, caravan or RV you only drive part of the year, some providers offer part-time RV insurance. Just 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.
Check with your provider on 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 actually use it.
What if I’m traveling to the US?
The US is a big place. If you plan to see the sights beyond New York City or other metropolitan areas, you’re going to need a car. To legally drive, you may need short-term car insurance. International travelers to the US should check out our guide on car insurance for overseas trips.
How do I buy coverage?
Because so many factors go into determining the final cost of your short-term car insurance, a good rule of thumb is to check rates with at least three providers before making your final decision. You’ll find a few reputable providers that offer temporary coverage, including Geico, Allstate and Progressive.
Look for a short-term car insurance policy that provides:
- Liability coverage
- Collision coverage
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage
- Medical payments coverage for passengers in your vehicle
You may also want to look into the advantages of adding comprehensive car insurance coverage.
Car insurance is required in all 50 states, whether you will be driving temporarily or long term. Specialty companies offer short-term coverage, usually at a higher price. Or you can obtain a conventional policy that allows you to cancel at any time.