What Is Short-Term Car Insurance And Should I Get It?

Short-Term Car Insurance

Short-Term Car Insurance While most drivers opt for a car insurance policy that lasts six months or a year, there are times when you need coverage for a shorter period. In such cases, a short-term car insurance policy can be the ideal solution. These policies typically last anywhere from one day to six months and offer coverage for a range of situations like borrowing a friend’s car, test driving a vehicle, or renting a car. Alternatively, some people may find it more cost-effective to purchase a traditional six-month policy and cancel it early if they only need coverage for a shorter period. However, it’s important to note that early cancellation fees may apply depending on your insurer’s policies. It is always best to discuss your options with your insurance provider to determine the best course of action for your specific situation.

What Is Short-Term Car Insurance?

Short-term car insurance refers to an auto insurance policy that is active for less than the standard six months, often lasting only a month. Drivers usually opt for these policies when they require coverage for a limited duration of 30 days or less. While major car insurance companies generally do not provide short-term coverage, it may be available from smaller companies. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that you purchase a policy from a trustworthy company if you decide that short-term car insurance is suitable for your needs.

Why Would You Buy Short-Term Car Insurance?

Trusted Choice, a group of independent insurance agents, states that car owners may purchase short-term car insurance for the following reasons:

  • You’re in the process of switching longtime coverage from one insurer to another, and you’ve already dropped your previous coverage.
  • You’re temporarily lending your car to a relative, friend or someone else who will be excluded from your regular auto insurance policy. The short-term coverage applies to your vehicle while it’s being driven by a relative, friend or someone else.
  • You’re selling your car and need to cover the vehicle when it’s being driven by potential buyers who won’t be covered by your regular policy.

It is possible to modify your regular car insurance policy to meet your requirements so that you do not need to seek temporary coverage. There are various circumstances in which short-term car insurance coverage may be appropriate, although the alternative approaches we suggest may be more suitable for your needs.

Temporary Coverage for Student Drivers

If your child attends school away from home and doesn’t require a car for long periods, they might only need temporary or short-term car insurance for when they are back. You can explore policies that offer coverage for a week or a month, but there are other potentially more suitable options. For example, you could add your child to your car insurance when they are home, like during summer break, and remove them when they are away at school. Alternatively, you could keep your child on your policy and inquire with your insurer about student car insurance discounts.

Numerous insurance companies provide a “student away” discount for full-time students who attend school a certain distance from home, usually over 100 miles, and do not have a car with them at school. This discount allows your child to remain a covered driver without the need to pay the full premium. It is important to inquire with your car insurance company to explore the available options. Certain insurers, such as Progressive, mandate that college students who occasionally drive their parents’ cars while away at college must stay on their parents’ auto insurance policy.

Someone Temporarily Uses Your Car Insurance

Is your roommate, babysitter, or friend in need of using your car for a day or on a regular basis? The driver might seek a short-term policy to cover driving your car, but there is likely a more convenient way to ensure they are covered. If a friend uses your car infrequently, most car insurance policies provide coverage under your policy as a permissive user, which refers to someone you have given permission to use your car. If the individual resides with you or will be driving your car regularly, you have the option to add them to your policy. In fact, most car insurance companies mandate that any frequent driver of your car be added to your policy. Examples of individuals you may want or need to add to your policy include:

  • Roommates
  • A spouse or significant other
  • A teen driver or college-age student
  • A friend who regularly drives the car
  • A babysitter that uses your car frequently

The price of adding an individual to your policy will fluctuate based on various factors, such as the driver’s age and driving record. Typically, inexperienced drivers and those with a history of accidents and violations will incur higher costs when added.

Temporary Car Insurance for Rental Cars

Prior to renting a vehicle, it’s important to verify whether your car insurance includes coverage for rental cars. In most instances, it will. In such cases, you typically won’t require additional or temporary insurance. However, there may be scenarios where your policy doesn’t provide coverage. Even when it does, the rental car insurance usually mirrors the protection offered by your personal policy.

For example, if your personal policy lacks collision and comprehensive coverage, you may not be safeguarded against rental car damages. Some credit cards also offer rental car protection if you use the card to book and pay for the rental. It’s advisable to check if your credit card includes rental car coverage and understand the specifics of the coverage to assess its suitability for your needs. Additionally, you have the option to purchase rental car insurance from the rental agency. This short-term insurance may consist of liability coverage and a loss damage waiver that protects against rental car damage.

Short-Term International Car Insurance

If you plan to drive internationally, you may need some type of international short-term car insurance. Remember, “international” may also include time spent on the roads outside India. Contact your insurer and see if it partners with a company where you can buy car insurance outside the country. There are companies that specialize in providing insurance to travelers who plan to drive in Asia, Europe or other international countries. However, if you only plan to travel for a relatively short period, the easiest way to get short-term rental car insurance is through a car rental agency.

Placing a Car in Storage

If a car is kept in storage and not driven, it may not need insurance, but depending on state laws, you might have to cancel the registration and return the plates if you drop the insurance. Additionally, the car will not be covered if it gets damaged while in storage. Instead of getting a short-term storage policy, consider adjusting your standard policy with your insurer. For example, with Allstate, if your car is in storage for 30 days or more, you can suspend liability and collision coverage and only have comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage is beneficial for a stored car as it covers damages from specific situations, such as objects falling on the vehicle, fire or smoke damage, or theft, at a lower cost compared to full coverage insurance.

Other Circumstances

There are a host of other situations where you may wonder if you need short-term car insurance. These may include:

  • The day you take your driving test
  • Buying a new car

Ensuring coverage in these situations is generally straightforward. For instance, new drivers undergoing a test are usually covered by either their parent’s policy or the policy of the car owner. When purchasing a new car, the car insurance is typically extended from the existing policy for a brief period. If you do not currently have a policy, it is advisable to buy standard car insurance for the new car rather than opting for temporary or short-term coverage. It is recommended to consult an insurance agent to determine the most suitable policy for your specific circumstances.

How Much Does Short-Term Car Insurance Cost?

Short-term car insurance costs may not be lower than a standard policy despite the shorter coverage period. It is possible to end up paying more per month for short-term insurance, which is considered a specialty policy. The price of short-term coverage varies based on chosen options and the type of policy, similar to traditional auto insurance. Options include liability-only coverage or broader coverage with collision and comprehensive insurance. Typically, a short-term car insurance policy lasts at least 30 days, regardless of how long you actually need the coverage. Pricing for short-term coverage is influenced by factors similar to those affecting standard auto insurance costs.

  • Type of vehicle
  • Intended use of vehicle (personal or business use)
  • Your auto insurance history
  • The vehicle model
  • Location
  • Your driving record
  • Your credit-based insurance score

Why Some Car Insurance Companies Don’t Offer Short-Term Policies

According to experts, the majority of national and regional insurance providers do not provide short-term car insurance. The risk of providing short-term coverage is seen as greater than the potential benefits by insurers. Therefore, major insurance companies focus on offering standard long-term policies lasting six months or more, as it is financially more viable than potentially paying out large claims for customers with very limited policies, such as 30 days.

Other Ways to Get Short-Term Car Insurance

So, what if you aren’t able to buy a 30-day car insurance policy? Alternatives include:

  • Buy non-owner car insurance. If you don’t own a vehicle but need coverage, non-owner car insurance may be an option. This coverage might be a good choice if you frequently rent cars, so you don’t have to buy liability coverage from a rental car company. Or it could fill the insurance void when you’re between vehicles.
  • Cancel a standard car insurance policy. You could buy a standard car insurance policy and cancel it once you no longer need the coverage. In some states insurance companies can charge a fee if you cancel a car insurance policy early, so check whether a cancellation fee could apply before you buy.
  • Take advantage of a mileage-based insurance policy. If you want car insurance but don’t drive often, your best choice might be to buy a pay-per-mile insurance policy. With this type of policy, your rate will depend largely on how much you drive.

Should I Get Short-Term Car Insurance?

It’s up to you to determine if short-term car insurance is the most suitable option for affordable coverage based on your circumstances. If you opt for a short-term policy, ensure it’s from a reputable provider offering adequate coverage. Sometimes, you can obtain temporary auto insurance by adjusting your existing policy. There’s no universal solution for short-term car insurance, so consulting an auto insurance agent for advice is recommended if you’re uncertain about the best choice for your situation.


Short-term car insurance can be a valuable option in certain situations. Whether you need temporary coverage for a rental car, borrowing a friend’s vehicle, or just want flexibility with your own policy, short-term car insurance can provide the coverage you need without the long-term commitment. However, it’s important to weigh the costs and benefits before making a decision. Consider factors such as the duration of coverage needed, cost comparisons with long-term policies, and any specific requirements from rental companies or lenders. By understanding your options and evaluating your needs, you can make an informed decision about whether short-term car insurance is right for you.

Short-Term Car Insurance 2024 Faqs

Does Geico offer temporary car insurance?

No, like other major insurers, Geico does not offer temporary car insurance. Geico does offer six-month policies and you can cancel when you no longer need the policy. Geico doesn’t charge a cancellation fee in most states. Depending on your needs, Geico may be able to offer you other choices. For instance, military members can sign up for a storage protection plan, which allows them to suspend or reduce their coverage if their vehicle is stored for 30 days or more.

Can you get car insurance only for a month?

Yes, companies specializing in short-term car insurance often sell policies lasting as little as one month. However, shop carefully before deciding to pursue this option. Major car insurance companies don’t offer one-month policies—but it may be possible to get coverage through them in other ways. For example, you might purchase a six-month or one-year policy with an insurer and suspend the coverage for long periods when you will not drive.

Can you get one-day car insurance?

No, reputable companies typically will not sell one-day or even one-week car insurance. If you find a company offering this type of coverage, be wary. Even companies that provide short-term car insurance usually offer one month as their shortest policy term. Hugo, an on-demand car insurance company, has three-day coverage as its shortest length.

How do I get car insurance month-to-month?

A good option for month-to-month coverage is to purchase a six-month car insurance policy and cancel it when you no longer need it. For instance, if you don’t need coverage after two or three months, you can cancel your car insurance policy and get a refund for the remaining months if you paid in advance. Just be aware that some insurers might charge a small cancellation fee.

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