What is Temporary Car Insurance? 9 Things You Need to Know

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Car insurance is as essential as owning a driving license. In other words, if you have a driver's license, which means you can drive or you own a car, then it’s crucial to have car insurance.

Regulations about auto insurance differ from country to country, state to state, or province. In most cases, it’s compulsory to insure one's vehicle depending on where one lives. Looking at auto insurance benefits, one would agree that drivers should always have car insurance since the benefits outweigh their pay.

However, one can opt for long-term or short-term (temporary) auto insurance depending on one’s situation. In this article, you will learn nine things about temporary car insurance.

9 Things You Need to Know About Temporary Car Insurance

What is Temporary Car Insurance?

Usually, when you purchase a car, new or old, it’s necessary to buy insurance which means you are purchasing liability coverage for the vehicle. It could also mean you are purchasing collision coverage for it.

When you decide to buy the coverage for six months or less, it is termed short-term auto insurance. Most auto insurance agencies usually provide coverage for 6 and 12 months. However, anything less than six months is hard to come by. That doesn’t mean you won't get it; you need to find out how you can get it.

Car insurance agencies do not specify that they offer a temporary auto insurance policy, but they usually allow a six-month policy. To them, that duration is short-term, and that’s what most of them will offer you if you request a short-term policy.

If you need the car for less than six months or even three months, you may go for the six months coverage. As soon as you are done with the coverage for the period you need it, you can cancel the policy to avoid paying beyond that period. That will save you from paying for what you won’t use. Some people use that trick.

Temporary Car Insurance for a Foreigner

Just like every other person in the country, a foreigner is obligated to have car insurance even if you will be staying for a short while. You may be restricted from driving legally on the road without car insurance.

It will do you good if you are covered by insurance whenever you drive in another country since you wouldn't want to find yourself in trouble in a foreign land.

Temporary car insurance for foreign drivers should be purchased from an insurance company in a foreign country. The one you paid for in your home country may not cover you in a strange land. Even if you have active car insurance in your country, you need to get another one in the meantime in the new country. It's better to be safe than sorry whether the car is yours or you rent or borrow it.

How Short can Temporary Insurance Be?

The shortest offer you can get from auto insurance companies is six months. You might have seen adverts saying they offer auto coverage for concise periods as low as a few weeks or even two months. Many of them use that as a marketing strategy to convince you to purchase the six-month or long-term policy.

The truth is that you may need to just sign up for the six months policy since that’s the lowest you can get, even if you don’t need up to that duration. You may cancel the policy when you think you don’t need the coverage anymore.

However, another option is to talk to your personal auto insurance agency if you have one already. Ask them if they can temporarily adjust your policy to add another car for the specific period you may need it. Note that you must be on a long-term policy with the insurance company. If that’s the case, bear in mind that your insurer will likely demand additional money.

Another possible way is the non-owner insurance policy and rental car insurance. You will learn about them later in this article.

When Do You Need Temporary Insurance?

You may find yourself in certain situations that can require you to go for temporary car insurance. Such situations are;

  • If you are a student who occasionally drives your parents' car, temporary car insurance is for you. For instance, you drive only during holidays and not daily; short-term insurance is for you
  • If you borrow someone's car sometimes, maybe your friend or a colleague, you need this policy.
  • If you rent a car often, you should get temporary insurance. It would be best if you didn't rely on the insurance offer from the car rental company. That’s because they may not offer you a great deal.
  • If you want to drive a car for a while in another country, maybe for fun or ease of movement, you will need this insurance.
  • If you plan to buy a car for temporary use before selling it, you need temporary insurance.
  • Temporary insurance is necessary when you own a classic car that you don’t drive regularly.
  • Temporary insurance is essential when you need to borrow a car for emergency reasons.
  • If you plan to work as a delivery driver for a short time, it’s crucial to buy temporary auto insurance.

Ways of Getting Short-Term insurance for Your Vehicle

Here are the routes to obtaining temporary auto insurance;

  • The usage-based auto insurance policy

This can be suitable for anyone that doesn’t drive their vehicle every time. This policy is the same as pay-per-mileage.

  • The non-owner auto insurance policy

This policy is for you even if you don’t own a car. The insurance will always cover you whenever you drive a borrowed or rented vehicle. You can use this policy if you are a foreigner and would be driving for a short period.

  • Ad-on temporary auto insurance policy

Add your temporary insurance on current car insurance. The current insurance could be for you, a family member, or a friend. You can do this for your children if they drive occasionally.

Talk to the insurance company to temporarily add the vehicle to the current insurance.

With these routes, you may not need to pay for a six-month insurance policy that would require canceling along the line to make it shorter. Canceling sometimes may not work out, which means you may pay for months and you won't need the coverage. In short, that’s a waste of money.

Types of Coverage for Temporary Car Insurance

Terms offered by auto insurance companies vary, so you have to check several companies. Compare them in terms of cost, terms or policies, and coverage types.

Usually, short-term coverage should offer liability, towing, collision coverage, medical payments, loss of use, and comprehensive coverage for uninsured and insured motorists.

Cost of Temporary Car Insurance

No one can give a specific price for temporary auto insurance. That’s because some factors influence the cost, such as insurance companies, your age, and location. Hence, you should check out many insurance companies in your state to compare their terms and prices. That way you will get a great deal.

However, if you can opt for an add-on from your auto insurance company, it may be cheaper. Another means of cutting costs is if you can find another person that’s on long-term insurance. This may be possible if the person is a family member or friend. You may ask them to add your vehicle to their policy for a short period.

In addition, you can consider the pay-per-mileage auto insurance option. This option enables you to pay-as-you-go or the mile. If you are a person that doesn’t drive often and would like to save money on car insurance, this option may be the best for you.

Pay-per-mileage auto insurance is not typical temporary insurance, but it can suffice if your situation fits. It's good because you may spend less than long-term insurance.

Cons of Temporary Car Insurance

As good as it sounds, there are downsides to temporary car insurance; they are;

  • You may not be eligible for some coverage options; if you want the insurance to cover you for a short time, like two weeks.
  • Getting temporary insurance for less than six months may be tricky. Temporary car insurance is not easy to come by.
  • Canceling your premium along the line may make you lose your down payment. Some agencies can even demand cancellation fees from you.

What is Non-Owner Car Insurance?

You might have heard this before but don’t know what it means or how it relates to temporary car insurance. The non-owner car insurance is good for someone that borrows or rents a car frequently.

This type of auto insurance can always cover you whenever you drive any car that is not yours. The insurance may cover you for property damage liability and bodily injury liability.

The only major con of this insurance is that it’s considered secondary coverage. Also, it may only take effect if primary auto insurance (Primary auto insurance is the existing long-term car insurance) doesn't cover all the costs. The cost of non-owner auto insurance may be relatively cheap. Hence you may consider it if it suits your need for temporary car insurance.


If long-term insurance is not what you need, there are possible ways to get temporary auto insurance. Just like you consider, what type of car you should buy, it's also important to consider what type of insurance to buy. As you are trying to be smart with temporary car insurance, ensure the insurance company can offer a great deal. It is essential to have great coverage to avoid any problems if something terrible happens.

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