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Temporary Auto Insurance: When You Need Short-term Coverage

Daniel Walker
Licensed Insurance Agent for 15 Years

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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There are times when you don’t want to commit to a long-term insurance contract, and at those times temporary auto insurance coverage will keep your vehicle legal. If you choose to go for a short-term policy, keep in mind that you are going to be charged a higher rate for your coverage.

Find out how much you could pay for temporary auto insurance by entering your zip code now!

The shorter the term of a car insurance policy the higher the risk for the insurer that you will make a claim against the policy. Consider if you truly need this type of coverage and, if so, what you need to know about it.

Why You May Need Temporary Auto Insurance

Below are some situations that may merit short term car coverage:

  • You may want to consider a short-term insurance policy when you are traveling or attending school and you have bought a car to use for just part of the year. For travelers who are visiting for several weeks, it may be less expensive to buy a temporary policy for a car than to rent a vehicle and rely on the coverage bought by the rental agency.
  • Another situation where you may consider temporary insurance is where you are buying a new car and you haven’t taken the time to find permanent coverage. You won’t be able to drive the car off the lot until you can show proof of insurance, and a temporary policy gives you coverage until you can find long-term coverage.
  • A third scenario where temporary coverage may make sense is where you have bought a car that you know you won’t be keeping for a long time. A short-term policy keeps you driving legally until you are ready to dispose of the vehicle.
  • Temporary car insurance also makes sense when someone is visiting you and you will be allowing them to use your car. Rather than lending your car insurance (and your good rating) along with your vehicle, arrange for a temporary policy for your visitor so that any claims are put through the temporary policy instead of your personal one.
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How to Choose a Temporary Auto Insurance Policy

Before you buy a short-term auto insurance policy, ask about different terms that are available. Find out what the procedure is for renewing or extending the term if your needs change. Do ask if the company offers collision and comprehensive coverage, as well as third party liability protection. You may want to purchase coverage that will pay for the cost of repairing your vehicle, too.

You should also find out whether there is an age limit for drivers to take out a temporary policy. This requirement will vary, depending on the insurer involved.

If you have a good driving record, you should be able to get better rates for your temporary coverage. The make and model of the car being insured is also considered by the insurance company’s underwriters when they are determining whether to extend coverage.

Even though you don’t need coverage for a long term, you will want to find a well-established car insurance company that has the financial resources to pay out on any claims that you may need to make.

How to Find Temporary Auto Insurance

The Internet makes looking for insurance coverage a convenient and relatively easy process. You can start your search at any time that is convenient for you. Start by typing “temporary car insurance” or “temporary auto insurance” into a search engine and you can go through the results to find the right company for you. Better yet, use the free car insurance quote tool provided here that will give you quotes from several top insurers at once.

While you do need to be conscious of pricing for your short-term car insurance coverage, don’t focus solely on cost. Even though you don’t need coverage for a long time, you do want to make sure you have adequate protection in case you are involved in an at-fault accident.

If your state has a no-fault car insurance system, you still need to make sure you have adequate third-party liability protection in place in case you are involved in a serious accident. In cases where an accident victim’s injuries meet the threshold set by the state, you can still be sued for medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, and lost wages.

You should take the same level of care to choose the right temporary auto insurance as you would with a long-term policy. Whether you need the coverage for one day or for a full year, you depend on your car insurance company to provide you with protection for covered losses.

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