Temporary Car Insurance

Temporary Car Insurance: Benefits, Types, Cost, Coverage, Pros and Cons

Temporary car insurance, also known as short-term car insurance, is a special type of car insurance policy designed to provide coverage for a limited period of time – from 1 day up to a few months.

As the name suggests, temporary car insurance provides temporary insurance protection for your car when you only need coverage for a specific timeframe instead of a full year. Some common situations where temporary car insurance is useful include:

  • If you are borrowing or test driving a car. Temporary coverage protects you if an accident occurs.
  • If you have a gap between selling your old car and buying a new one. Temporary insurance bridges the insurance gap.
  • If you only drive occasionally, like someone who seasons their car for winter. Short term insurance may cost less than a full year.
  • If you have foreign guests visiting who need to drive your car. Many regular policies don’t cover guest drivers.

The level of protection with temporary car insurance is generally the same as an annual policy. It covers your liability for damage to other vehicles and medical bills for injuries to other drivers and passengers if an accident is your fault. Some temporary policies also include collision coverage for your own vehicle damages.

This article explores the costs, various coverages, pros and cons, eligibility requirements, and alternatives to traditional temporary insurance. You’ll learn exactly how short term car insurance works, what situations it is well suited for, typical rates compared to annual policies, and how to determine if it makes financial sense for your situation. Whether needing to bridge an insurance coverage gap for a few days while registering a new car or cutting costs insuring a seasonal vehicle, see how temporary car insurance can provide practical affordable protection when you don’t necessarily need a year-long policy.

Different Types of Temporary Car Insurance

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There are a few different types and levels of temporary car insurance policies:

  • Daily Car Insurance: As the name suggests, daily policies provide coverage by the day, typically for just a few days up to 30 days. This works for very short gaps.
  • Monthly Car Insurance: Monthly car insurance provides coverage for up to 12 months, with flexibility to cancel early. This bridges longer gaps of several months.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: This offers full coverage including liability, collision, comprehensive, medical payments and uninsured motorist coverage. It provides protection similar to an annual policy.
  • Liability Only Coverage: The most basic and affordable type, liability only insurance covers damage and injuries you cause to others. It does not cover any vehicle repairs for your own car.

When Temporary Car Insurance is Needed?

Buying New Car
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There are many situations where relying on temporary car insurance coverage makes good financial sense or provides practical protection, such as:

  • Buying and Registering a New Car: There can be a gap between buying a new car and registering and insuring it long term. Short term coverage protects the car immediately.
  • Borrowing Someone Else’s Car: Borrowing a friend or family member’s vehicle even for one day requires your own insurance. Temporary insurance fills this gap.
  • Lending Your Car to Friends/Relatives: Protect your vehicle if you lend your car out by purchasing a temporary policy in your guests’ names during the loan period.
  • Existing Insurance Lapsed: If you have an administrative lapse in your long term policy, short term insurance keeps you legal and covered.
  • Seasonal Vehicles: For cars parked part-time seasonal drivers can save with tailored short term policies during the months they actively drive.

What Does Short-Term Car Insurance Cover?

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Temporary car insurance provides liability coverage, protecting you financially in case an accident is your fault. It covers:

  • Bodily injury liability: Pays legal costs and medical bills for injuries to other involved drivers and their passengers
  • Property damage liability: Covers repairs or replacement cost for damage to another vehicle or property like buildings, telephone poles, fences etc. caused by your vehicle in an at-fault accident
  • Uninsured motorist coverage: Protects you from hit-and-run accidents or uninsured drivers.

Additional common coverages with comprehensive temporary car insurance include:

  • Collision coverage: Repairs damage to your own insured vehicle after an accident
  • Comprehensive: Covers other damage to your car from forces beyond collisions like fire, severe weather, vandalism or theft
  • Medical payments: Covers short-term medical and funeral expenses for you and your passengers
  • Rental reimbursement: Provides coverage while your vehicle is inoperable and being repaired after an accident

Pros and Cons of Buying Temporary Car Insurance

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Temporary car insurance has both advantages and disadvantages to consider before obtaining a policy:


  • Lower Cost: The shorter policy period has a lower premium, which can provide big savings compared to a full year policy. This works well for short gaps without sacrificing key coverage.
  • Flexible Policy Dates: You select exact start and end dates tailored to your temporary insurance needs whether it is for a few days or a several months.
  • No Long-Term Commitment: Short term insurance only requires you to pay and commit for the exact days or months you need coverage.
  • Quick Setup and Cancellation: Daily policies can start near instantaneously as you don’t need to wait on paperwork. Cancellation is also fast and simple.


  • Less Comprehensive Coverage: Very short term daily insurance may limit available coverages and payout amounts compared to annual policies. Carefully review policy terms.
  • Varying Availability by State: Daily temporary insurance may not be offered in a few states like North Carolina and short term policies can have different regulations between states.
  • No Established Insurer History: Unlike an annual policy, each new short term insurer may treat you like a brand new driver regarding rates and risk.
  • Average Cost of Temporary Car Insurance

The cost of temporary car insurance coverage depends on factors like policy length, types of coverage selected and personal details including age, driving history and location. Typical ranges include:

  • Daily Car Insurance: $5-$15 per day
  • Weekly Car Insurance: $50-$75 per week
  • Monthly Car Insurance: $100-$250 per month

On average, temporary full coverage car insurance costs around $25-$35 per day, $150-$200 per month or $800-$1,000 for 6 months across most states. Overall, short term policies can offer significant savings, even 40-60% lower premiums than annual coverage for qualifying lower risk drivers primarily needing short gaps filled at lower mileage.

Difference Between Temporary Car Insurance and Short-Term Car Insurance

Temporary car insurance and short-term car insurance policies refer essentially to the same type of insurance product providing coverage for anywhere between 1-12 months. The terms are used interchangeably.

The only technical difference is temporary car insurance may imply even shorter informal arrangements for periods under 30 days. Both short-term and temporary car insurance deliver flexible, affordable insurance tailored to shorter term needs.

How to Get Temporary Car Insurance

how to get Temporary Car Insurance
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Getting short term temporary car insurance coverage is actually straightforward with today’s modern online insurance marketplace for both daily and monthly policies.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for temporary car insurance you must:

  • Have an eligible vehicle like a private passenger car, truck or SUV to insure along with its make, model and VIN
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Have no recent at-fault accidents or traffic violations like DUIs
  • Pass a brief background check

The Application Process

Applying for temporary insurance generally only takes 15-20 minutes online or over the phone. Typically you must:

  • Provide personal information like your name, birthdate, address.
  • Enter details about your driver’s license and driving history
  • Select the exact date ranges needing coverage
  • Choose desired insurance coverages and coverage limits
  • Provide vehicle information, use, ownership details
  • Pay for the policy with a credit card
  • Obtain proof of insurance documents electronically or by mail

Reputable insurers like Progressive and National General provide online quotes and application systems to enable purchasing temporary coverage entirely digitally 24/7.

With a few pieces of essential information, affordable, almost instant temporary car insurance can provide protection for life’s coverage gaps.

Temporary Car Insurance Alternatives

Rental car Insurance
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Beyond designated temporary or short term car insurance policies, some alternatives exist to obtain limited term auto coverage, such as:

  • Adding a Rental Car Policy: Some credit cards include free short term rental car insurance when you pay using the card for the rental booking.
  • Pay-Per-Mile Insurance: Metromile and other usage based programs offer car insurance billed by the exact mile, which can work out cheaper than conventional policies if driving fewer miles temporarily.
  • Rideshare Insurance: Policies like those from Farmers, Statefarm and Allstate provide tailored coverage for Uber and Lyft drivers actively picking up passengers.


Temporary car insurance delivers flexible, affordable coverage perfect for bridging common auto insurance gaps for owning and driving a vehicle short term rather than full year. Choosing short term over annual policies can significantly reduce costs when insurance is only essential for days, weeks or several months at once while still providing comprehensive protection. With easy online quotes and applications, obtaining tailored temporary car insurance takes just minutes before coverage kicks in immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, temporary insurance is recommended when buying a car to cover driving it home before formally registering and insuring it.

Temporary car insurance provides short-term coverage by choosing exact policy start and end dates fitting your timeframe when insurance is needed.

The cheapest temporary car insurance typically comes from minimum liability only policies that strictly cover damages/injuries to others for those needing bare basics.

Reasons temporary car insurance may be unavailable can include having recent accidents, license suspensions, lack of license/car registration or a poor driving history overall.