Are you an uninsured driver looking to get short term car insurance so that you can legally drive? Driving without proof of insurance is illegal in most US states, making auto insurance a must for anyone hoping to drive a car.

While many rental car companies offer insurance options to cover short-term drivers, there are limited alternatives for those who already have a car and only require coverage for a given duration. Some members of this group include:

  • Long-term tourists who opt to purchase a car instead of renting

  • Anyone borrowing a car from a friend or family member

  • Individuals who rent cars from other people or small businesses that don’t offer insurance

  • Long-term car renters who want to avoid high insurance fees

  • People who flip cars or purchase them for short periods

If you fall into any of the above categories, or simply are interested in learning how to get temporary car insurance, below is a rundown on your options.

Temporary Car Insurance: The Bottom Line

Most auto insurance policies retain a minimum duration of six months to a year. While this is suitable for most drivers, some individuals only require coverage for a short period of time.

Enter temporary auto insurance. This short-term option is designed specifically for drivers that want to attain coverage, but don’t want to be locked in long-term. In fact, drivers can even get coverage for a period as short as one day.

What’s Covered Under Short Term Auto Insurance and How Much Does It Cost?

Temporary car insurance offers coverage similar to traditional insurance options, including the following damages:

  • Personal liability

  • Collision

  • Comprehensive Coverage

  • Accidents involving uninsured drivers

  • Medical bills

  • Towing and mechanical issues

Of course, each plan will have its own limitations and require a higher premium for enhanced coverage.

For this reason, temporary options vary significantly in price, making it difficult to pinpoint an average. In most cases, temporary insurance premiums will be considerably higher than traditional plans, pound for pound.

Do You Need Temporary Car Insurance?

While temporary cover options can be useful for individuals seeking short-term protection, many people are unwittingly already covered for temporary vehicle usage without their knowledge.

Before investigating a plan, reference the following list to see if you’re already covered:

  • Policyholders that are traveling – If you already have a traditional car insurance policy and are traveling, your current policy might cover you for vehicle rentals or general usage.

  • Home insurance policyholders – Some home insurance policies cover you for temporary car usage. Check with your agent to learn more.

  • Coverage from owner when borrowing – If you are borrowing a car from a friend or family member, it is possible that their insurance policy covers other drivers. Have them check their policy before purchasing your own short-term plan. See our guide on Does Your Car Insurance and Registration Have to Be Under the Same Name for more information.

If you do not fall into one of these three categories, then a short term insurance plan might be right for you. You can access instant quotes and compare rates easily through Online Auto Insurance.

Issues Getting Temporary Coverage

Temporary car insurance cover is available in all 50 states. However, it is more difficult to find affordable policies in certain locations due to enhanced regulations.

For example, the temporary car insurance policy in California can be extremely difficult to obtain, because the state requires each individual driver to be covered even if the car is not in use. This regulation has discouraged insurance companies from underwriting temporary policies because they tend to be riskier and less profitable for providers.

If you cannot get access to temporary coverage in your state, there will likely be some alternative options to acquire short term cover. Additionally, short term car insurance may be more expensive in the long run.

Other Options

There are three main workarounds for individuals who cannot find a suitable temporary policy:

  1. Purchase a non-owner liability policy – If you are borrowing a friend’s car and not the car owner, a non-owner liability policy might be right for you. This option does not cover the cost of damage to the car in the event of an accident but allows non-owners to drive on public roads in most states and is generally cheap.

  2. Rental company – This option is only useful if you are willing to rent a car from the company providing the insurance. Because rental car companies will tack on extra fees for insuring their vehicles, the overall price tag for rental car insurance will be higher than a temporary insurance policy.

  3. Take out a traditional policy and cancel it The best alternative would be to insure your vehicle for a minimum six-month term and then pay the early cancellation fee. You might be able to work with your agent to waive the fee if they are feeling generous.

Finding the Best Rate

To find the best rates on car insurance policies, use Online Auto Insurance for a breakdown of what ideal insurance company is available in your area. A dedicated service representative can give you a call to help walk you through short-term options and even get you a deal on a 6-month term with early cancellation!

Looking for more info on car insurance? Check out some other Online Auto Insurance expert articles:

These will help you get up to speed on all things auto insurance.


Araujo, Mila. Temporary Car Insurance: What are the Options?

Delbridge, Emily. Can I Get Temporary Car Insurance in CA?

Horvath, Sara. Best Temporary Car Insurance.