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Temporary Auto Insurance

Things to Remember

  • Although most people have long-term policies, there are some scenarios for which you might need short-term or temporary auto insurance. Some insurers even offer $9-a-week coverage or 30-day auto insurance.
  • Common scenarios that might make temporary insurance more economical for you include being a student or frequent renter, borrower, or lender of a vehicle.
  • You must have auto insurance in almost every state, and heavy fines can be incurred for letting your coverage lapse.
  • Purchasing short-term insurance can help bridge lapses in insurance.
  • Temporary insurance can be acquired from niche companies for any span of time.

When you own a car, the expectation is that you are going to purchase an insurance policy to protect yourself. Do you have to have car insurance in every state? Almost.

But what about short-term car insurance? A cheap auto insurance policy, such as $9-a-week car insurance, can be purchased online without having to talk to an insurance representative.

Whether you need temporary auto insurance for a test drive or a driving test, our guide teaches everything you need to know.

Looking for temporary car insurance quotes? Use our free comparison tool to compare temporary auto insurance quotes from top auto insurance companies today.

Table of Contents

What is temporary auto insurance? 

Temporary auto insurance is an auto insurance policy that covers you for a limited amount of time, usually a minimum of six months.

For situations in which a person frequently rents cars or as a full-time student, temporary car insurance can be a helpful alternative to a standard policy.

Can you get temporary auto insurance?

If your policy doesn’t cover rental cars, you may need to purchase temporary auto insurance. The average rate for rental coverage in the U.S. is $19 a day.

  • If you do not own a car and you’re not sure how to get covered using someone else’s vehicle, temporary auto insurance might be a sensible and affordable way to protect yourself.
  • The most common reason people consider a temporary policy is to be certain a rented vehicle is covered. These are often purchased over the counter at a vehicle rental agency.

Nobody plans on being in a car wreck, getting stuck in a hail storm, or having their vehicle stolen. Auto insurance protects us from suffering from big financial losses if these things do occur. This is true if you own your own car, plan to rent one, or even borrow someone else’s vehicle.

If you do not carry car insurance, whether temporary or standard, you can face severe penalties for driving uninsured.

This table includes state penalties for driving without auto insurance.

Penalties for Driving without Auto Insurance by State
StatesPenalties for
First Offense
Penalties for
Second Offense
AlabamaFine: Up to $500; registration suspension with $200 reinstatement feeFine: Up to $1,000 and/or six-month license suspension; $400 reinstatement fee with four-month registration suspension
AlaskaLicense suspension for 90 daysLicense suspension for one year
ArizonaFine: $500 (or more); license/registration/license plate suspension for three monthsFine: $750 (or more within 36 months); license/registration/license plate suspension for six months
ArkansasFine: $50 to $250; suspended registration/no plates until proof of coverage plus $20 reinstatement fee; court may order impoundmentFine: $250 to $500 fine — minimum fine mandatory; suspended registration/no plates until proof of coverage plus $20 reinstatement fee. Court may order impoundment
CaliforniaFine: $100-$200 plus penalty assessments. Court may order impoundmentFine: $200-$500 within three years plus penalty assessments. Court may order impoundment
ColoradoFine: $500 minimum fine; 4 points against your license; license suspension until you can show proof to the DMV that you are insured. Courts may add up to 40 hours community service$1,000 minimum fine and license suspension for 4 months; 4 points against your license. Courts may add up to 40 hours community service
ConnecticutFine: $100-$1000; suspended registration/license for one month (show proof of insurance) with $175 reinstatement feeFine: $100-$1000; suspended registration/license for six months (show proof of insurance) with $175 reinstatement fee
DelawareFine: $1500 minimum fine; license/privilege suspension for six monthsFine: $3000 minimum fine within three years; license/privilege suspension for six months
FloridaSuspension of license and registration until reinstatement fee is paid and non-cancelable coverage is secured; $150 fee for first reinstatementSuspension of license and registration until reinstatement fee is paid and non-cancelable coverage is secured; $250 fee for second reinstatement
GeorgiaSuspended registration with $25 lapse fee and $60 reinstatement fee. Pay any other registration fees and vehicle ad valorem taxes dueWithin five years: Suspended registration with $25 lapse fee and $60 reinstatement fee. Pay any other registration fees and vehicle ad valorem taxes due
HawaiiFine: $500 fine or community service granted by judge. Either license suspension for three months or a required nonrefundable insurance policy in force for six monthsFine: $1500 minimum fine within five years; either license suspension for one year or a required non-refundable insurance policy in force for six months
IdahoFine: $75; license suspension until financial proof. No reinstatement fee.Fine: $1000 maximum fine within five years and/or no more than six months in jail; license suspension until financial proof. No reinstatement fee.
IllinoisFine: minimum of $500; License plate suspension until $100 reinstatement fee and insurance proofFine: minimum of $1,000; License plate suspension for four months; $100 reinstatement fee and insurance proof
IndianaLicense/registration suspension for 90 days to one yearWithin three years: license/registration suspension for one year
IowaFine: $500 if in accident; Otherwise, fine: $250; community service in lieu of fine. Possible citation/warning if pulled over plus removal of plates and registration possible when pulled over without insurance and reissued upon payment of fine or completed community service, proof of insurance, and $15 fee; possible impoundment when pulled overN/A
KansasFine: $300 to $1000 and/or confinement in jail up to six months; license/registration suspension; reinstatement fee: $100Fine: $800 to $2500 within three years; license/registration suspension; reinstatement fee: $300 if revoked within previous year, otherwise $100
KentuckyFine: $500 to $1000 fine and/or sentenced up to 90 days in jail; license plates and registration revoked for one year or until proof of insurance is shownWithin five years: 180 days in jail and/or $1000 to $2500; license plates and registration revoked for one year or until proof of insurance is shown
LouisianaFine: $500 to $1000; If in car accident, fine plus registration revoked and driving privileges suspended for 180 daysN/A
MaineFine: $100 to $500; suspension of license and registration until proof of insuranceN/A
MarylandLose license plates and vehicle registration privileges; pay uninsured motorist penalty fees for each lapse of insurance — $150 for the first 30 days, $7 for each day thereafter; Pay a restoration fee of up to $25 for a vehicle's registrationN/A
MassachusettsFine: $500 to $5000 fine and/or imprisonment for one year or lessWithin six years: License/driving privileges suspended for one year
MichiganFine: $200 to $500 fine and/or imprisonment for one year or less; license suspension for 30 days or until proof of insurance; $25 service fee to Secretary of StateN/A
MinnesotaFine: $200 to $1000 (or community service) and/or imprisonment for up to 90 days; License and registration revoked for no more than 12 monthsN/A
MississippiFine: $1000; driving privileges suspended for one year or until proof of insuranceN/A
MissouriFour points against driving record; driver may be supervised; suspended until proof of insurance with $20 reinstatement feeFour points against driving record; driver may be supervised; suspended for 90 days with $200 reinstatement fee
MontanaFine: $250 to $500 fine and/or imprisonment for no more than 10 daysFine: $350 and/or imprisonment for no more than 10 days — within 5 years; license and registration revoked until proof of insurance and payment of reinstatement fees within 90 days
NebraskaLicense and registration suspension; reinstatement fee of $50 for each; proof of insurance to remain on file for three years
NevadaFine: $250 to $1,000 depending on length of lapse; registration suspension — until payment of reinstatement fee and, depending on circumstances, an SR-22 (proof of financial responsibility) if lapsed more than 90 days; reinstatement fee: $250Fine: $500 to $1000 depending on length of lapse; registration suspension — until payment of reinstatement fee and, depending on circumstances, SR-22 (proof of financial responsibility) if lapsed more than 90 days; Reinstatement fee: $500
New HampshireNot a mandatory insurance state. Proof of insurance may be required as the result of a conviction, crash involvement, or administrative action. If you are required to file proof of insurance and vehicles are registered in your name, you will be required to file an Owner’s SR-22 Certificate of Insurance.N/A
New JerseyFine: $300 to $1000; license suspension for one year; pay surcharges for three years in the amount of $250 per yearFine: up to $5000; two-year license suspension; 14-day, mandatory jail term, and an additional mandatory 30 days of community service
New MexicoFine: up to $300 and/or imprisoned for 90 days; license suspensionN/A
New YorkFine: up to $1500 if involved in accident plus $750 civil penalty; license and registration suspension – revoked for one year; suspension of license if without
insurance for 90 days; suspension lasts as long as registration suspension; Suspension of registration: equal to time without insurance or pays $8/day up to thirty days for which financial security was not in effect, $10/day from the thirty-first to the sixtieth day $12/day from the sixtieth to the ninetieth day and proof of security is provided. Or for the same time as the vehicle was operated without insurance.
North CarolinaFine: $50; registration suspension until proof of financial responsibility but 30-day suspension if in car accident or knowingly driving without insurance; $50 restoration fee plus license plate feeFine: $100 within three years; registration suspension until proof of financial responsibility but 30-day suspension if in car accident or knowingly driving without insurance; $50 restoration fee plus license plate fee
North DakotaFine: up to $1500 and/or 30 days in prison; 14 points against license plus suspension; Proof of insurance must be provided for one year; license with a
notation requiring that person keep proof of liability insurance on file with the department. The fee for this license is $50, and the fee to remove
this notation is $50.
Fine: up to $1500 and/or 30 days in prison; 14 points against license plus suspension; license plates impounded until proof of insurance (provided for one year) plus $20 reinstatement fee; license with a notation requiring that person keep proof of liability insurance on file with the department. The fee for this license is $50 and the fee to remove this notation is $50.
OhioLicense/plates/registration suspension until requirements are met and $100 reinstatement fee is paid; maintain special high-risk coverage on file with the BMV for three to five years; If involved in accident without insurance: all above penalties and a security suspension for two plus years and an indefinite judgment suspension (until all damages are satisfied)License/plates/registration suspension for one year; $300 reinstatement fee; maintain special high-risk coverage on file with the BMV for three or five years; if involved in accident without insurance: all above penalties and a security suspension for two plus years and an indefinite judgment suspension (until all damages are satisfied)
OklahomaFine: $250; jail time up to 30 days; license suspension with $275 reinstatement fee. Police can seize license plates and assign temporary plates and liability insurance — in effect for 10 days and can also impound the vehicle. The cost of the temporary coverage is added to the administrative fee and any fines paid for plates to be returned. If car impounded, owner must also pay towing and storage fees.N/A
OregonFine: $130-$1000 ($260 is the presumptive fine); If involved in accident — at least a one year license suspension; proof of financial responsibility required for three yearsN/A
PennsylvaniaRegistration suspended for three months (unless lapse was for less than 31 days and vehicle not operated during that time); $88 restoration fee plus proof of insurance required to get it back; $500 civil penalty fee is optional in lieu of registration suspension plus $88 restoration fee — can only use this option once within a 12-month periodN/A
Rhode IslandFine: $100 to $500; license and registration suspension up to three months; reinstatement fee: $30 to $50Fine: $500; license and registration suspension up to six months; reinstatement fee: $30 to $50
South CarolinaFine: $100-$200 or 30-day imprisonment; failure to surrender registration and plates when insurance lapses; license/registration suspended until proof of insurance plus $200 reinstatement feeFine: $200 and/or 30-day imprisonment — within 10 years; license/registration suspended until proof of insurance plus $200 reinstatement fee
South DakotaFine: $100 and/or 30 days imprisonment; license suspension for 30 days to one year; filing proof of insurance (SR-22) with the state for three years from date of conviction. Failure to file proof will result in suspension of vehicle registration, license plates, and driver license.N/A
TennesseePay $25 coverage failure fee within 30 days of notice; if not paid, then an additional $100 coverage failure fee with suspension or revocation of registration plus reinstatement fee of no more than $25N/A
TexasFine: $175 to $350 fine; plus, pay up to a $250 surcharge every year for three years (may be reduced with certain requirements)Fine: $350 to $1000; pay up to a $250 surcharge every year for three years (may be reduced with certain requirements); suspend the driver's license and vehicle registrations of the person unless the person files and maintains evidence of financial responsibility with the department until the second anniversary of the date of the subsequent conviction; Impoundment: for 180 days and
cannot apply for release of car without evidence of financial responsibility and impoundment fee of $15/day.
UtahFine: $400; license suspension until proof of insurance (maintained for three years) and $100 reinstatement feeFine: $1000 — with three years; license suspension until proof of insurance (maintained for three years) and $100 reinstatement fee
VermontFine: up to $500; license suspended until proof of insuranceN/A
VirginiaFine: may pay $500 Uninsured Motorists Vehicle fee to drive without insurance at your own risk. If this fee is not paid in lieu of insurance, all driving and vehicle registration privileges will be suspended until a $500 statutory fee is paid, proof of insurance is filed for three years, and a reinstatement fee (if applicable) is paidN/A
WashingtonFine: Up to $250 or moreN/A
West VirginiaFine: $200 to $5000; license suspended for 30 days with reinstatement fees, unless there's proof of insurance and $200 penalty feeFine: $200-$5000 fine and/or 15 days to one year in jail — within five years; license suspended for 90 days and registration revoked until proof of insurance
WisconsinFine: up to $500N/A
WyomingFine: up to $750 fine and up to six months in jailN/A
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If you do not own a car and are not sure how you are covered if you use somebody else’s vehicle, temporary auto insurance might be a sensible and affordable way to protect yourself.

What do you need to know before buying temporary auto insurance?

Before you spend money on a temporary car insurance policy, there are a few things you should know. With so many options and insurance companies to choose from, choosing the correct plan is a hassle.

Below we’ve provided a few things to keep in mind when deciding which plan to purchase.

What’s the difference between short-term vs long-term auto insurance?

It’s wise to keep in mind that, while temporary auto insurance is a great solution for short-term needs, it is not a long-term plan.

If you find yourself or someone on your policy in one of these situations, you may want to consider changing from short-term car insurance to a permanent policy:

  • Those with a learner’s permit need insurance if they have their own car and need to have it fully covered with all the state minimums for the new car.
  • You start driving your classic car more often than you originally thought you would.
  • Your driving status changes or you add more people or cars to your policy.
  • Younger drivers get older and require more coverage than they previously did.
  • Someone on temporary insurance has a car crash that increases the rates of short-term insurance.

In any of the above cases, consider shopping around for other insurance options to make sure you get the best deal on long-term insurance.

It often helps to compare policies side by side so you can see which options are needed and which are not. You should consider all coverage options when shopping for auto insurance so you can get the most for your money when you switch from temporary to long-term plans.

Last, consider that your standard six-month or annual policy will probably offer more robust discounts than a short-term policy. Here are some we have collected:

Common Auto Insurance Discounts Offered by Insurance Companies
Vehicle DiscountsDriver/Customer DiscountsPersonal Discounts
Active Disabling DeviceClaim FreeEmergency Deployment
Adaptive Cruise ControlContinuous CoverageFamily Legacy
Adaptive HeadlightsDefensive DriverFamily Plan
Anti-lock BrakesDriver's EducationFederal Employee
Audible AlarmDriving Device/AppFurther Education
Automatic BrakingEarly SigningGood Student
Blind Spot WarningFull PaymentHomeowner
Daytime Running LightsGood CreditLife Insurance
Economy VehicleLoyaltyMarried
Electronic Stability ControlMultiple PoliciesMembership/Group
Farm/Ranch VehicleMultiple VehiclesMilitary
Forward Collision WarningNew Customer/New PlanNew Address
Garaging/StoringOccasional OperatorNew Graduate
Green/Hyrbid VehicleOnline ShopperNon-smoker/Non-drinker
Lane Departure WarningOn-time PaymentsOccupation
Newer VehiclePaperless/Auto BillingRecent Retirees
Passive RestraintPaperless DocumentsStable Residence
Utility VehicleRoadside AssistanceStudent Away
Vehicle RecoverySafe DriverStudent or Alumni
VIN EtchingSeat Belt UseVolunteer
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That doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for short-term coverage. In cases of young or students, classic car owners who want to cover their car for a short time, or for anyone who does not currently own their own car, temporary or short-term insurance offers a viable short-term alternative to auto insurance coverage.

But if you own a car that you drive frequently, it’s best to stick to one of the long-term car insurance plans.

Why is short-term coverage necessary?

Many vehicle owners rarely need to purchase short-term auto insurance. They already have their own vehicles insured with permanent auto policies.

Most regular car insurance policies also extend to rental vehicles, but you should always call your insurer to make certain.

For the rare occasions when a typical vehicle owner borrows a car, they may rely upon the coverage for their regular car.

However, there are some occasions when both vehicle owners and non-owners might consider the purchase of short-term coverage.

The most common reason people consider buying a temporary policy is to be certain a rented vehicle is covered, and these are often purchased over the counter at a vehicle rental agency.

However, there are other sources of these temporary policies, and there are other reasons for purchasing them.

When do you need temporary auto insurance?

Some reasons for purchasing short-term coverage might include:

  • Borrowing a Vehicle – This implies borrowing a vehicle from a friend or family member in a non-commercial transaction.
  • Car Sharing – These are different than rentals, and they come from car-sharing websites.
  • Car Rental – These are for vehicles rented from rental car companies.

While short-term coverage can be necessary, oftentimes full coverage fits your needs better. Who has the cheapest full coverage car insurance? There is no easy answer; it depends on many different factors.

Now that you know why you need it, enter your ZIP code into one of our free quote tools to find affordable temporary auto insurance rates near you.

Do you need non-owner car insurance?

If you borrow frequently or expect to borrow for an extended period of time, getting a non-owner policy is prudent. You can buy these policies from most auto insurance companies.

That does not mean the vehicle owner will be pleased if you have an accident and potentially run up their rate or force them to pay deductibles.

In some cases, the owner might even sue you for damages. Also, you do have to rely on the owner’s word that they are properly covered.

Purchasing non-owner car insurance is a good way to make sure you are driving legally, protecting yourself, and preserving your relationship with anybody who is nice enough to lend you a car.

When do you need car rental insurance?

If you rent a lot, there may be better places to purchase temporary coverage than car rental counters.

Before continuing with this discussion, make sure you understand the three basic types of auto coverage.

  • Liability – This covers the other driver if you cause a car wreck.
  • Collision – This covers the car you are driving if you cause the collision.
  • Comprehensive – This covers non-collision damages. Some examples are theft, vandalism, floods, and hail storms.

Most auto insurance companies offer rental insurance, including GEICO, State Farm, and USAA.

If you are wondering, “How much is GEICO car insurance per month?” or even, “How can I make my GEICO car insurance cheaper,” it is best to call your respective insurer as monthly rates depend on a number of different factors.

USAA car insurance, however, is only for military members and their immediate family. 

For a more, in-depth discussion on when you may need car rental insurance, jump below to scenario #6.

Do you already own a covered vehicle?

If you already own a car, you surely have liability insurance because it is almost always required by state law. All 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. require minimum liability insurance.

Typically, this existing coverage extends to rental cars too. Check with your insurer to be sure, but you should be able to satisfy legal requirements with your own liability insurance.

Additionally, if you are fully covered for your own vehicle, both collision and comprehensive insurance should extend to your rental car. If not, some credit card companies extend limited coverage to rental cars.

Always be sure you check out your own credit card’s plan before you rely on it.

Some credit card coverage plans are limited, and they probably do not include liability.

But it might be sufficient, especially if you already have basic coverage.

If you do not own a vehicle, should you get temporary auto insurance?

If you do not have your own coverage, you surely need some sort of coverage. If you do not want to pay up to $15 a day for rental car coverage, and you rent frequently, it might be a good idea to purchase a temporary or non-owner policy from a major auto insurance group.

For frequent renters, these temporary or non-owner policies may be much cheaper than rental car insurance.

Who doesn’t need temporary auto insurance?

If you plan to drive a vehicle for more than just a few days, short-term insurance coverage is not for you. It can be more costly to carry a short-term policy as your normal auto insurance than if you just went ahead and purchased a standard policy.

Some other reasons not to opt for temporary are:

  • You can have gaps in your record if you go with a short-term policy. This can lead to more expensive rates down the line.
  • You may have to wait for coverage. Some companies require a waiting period before certain coverages like collision kick in.
  • You won’t get discounts you may receive with a standard policy. You could wind up losing money if you miss out on discounts like a good student, multi-policy, or multi-car.

If you plan to drive often, you may need to consider a standard policy instead of short-term coverage.

What are the standard auto insurance policy term lengths?

Most of the standard auto insurance providers in the marketplace offer one of two standard policy terms. These include a six-month policy and an annual policy. When you need to get something outside of those two options, things can get tricky.

There might be instances when you don’t want auto insurance coverage for a long period of time. In some cases, you may just need to have auto insurance for two months, a month, a week, two days, or a day. This type of insurance is called temporary or short-term auto insurance.

Of course, there are some downsides to having temporary auto insurance coverage.

The main downside to temporary insurance coverage is each month’s payment is likely to be higher than it would be if you had purchased an annual plan.

The full dollar amount for an annual plan is always going to be bigger than a temporary payment, so you have to decide which is more affordable for you. The shorter the term, the more expensive each payment is going to be.

The shortest auto insurance is insurance for a day. If you need temporary coverage, many prominent insurers offer it alongside their standard policies.

Can you get auto insurance on the weekend? You can, and if you’re shopping on a busy schedule, look for places that sell policies on the weekend.

Where can you find temporary auto coverage?

It’s pretty easy to find temporary insurance coverage on the internet, whether through our comparison tool or simply through your favorite search engine where you might find info from places like Confused and Dayinsure.

We do recommend you use the comparison tool to make sure your rates are good and your coverage options are what you want. This lets you look at quotes from a variety of top insurers at the same time.

Of course, the price isn’t the only important thing about finding a good short-term auto insurance plan. You want to be sure you are adequately protected in the event of a wreck.

Think of buying a short-term policy in the same way you would buy a long-term policy. Think about everything that could happen, then consider your budget and what you are able to afford.

What niche auto insurance companies serve the short-term market?

From an underwriting standpoint, it is very different writing a risk for such a short period of time as three months. When you get coverage for say, a year, the rate you pay is expected to cover the risk you represent to that insurer over that period of time.

When you cut that time down to three months, it takes a unique underwriting talent pool to come up with a competitive rate amount based on the risk that you present.

Niche insurers service the short-term market because they have the expertise to write unique auto insurance policies.

This means they are going to be experienced in writing risks such as yours, pricing them competitively, and also service them. 

Why don’t standard insurers offer temporary auto insurance plans?

Car insurance companies make the most money on people who stay long-term with them. For a lot of standard companies, it just isn’t worth the time and money to go after people who are only going to be with them a matter of days.

How should you choose a temporary coverage auto policy?

Buying a temporary auto insurance policy is not as easy as buying a more permanent one. You need to dot more Is and cross more Ts to be sure you are getting a fair deal.

For instance, you need to ask about the specifics of the temporary coverage and figure out how easy it is to renew or extend your term.

You should also confirm that your temporary coverage includes collision and comprehensive coverage in addition to standard third-party liability.

Check to see how much money your temporary policy covers; some will pay the cost of repairing your vehicle, while others require you to pay a deductible.

Many temporary policies have an age limit that may be as high as 25 years of age. As with any insurance policy, a good driving record, a safe car, and a neighborhood with a low incidence of crime will cut your auto insurance rates.

Now that we’ve been over how you go about finding short-term auto insurance, let’s go over some of the particulars of policy lengths. Read on to find out more.

How do you compare temporary auto insurance when shopping online?

When shopping for temporary vehicle insurance, what should you look for to ensure you are getting the best temporary coverage?

  • Make sure the coverage includes the required state minimums. This is the minimum amount of insurance that someone can carry and be in compliance with. Temporary car insurance can be taken out for a period of 1–28 days.
  • Carry enough collision coverage to guarantee your car will be replaced or repaired in the event of damage.
  • Consider the amount of time you will need temporary insurance and purchase enough to cover the time period, though it’s wise to cover an extra day or so in case you need more time.
  • Look at the different policies and find out which companies cover you under a temporary plan.
  • Check the history of the car insurer or ask an online agent to give you the stats on the corporation. Find out how well the claims pay out for that particular insurer or policy.

When shopping for a policy online, it’s still important to do your research to make sure you’re getting the best coverage for your needs.

Is there more risk of fluctuation in rates with a temporary auto insurance policy?

The risk to you as an insured when you have coverage for such a short period of time is that you face an increased risk of rate fluctuation.

When you have an annual insurance policy and get in a car wreck within a month or two of the policy, the rate you are paying is not going to increase until the policy is renewed the following year.

With a three-month agreement, though, the rate is going to increase right after month three when your policy is up for renewal.

This creates an environment for insurers where they can price their product more competitively in terms of rate and then adjust at renewal more frequently.

Is temporary car insurance covered by home insurance?

Typically, home insurance policies do not cover a temporary car insurance policy. Although standard home insurance coverage has a liability feature, short-term car insurance is not included under that feature.

11 Common Short-Term Scenarios

These scenarios are common enough that we get questions about them regularly. Read on to find out more.

Scenario #1 – How do I add someone to my auto insurance for a week?

A nice gesture like lending your car to a friend or family member for the week can end up affecting your life for months or even years if your loved one gets into a car crash.

Instead of making any hasty assumptions, it’s crucial that you call your insurer to verify the individual is covered for a brief period of time.

If you’re a cautious vehicle owner, you may just want to add the visiting friend or family member to your policy for the duration of their visit.

What many policyholders don’t know is that you don’t always need to add a temporary driver to your policy just for the business to honor your coverage after a claim.

Who needs to be listed on your personal auto insurance policy?

Auto insurance contracts are very wordy. The average person who buys an insurance contract doesn’t read through the entire thing.

The few policyholders who do read through their contracts usually don’t fully understand the industry language that’s used. One of the more complicated topics written into your Personal Auto Policy is about who is covered to drive the vehicle.

You’re required under the terms of the contract to name the adults in your household who have access to your vehicle, but there will be scenarios where a person who doesn’t regularly drive your car or live with you needs to take your vehicle.

Who meets the permissive use provision requirements?

You should call your agent to verify how long you grant permission to someone to take custody of your vehicle. Permissive use only extends coverage from you to someone you’re lending your car to for a short period of time and not an entire term.

A week is considered reasonable, but a month is a bit too long. Most people will be covered as permissive users under the policy when they are taking the car for a reasonable amount of time.

If you’re worried your family member or friend won’t fit the bill, here are some factors that will disqualify an individual from being covered under your insurance as a permissive user:

  • They live in your home.
  • They are under the age of 25 and have little to no driving experience.
  • They have a suspended or revoked license.
  • They have regular access to your vehicle.
  • The policyholder has signed a driver exclusion form on the other person.

If someone is uninsured, they shouldn’t drive your vehicle.

What happens if the person lives in your home and has their own auto insurance?

If you’re going to lend your car to a roommate for a week while their car is in the shop, your coverage will extend to them but not because of the permissive use provision.

Since living in the same home totally disqualifies them from coverage extensions, you might be confused, but as long as they have their own insurance, they won’t affect your rates.

Since the household roommate has their own insurance, you only need to inform the insurer your roommate will be driving but they have their own coverage.

Some temporary auto insurance companies will ask that you provide proof of insurance, but most don’t. When that person is insured elsewhere, they are listed as deferred operators who don’t need to be rated on the car.

Scenario #2 – Can you buy auto insurance for a single day?

The answer, in this case, is not as clear-cut as you may think — it will depend on the car insurance company. The availability of something such as auto insurance for a single day is far more widespread than you may think.

But it’s up to you as a consumer to make this discovery on your own — all it takes is a bit of internet or phone research.

Consumers cannot get what they are not comfortable enough to ask for.

One-day car insurance is available from the vast majority of the big insurance companies out there. Inquire about who offers it, and see what rates they are charging as a result.

Do you have to pay a down-payment?

Be sure to also ask about down payments as some companies offer $20 down payment car insurance or no down payment auto insurance. Some even offer first-month free car insurance.

As mentioned above, the niche insurance companies are going to be able to price policies such as one-day auto insurance lower than the big companies. This is because these niche businesses specialize in short-term coverage.

These temporary car insurance companies have underwriters, rating information, and actuarial support that allows them to accurately price policies, assess risk, and present rates that are going to be highly competitive.

In this way, not only can you get auto insurance for a day in the USA, but you also have the ability to buy the policy on-demand. What if, at the last minute, you need to borrow a car that you need to have insured for only a day?

Some auto insurance companies will allow the policy to be available right when you need it and have it go into effect the minute you need it to be.

Scenario #3 – Can you buy auto insurance for two weeks only?

Let’s say you purchase a two-week temporary policy. How does that work? When you take a look at the plan, you are going to find what is known as effective dates.

The effective dates are going to have a start and an end date. Those dates signify the period at which the coverage available in the policy is going to be applied to you.

If your policy has an effective date of January 1 and an expiration date of January 15, that means you are going to be covered, to the minute, for the period that is between the effective and expiration dates.

A two-week policy is essentially going to give you two weeks of auto insurance coverage — 12:01 a.m. to 12:01 a.m. All the policy limits you are going to have and all of the coverages you are buying will be in effect for the period that the policy is covering.

Scenario #4 – Can you get auto insurance for three months?

Can I get auto insurance for just three months? Policies are available for all different periods of time. You can get car insurance for 3 months, a month, a week, or a year if you need it.

It is all about finding an insurer that is going to be able to service your needs and provide you with the policy you actually want, at a price that is appropriate.

When you need an auto insurance policy that is going to be effective for something other than a six-month or annual policy period, you probably want to think outside of the big players.

You want to get a policy that is exactly what you need in terms of length, with the policy limits you want, at a rate that is reasonable.

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Scenario #5 – How are cars covered with car-sharing sites?

There are a few peer-to-peer (P2P) car-sharing sites now. These allow vehicle owners to lend their cars to other local individuals for a fee. This is different than making a non-commercial car loan because it does involve payment.

Some of this fee goes to the vehicle owner, and some of the fee goes to the car-sharing business that helps mediate borrowing between owners and borrowers.

While typical policies cover loans, they do not cover actual commercial transactions. Many of the larger sharing companies use part of their fee to provide coverage for cars while they are being loaned out.

In fact, this might be a good feature to look for if you intend to borrow a car through one of these P2P sites. Here is data we’ve collected on the major players and the types of coverage included:

Auto Insurance Options for Ride-Sharing Services
CompaniesCostDetailsLiability CoveragePIP and underinsured motorist coverage.DeductiblesDamage Waiver
car2Go$5 join fee. No annual or monthly fees or membership costs. Trip packages by the minute, hour, or day.Insurance, parking, and gas included. At least 18 years of age and have a reasonable amount of driving experience.100/300/50PIP and UM/UIM when required by state.$0 and $1,000
Enterprise CarShareAnnual membership fee and one-time application fee. Hourly and daily rates.21 or older (18 if a student) and have a valid driver’s license.State-required limits or supplemental liability protection (SLP) up to $300K$500Reduced on average for $1.40 hourly fee (location dependent).
Hertz 24/7Free membership. Mileage charge.Must be 21 or over, have held a license for a minimum of one year and had no suspensions in the last five years.State-required limits $750
ZipcarHourly and daily rates.21 or older (18 if a student) and have a valid driver’s license.100/300/25 (21 years old or younger only state-mandated limits)$1000 damage fee$79/year damage fee waiver.
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This may be a good option if you only need a car occasionally.

Scenario #6 – Is short-term insurance necessary when renting?

Before continuing with this discussion, make sure you understand the three basic types of auto coverage:

  • Liability – This covers the other guy if you cause a crash.
  • Collision – This covers the car you are driving if you cause a car wreck.
  • Comprehensive – This covers non-accident damages. Some examples are theft, vandalism, floods, and hail storms.

Now that we have our terminology straight, let’s get down to some important basics.

If You Already Own a Vehicle Covered by Auto Insurance

If you already own a car, you should have liability car insurance because it is almost always required by state law.

Additionally, if you are fully covered for your own vehicle, both collision and comprehensive insurance should extend to a rental car too.

If not, some credit card companies extend limited coverage to rental cars. Always be sure you check out your own credit card’s plan before you rely on it.

When should you buy a non-owner auto insurance policy?

If you do not have your own vehicle — and therefore your own auto insurance policy — you surely need some sort of coverage to get behind the wheel of a car.

If you do not want to pay up to $15 a day for rental car company coverage and you rent frequently, it might be a good idea to purchase a temporary or non-owner policy from a major auto insurance company.

For frequent renters, these temporary or non-owner policies may be much cheaper. If you borrow frequently or expect to borrow for an extended period of time, getting a non-owner policy is prudent. You can buy these policies from most insurers.

This will be a good way to make sure you are driving legally, protecting yourself, and preserving your relationship with anybody who is nice enough to lend you a car.

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When is rental car auto insurance necessary?

Is rental car insurance necessary? If your personal policy or company does not cover the use of a rental car, or if you do not have the appropriate coverage, it may be.

If you are considering rental auto insurance, it is important to properly understand the options being given by the said rental business. So, if you do have coverage, the first step to answer your question rests within the auto insurance policy itself.

When you rent a car, not every adult actually needs to purchase the collision damage waiver by the car rental business.

Some people opt to purchase the insurance when they’re traveling on business or simply want the extra protection in the event of an auto accident.

Getting behind the wheel of a rental car may expose you to additional risk unless you know what’s written in your auto insurance policy.

When You Need to Buy Car Rental Insurance

Perhaps you don’t need to purchase car rental insurance. Before you automatically decide to reject the offer to purchase auto insurance coverage at the car rental desk, talk to your auto insurance agent, and read your auto insurance policy.

Sometimes, you’ve already purchased identical coverage and deductibles offered by the car rental insurance business.

However, if you’ve purchased only a state-mandated insurance policy with low coverage limits, taking a new rental car out on the road without additional coverage could be costly.

If your car is old and you don’t carry comprehensive coverage, buying the car rental insurance in case you have a road crash can save your financial life.

Let’s say you’re on vacation. Does buying rental car insurance make sense then? Possibly. If you’re visiting an unfamiliar location, not knowing the roads and inclinations of other drivers may make a car wreck more probable than when you’re traveling to and from work.

If you’re traveling on business, take a moment to contact your company’s human resources department about your employer’s travel policies.

If you’re renting a car on business, the business you work for probably provides coverage for your rental car.

When should you call your credit card provider when renting a car?

Before you rent a car, you should call your credit card company. Coverage can differ from one credit card company to another, so it’s a great idea to call the business whose card you plan to use to rent the car beforehand.

Credit card owners have the potential to save a lot of money on rental car insurance. Some sports cars, motorhomes, or SUVs may not qualify for coverage.

If you rent an automobile when you’re traveling in another country (such as Mexico), your personal auto insurance policy may decline to cover a wreck.

Understanding Rental Auto Insurance Coverage

Anyone renting a car knows you usually don’t have a lot of time to read the fine print about what you’re buying if you opt to purchase car rental insurance. The car rental agent usually offers:

  • Supplemental liability insurance (SLI) – for additional liability coverage of up to $1 million
  • Collision damage waiver (CDW) – for relief of financial responsibility if your car rental is damaged in an auto accident, or if it’s stolen
  • Personal accident insurance (PAI) – protects you and anyone riding in the rental vehicle in the event of a car wreck that results in medical expenses. Ask whether you need PAI if you already have a travel policy or health insurance in place
  • Personal effects coverage (PEC) – insures against damage to or theft of anything you place in the rental car. Some homeowners policies or riders on the insurance policy protect expensive items against theft or loss

If the rental car agent offers a bundle of coverage, you’ll need to read about the individual coverage limits of what’s offered in the bundle.

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Scenario #7 – Will my auto insurance cover a rental truck?

If you have a current auto insurance policy, a rental truck may be covered under your existing policy. You should ask your agent or check the terms of your specific policy before purchasing any additional coverage from the rental truck business.

What you need to pay close attention to is any exclusion for the size and type of a rental truck under your auto insurance policy. Typically, larger trucks that include a trailer may not be covered under your policy.

This could be confusing because many rental cars are generally covered under a typical car insurance policy.

Even if you are not involved in a car crash with your rental truck while moving, it is possible the rental truck could be vandalized or stolen. You should clearly understand what coverage you have to protect you in these scenarios.

You may want to consider purchasing additional insurance from the rental car business in case of the total loss of the vehicle.

Purchasing Auto Insurance Coverage for a Rental Truck

If your insurer does not offer you an option to purchase additional coverage for a rental truck, you can work with the rental truck business directly to purchase the required coverage.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that insurance requirements vary across state lines. In addition, some auto insurance businesses are not licensed to practice in all states, so just because you have temporary auto insurance in Texas or California doesn’t mean it holds up across state lines.

If you are moving out of state, you will want to make sure you have at least the minimum required amount of auto insurance to drive your rental truck out of state.

You can consult with your state department of insurance or state department of motor vehicles to find out what the specific coverage requirements are in the states you are traveling through.

And, as with regular automobile rental insurance, another source of insurance coverage may be through your credit card company.

You can find the number of your credit card company on the back of your credit card. You should ask them about any exclusions for the specific size or type of truck you will be using for your move.

Scenario #8 – Auto Insurance for a Child at College

Many parents wonder if they need to keep their kids on their policy while they are in college. Here are some tips on insuring college students.

If you are also looking to insure your child before they head off to college, start comparison shopping today for the best auto insurance rates.

When Your College Student is Attending School Nearby

As long as your child is living in your home while they are attending a local college or university, you should keep him or her on your auto insurance just like they were when they were in high school.

When Your Child Leaves Your Home & Attends School Far Away

When students are attending school far away from home, there still may be a need for insurance coverage on their vehicle. It all depends on if the student takes a car with them or if they have regular access to other vehicles to commute to school or work.

You should always keep students on your insurance if they are regularly driving at college.

You know you have to insure a car they take with them, but you should also have that barrier of protection if the student will be borrowing or renting cars. It’s better to pay the rate than to face an uninsured loss.

When a College Student Who is Still on Your Policy is Covered

You might be surprised at how many different scenarios there are where your teen might need coverage to drive a car when they are away. You can’t keep an eye on your college student all the time, so you don’t truly know if they will be driving.

As much as you’d like to trust your children, it’s always possible they are doing things they aren’t telling you.

Even though the intention is innocent, if something happens while they are driving a non-owned car, that innocent joyride can turn into a nightmare.

Your teen will be covered if you keep them on your policy if they drive a friend’s car while they are away at school, they have to drive someone else’s car because of an emergency near the campus, or they return home and drive your vehicles or their friends’ vehicles in your local area.

Are there auto insurance discounts for students who go away to college?

A student who is attending school miles and miles away from you without their car isn’t quite the same type of risk as a student who still lives with you. They may still be a risk, but they aren’t exposed to the same level of risk as a student who has regular access to a vehicle and who can come and go as they please.

Most auto insurance companies offer their customers the option to take advantage of a Student Away at College discount when their student is attending full-time school at least 100 miles from their primary residence.

For the student to qualify for the savings, they must be 24 or younger. You may have to provide proof of their attendance at a school far away.

Discount For a Student With Good Grades

Both local and distant students can qualify for Good Student Discounts as long as they earn a 3.0 or higher and they are attending college full-time. These discounts for getting good grades are a great incentive for your student to do well in school and save up to 30 percent off of their rates.

Let your college student stay on your policy for as long as they are dependent on you. When they become independent, they can start to shop for their own policy. Use an online auto insurance quote tool and see what the price difference will be.

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Scenario #9 – Can I cancel my policy early to create my own custom short-term policy?

Some people wonder if they can purchase a standard policy then cancel it to create their own custom short-term policy. We get the question a lot: Can’t I just cancel my insurance policy within 14 days?

If you decide you want to cancel your policy shortly after you apply, here’s what you should know: Auto insurance is a contract that’s legally binding.

If you read through your policy booklet to understand the terms and conditions of the contract, you would find a lot of legalese that’s difficult for the average consumer to understand.

Even so, both parties that enter into the contract must satisfy their duties when an application is submitted. Some of the rules laid out in a policy are dictated by the consumer rights that are set forth by the state.

One of your consumer rights, when you buy your insurance coverage, is that you’ll be able to cancel your policy at your request.

It doesn’t matter how long you have left on the term, you have the right to request a cancellation. However, you should be forthright with your insurance provider. If they find out you’ve withheld information on your application, you could find yourself in trouble.

Bottom line: We don’t recommend this route as a short-term alternative.

Scenario #10 – Do temporary residents need to change their auto insurance?

Auto insurance policies normally allow for coverage when traveling through different states. Unless restrictions have been written into the policy, coverage generally does not become automatically void upon crossing state lines.

The only exception to this would be if the policy maintained a specific clause stating such. Exclusions of this nature are not the norm.

Vacationers do not need to worry about buying a new policy because they are taking part in a road trip. Auto policies, to an extent, present tremendous leeway to those who venture into a new state.

This leeway does not mean, however, there is never a need to modify a particular policy. In fact, under certain conditions, changing your insurance might be necessary for temporary state residents.

And then there are other complexities that may come into play. New Hampshire, for example, does not require anyone to carry auto insurance coverage.

What happens, then, when someone from New Hampshire chooses to spend several months in a state with an insurance coverage requirement?

In certain special scenarios, purchasing temporary car insurance might be necessary.

Relocating to a New State

Since there are 50 states, there are 50 different legal statutes and requirements. In California, out-of-state residents are allowed to permanently register their vehicles in the Golden State. In other states, non-resident registration is not allowed.

The differences between states could impact the type of policy sought. The state of Indiana spells out how someone out of the state for a full year is able to remain a legitimate resident. Falling outside of these exceptions would have an effect on car registration and insurance rules.

Another point to be aware of here is different states maintain different minimum coverage requirements. Not meeting the local state’s minimum requirements can also lead to further hassles and troubles.

A temporary insurance policy might be an option, but acquiring one of these policies may require canceling the original policy on the vehicle and replacing it.

Purchasing, canceling, and repurchasing a temporary policy followed by purchasing another permanent policy might be an odd and costly approach to take. It also could be totally unnecessary considering the other options an insurance provider might present.

Don’t Be Overwhelmed by the Research

Upon realizing there are different rules and requirements in the various states, you might find yourself confused as to how to go about figuring out how to be in compliance. 

Don’t hesitate to visit the state’s Insurance Department website or give them a call. Search for your state in the table below to find contact information.

U.S. State Official Insurance Department Contact Information
StatesWebsitePhone Number
Alabamawww.aldoi.gov(334) 269-3550
Alaskawww.commerce.alaska.gov1-800-INSURAK (in-state outside Anchorage)
(907) 269-7900 (Anchorage office)
(907) 465-2515 (Juneau office)
Arizonahttps://insurance.az.gov(602) 364-2499
(800) 325-2548 (In Arizona but outside the Phoenix area)
Arkansasinsurance.arkansas.gov(800) 282-9134 or (501) 371-2600
Californiawww.insurance.ca.gov(800) 927-4357 (HELP)
(800) 482-4833 (TTY)
Colorado www.colorado.gov/pacific(303) 894-7855 or (800) 886-7675
Connecticutwww.ct.gov/cid(860) 297-3800 or (800) 203-3447
Delawareinsurance.delaware.gov(302) 674-7300
Floridawww.floir.com(850) 413-3140
Georgiawww.oci.ga.gov(404) 656-2070 or (800) 656-2298
Hawaiicca.hawaii.gov/ins(808) 586-2790 or
(808) 586-2799
Idahodoi.idaho.gov(208) 334-4250
Illinoisinsurance.illinois.gov(312) 814-2420 (Chicago office) or
(217) 782-4515 (Springfield office)
Indianawww.in.gov/idoi(800) 622-4461
Iowaiid.iowa.gov(515) 281-5705 or
(877) 955-1212
Kansaswww.ksinsurance.org(785) 296-3071 or
(800) 432-2484
Kentuckyinsurance.ky.gov(800) 595-6053 or
(502) 564-3630
Louisiana www.ldi.la.gov(800) 259-5300
Mainewww.maine.gov/pfr/insurance(207) 624-8475
Marylandhttp://www.mdinsurance.state.md.us(410) 468-2090
Massachusettswww.mass.gov/orgs/division-of-insurance(617) 521-7794 or
(877) 563-4467
Michiganwww.michigan.gov/difs(517) 284-8800 or
(877) 999-6442
Minnesotamn.gov/commerce(651) 539-1500 or
(800) 657-3602
Mississippiwww.mid.ms.gov(601) 359-3569 or
(800) 562-2957
Missouriinsurance.mo.gov(573) 751-4126
Montanahttps://csimt.gov(800) 332-6148 or
(406) 444-2040
Nebraskadoi.nebraska.gov(402) 471-2201
Nevadadoi.nv.gov(888) 872-3234
New Hampshirewww.nh.gov/insurance(603) 271-2261 or
(800) 852-3416
New Jerseywww.state.nj.us/dobi(609) 292-7272 or (800) 446-7467
New Mexicowww.osi.state.nm.us(855) 4ASK-OSI (855-427-5674)
New Yorkwww.dfs.ny.gov(800) 342-3736
North Carolinawww.ncdoi.com(855) 408-1212
North Dakotawww.nd.gov/ndins(701) 328-2440 or
(800) 247-0560
Ohiowww.insurance.ohio.gov(800) 686-1526
Oklahomawww.ok.gov/oid(800) 522-0071 or
(405) 5210-2828
Oregondfr.oregon.gov(888) 877-4894
Pennsylvaniawww.insurance.pa.gov(877) 881-6388
Rhode Islandwww.dbr.state.ri.us/divisions/insurance(401) 462-9520
South Carolinadoi.sc.gov(803) 737-6160
South Dakotadlr.sd.gov/insurance(605) 773-3563
Tennesseewww.tn.gov/commerce(615) 741-2241
Texaswww.tdi.texas.gov(512) 676-6000 or
(800) 578-4677
Utahinsurance.utah.gov(801) 538-3800
Vermontwww.dfr.vermont.gov(802) 828-3301
Virginiawww.scc.virginia.gov/boi(804) 371-9741 or
(800) 552-7945
Washingtonwww.insurance.wa.gov(800) 562-6900
Washington D.C.disb.dc.gov(202) 727-8000
West Virginiawww.wvinsurance.gov(304) 558-3386
Wisconsinoci.wi.gov(608) 266-3585 (Madison) or
(800) 236-8517 (statewide)
Wyomingdoi.wyo.gov(307) 777-7401 or
(800) 438-5768
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You don’t need to be an expert on all the various different rules, laws, and regulations. The insurance company’s customer service division is where all questions end up being answered.

Call the Auto Insurance Company

When in doubt, always call the insurer to clarify the rules and requirements. We’ve put together a list of phone numbers for major providers:

Contact Information for Top U.S. Auto Insurance Companies
ACCC Insurance Company(888) 542‐4222Employers Mutual Casualty Company(800) 447‐2295LM Insurance Corporation(888) 398‐8924
Access Insurance Company(800) 817‐9744Encompass Property and Casualty Company(800) 262‐9262Loya Insurance Company(800) 554‐0595
Acuity, A Mutual Insurance Company(800) 242‐7666Esurance Property and Casualty Insurance Company(800) 378‐7262Mapfre Insurance Company(800) 922‐8276
Allied Property and Casualty Insurance Company(800) 982‐0756Farm Bureau Property & Casualty Insurance Company(866) 399‐3237Mendota Insurance Company(800) 422‐0792
Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company(800) ALLSTATEFarmers Insurance Company of Arizona(888) 327‐6335Mercury Casualty Company(800) 503‐3724
Allstate Insurance Company(800) ALLSTATEFederal Insurance Company(800) 444‐6161Metropolitan Casualty Insurance Company(800) 438‐6388
American Access Casualty Company(888) 663‐5443First American Property & Casualty Insurance Company(888) 922‐5343MGA Insurance Company, Inc.(886) GAINSCO
American Family Insurance Company(800) 692‐6326GEICO(800) 861‐8380Mutual of Enumclaw Insurance Company(800) 366‐5551
American Hallmark Insurance Company of Texas(800) 486‐5616State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company(800) 782-8332National General Insurance Company(877) 468‐3466
American National General Insurance Company(417) 887‐4990Stillwater Insurance Company(800) 849‐6140Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company(800) 982‐0756
American National Property And Casualty Company(417) 887‐4990Teachers Insurance Company(800) 999‐1030Owners Insurance Company(800) 346‐0346
Amica Mutual Insurance Company(800) 652‐6422Travelers Property Casualty Insurance Company(800) 465‐6241Pacific Indemnity Company(800) 444‐6161
Anchor General Insurance Company(800) 542‐6246United Heritage Property & Casualty Company(800) 887‐8862Peak Property and Casualty Insurance Corporation(800) 334‐0090
Arizona Automobile Insurance Company(888) 793‐7888United Insurance Company Inc.(602) 393‐3334Pekin Insurance Company(800) 322‐0160
Assurance America Insurance Company(888) 580‐8134United Services Automobile Association(800) 531‐8722Permanent General Assurance Corporation(844) 328‐0306
Auto‐Owners Insurance Company(800) 346‐0346Vigilant Insurance Company(800) 444‐6161Pharmacists Mutual Insurance Company(800) 247‐5930
Badger Mutual Insurance Company(800) 837‐7833Western General Insurance Company(800) 758‐3311Primero Insurance Company(800) 925‐8185
Bankers Standard Insurance Company(800) 444‐6161Young America Insurance Company(800) 554‐0595Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange(888) 814‐7873
California Casualty General Insurance Company of Oregon(866) 680‐5143General Casualty Company of Wisconsin(800) 362‐5448Progressive Advanced Insurance Company(800) 876‐5581
Central Mutual Insurance Company(800) 736‐7000Great Northern Insurance Company(800) 444‐6161Progressive Preferred Insurance Company(800) 876‐5581
Cincinnati Insurance Company(800) 635‐7521Hartford Casualty Insurance Company(888) 413‐8970Response Insurance Company(800) UNITRIN
Civil Service Employees Insurance Company(800) 282‐6848Horace Mann Insurance Company(800) 999‐1030Safe Auto Insurance Company(800) 723‐3288
Coast National Insurance Company(888) 888‐0080Horace Mann Property & Casualty Insurance Company(800) 999‐1030Safeco Insurance Company of America(877) 672‐1985
Commonwealth Casualty Company(877) 603‐1310IDS Property Casualty Insurance Company(800) 842‐3344Safeway Insurance Company(866) 605‐9501
Country Casualty Insurance Company(866) 268‐6879Infinity Casualty Insurance Company(800) 782‐1020Secura Insurance, A Mutual Company(800) 558‐3405
Country Mutual Insurance Company(866) 268‐6879Infinity Insurance Company(800) 782‐1020Secura Supreme Insurance Company(800) 558‐3405
Country Preferred Insurance Company(866) 268‐6879Infinity Safeguard Insurance Company(800) 782‐1020Sentry Insurance A Mutual Company(800) 334‐0090
CSAA General Insurance Company(800) 207‐3618Infinity Select Insurance Company(800) 782‐1020State Auto Property & Casualty Insurance(800) 444‐9950
Economy Preferred Insurance Company(800) 438‐6388Integon Indemnity Corporation(877) 468‐3466
Electric Insurance Company(800) 227‐2757LM General Insurance Company(888) 413‐8970
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All pertinent facts should be provided starting with telling the customer care representative what state the move is to and how much time will be spent in that particular state.

If the appropriate coverage requires new underwriting, then providing the exact address of the place the car will be located becomes necessary. The car probably will need to be registered in the new state.

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Scenario #11 – Do I need auto insurance to go to Mexico?

If you live just north of the border, Mexico could be just minutes away from your home. No matter how close it may be to you, you still have to comply with unique laws pertaining to driving and insurance when you step foot on Mexican soil.

You can drive in Mexico with your U.S. license and U.S. auto insurance up to a point.

Once you pass that point — the Border Zone — you have to apply for a permit and a policy just to drive throughout the country.

Staying protected in a country like Mexico is crucial. We’ll try to answer the questions you may have about driving through Mexico.

Will your personal auto insurer in the U.S. cover you driving in Mexico?

You could cover your vehicle with the most comprehensive auto insurance policy and still be at risk of suffering an uninsured loss if you assume that you have protection when crossing borders.

A domestic auto insurance policy is meant to protect you while you’re driving your car domestically — not internationally.

With this being said, your policy does still afford you some protection so that you have time to visit a Mexican insurance agency to get specialized coverage. There are major restrictions.

Restrictions Under Your U.S. Auto Insurance Policy

If you buy insurance in California or another state bordering Mexico, your policy probably had a provision written into it that will offer you a limited extension of coverage that protects your car in the event of a car crash.

Since Mexican liability laws are very different from American laws, your U.S. liability coverage won’t extend.

Here are some restrictions:

  • Only some Personal Auto Policies have provisions that protect you when driving into Mexico or Canada.
  • If there is a provision that extends coverage, you are only afforded protection while you’re in the Border Zone.
  • You can only be staying within the Border Zone for a period of 10 days or less for coverage.
  • Many companies will only pay for comprehensive or collision claims within the Border Zone and not liability losses.

Make sure to verify the restrictions of your policy before crossing the border.

What does the insurer mean by the Border Zone?

The term Border Zone is a very broad one. It’s typically the zone in Mexico right by the U.S. border where free trade is allowed. Insurers may cover you beyond the Border Zone, but most of the time the coverage ends as soon as the free trade zone ends.

In Mexico, the border zone is 20 to 30 kilometers from the U.S. border.

Since every auto insurance company and policy form offers a different type of coverage restriction in Mexico, it’s in your best interest to contact your agent and ask for the details in writing.

If you have it all laid out for you in writing, you can protect yourself from claims denials or going too far into the country for too long without buying a different policy.

Make Sure You Have Permission Before Crossing the Border

You don’t just need permission from your insurer to drive over the border if your car is financed, you also need to ask the lender for permission to drive the financed car in Mexico.

You’ll need to get your permission in writing before any insurer will write you insurance in Mexico.

Most borrowers can get permission by making a phone call and explaining the purpose of the trip. If you’re caught driving a financed car into Mexico and you don’t have that written proof, claims could be denied and the car could eventually be impounded.

Should you rent a car to drive into Mexico?

If you’d prefer not to risk it by driving your car over the border where there are questionable practices, you could rent a car. If you’re renting a car at the airport or at a satellite agency in the U.S., make sure you’re allowed to take the car into Mexico first.

Some rentals are only allowed in certain states and some are just for people who are going to travel out of the country.

Choose an agency that specializes in rentals to Mexico to avoid running into some serious contractual and legal issues.

If you do rent a car, your personal insurance isn’t going to extend to the rental like it would if you were in the U.S.

How do you insure a rental car to drive into Mexico?

When you drive in the United States, your existing personal auto insurance does extend to the rental because it’s classified as a temporary substitute auto.

You’re not afforded that luxury if the rental is out of the country. That’s why you need to get special rental car insurance through the Mexican rental agency.

There are a variety of different types of insurance you can purchase on rentals that provide you with a high level of protection. It’s up to you to choose which types of insurance you want to pay a daily rate for and which options you want to reject.

Getting Special Auto Insurance Coverage on Your Personal Vehicle

It’s very easy to buy temporary Mexican insurance on your car for protection. You can either apply for the coverage online or you can get it when you’re crossing the border.

Getting quotes can ensure you get a good rate for protection on your car that doesn’t have all of the restrictions.

You should do your research to master driving in Mexico as a tourist. It’s best to stick to the toll roads and avoid driving at night to avoid nasty conditions on foreign roadways.

If you want to enjoy freedom on the open road in Mexico, be sure to price the cost of Mexican insurance, and then purchase the policy that’s right for you.

How are cars covered with car-sharing sites?

There are a few new peer-to-peer (P2P) car-sharing sites. These allow vehicle owners to lend their cars to local individuals for a fee. This is different than making a non-commercial car loan because it does involve payment.

Some of these fees go to the vehicle owner, and some of the fees go to the car-sharing company that helps mediate borrowing between owners and borrowers.

While typical policies cover loans, they do not cover actual commercial transactions.

Many of the larger sharing companies actually use part of their fee to provide coverage for cars while they are being loaned out. In fact, this might be a good feature to look for if you intend to borrow a car through one of these P2P sites.

What is pay-per-mile auto insurance?

If you just find it hard to pay a high car insurance payment each month when you’re barely driving, there are options for you.

Pay-per-mile is a type of usage-based car insurance that allows you to only pay for the miles you drive. Usually, this telematics car insurance involves installing a device on your vehicle’s OBD port or an app on your smartphone. 

This tracks how many miles you drive and your driving behavior, and it’s excellent for people who live close to their job or just don’t drive very often. 


What does it mean to let your auto insurance lapse?

A car insurance lapse is defined as a gap in coverage where the policy has been terminated and no coverage is afforded. A lapse can either last for a couple of days, a couple of weeks or a couple of months depending on the situation.

The longer the lapse, the more you’re at risk. Read on to learn what you need to know about policy lapses and the consequences you could face if your insurance cancels.

Each state could have different consequences. For example, check out Georgia’s registration suspension definition.

What are the six most common reasons auto insurance policies lapse?

There are many reasons why a policy could lapse. While most of the scenarios are within your control, there are scenarios to consider that are beyond your control, as well.

  • You forget to make your payment before the due date.
  • You sell your car and let your policy cancel.
  • Your car breaks down and you don’t continue your coverage.
  • Your vehicle is totaled and you don’t plan on buying another.
  • Your policy is canceled in the underwriting phase for failure to disclose claims or collisions.
  • Your policy is canceled by the insurer for fraud or a significant change in risk.

You will be responsible for any payments when your policy lapses.

How long do you have to pay your auto insurance bill?

Auto insurance companies often offer their clients several different billing schedules. You may have the option to pay monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually, depending on the company.

If you pay in any type of installment, it’s your duty to make your payment by the due date at 12:01 a.m., or your coverage could be canceled.

Even though your bills have a very specific due date, many companies are nice enough to give their customers a little wiggle room when it comes to submitting payments.

Larger insurance companies offer grace periods like lenders do. If the payment isn’t submitted by the end of the grace period, the policy will lapse at 12:01 a.m. the next morning.

How long is the typical grace period?

There’s not a universal grace period that all insurance companies offer.

If you know you’re going to be late paying your rates, you should check with the insurer beforehand to see if there’s some type of arrangement that can be made.

In most cases, grace periods are only three to 10 days. Generous insurers offer grace periods as long as 30 days.

Grace periods apply for installment payments but not necessarily for renewal payments. An auto insurance renewal is a new period where you’re charged a different rate.

To continue your coverage, you need to make your initial renewal payment. While not all companies require this, it’s best to check before you make assumptions.

What are the penalties for letting your auto insurance lapse?

Driving uninsured is a serious offense in states with mandatory auto insurance laws. If you’re guilty of accidentally or purposefully missing a payment, you could face some serious and costly penalties.

While many of the consequences are monetary in nature, not all of them are. Here are some of the most common penalties assessed:

  • A fine of up to $500
  • A fine of up to $2,000 for multiple offenses
  • Suspension of your registration
  • Suspension of license for up to 90 days
  • Mandatory vehicle impound for 30 days and impound fees
  • Imprisonment of not more than six months
  • Mandatory court appearance and community service

Some of the other consequences you could face could change your life. Such as:

  • You could have an uninsured car wreck and lose your license for up to one year.
  • You could be taken to court to pay for damages sustained in an uninsured loss.
  • Your wages could be garnished or your assets liquidated.
  • Your employer could terminate you for no insurance convictions.
  • Your rates could go up.

If you have an insurance lapse, now’s the time to find coverage, and temporary coverage might be just what you need.

Use an online rate comparison tool to see how much you’ll pay for a new policy and to weigh your options. Choose which auto insurance policy is best for your budget and find your coverage today.

What is personal effects coverage?

In some cases of temporary car insurance, the rental agency will ask if you want personal effects coverage. This essentially covers every personal item of yours not attached to the car in the event of a car claim. 

Discussing this with your insurance agent is the best way to insure you are getting the right coverage for your needs.

How can you be certain you are covered by your insurance policy?

If you already have a covered vehicle, your own local agent or insurer is your best resource. A quick phone call can give you the right answers and peace of mind.

You can also ask about more money saving options, including first-month free auto insurance and auto insurance close to $30 a month.

If you do not have coverage now, you can still call a local agent to find out what you need to protect yourself. In any case, proper temporary auto insurance can save your finances.

You are free to shop around for temporary auto insurance rates to make sure you purchase the right coverage at the right price.

If you’re ready to buy temporary auto insurance, enter your ZIP code to compare short-term auto insurance plans from multiple companies.

Frequently Asked Questions: Temporary Auto Insurance

Hopefully, we covered everything, but just in case, feel free to take a look at some of the commonly asked questions below.

#1 – Does your auto insurance policy cover you when you’re lending your car?

If you’re lending your car to someone who’s not named on your policy, there’s a strong chance your insurance will pay if that person gets into an auto accident.

Your personal auto insurance policy has a special provision written into it that says permissive users are covered like listed drivers if they meet the permissive use classification.

#2 – What if I still don’t know if I need short-term auto insurance?

Ask for advice from an insurance professional when comparing plans or anytime you think you need short-term insurance.

Insurance agents can offer sound advice on how much to get and for how long, as well as options that are the most feasible while on the short-term insurance plan.

#3 – Why do you need to keep a college student away at college on your policy?

Students who are away at college are usually still dependents. When you have a dependent who drives, it always puts you at risk.

If you’re paying for room and board or you’re helping your child pay for college tuition, they are financially dependent on you, and this can work against you if there’s ever a collision.

When parents make the mistake of removing their children too soon, they won’t have any liability protection to pay for claims made by other individuals.

They also won’t be entitled to having the insurance company cover the cost of legal defense.

#4 – What if I live in two different states? Should I buy temporary auto insurance coverage in one or both of them?

There are so many variables in this scenario. For instance:

  • How long will you be staying in each state?
  • Do you have a permanent resident in one or both?
  • Are you driving an insured vehicle you own to the second state?
  • Do you have a vehicle registered in both states?

We highly recommend you consult with an insurance provider who is licensed in both states to find the right coverage for your situation.

Check out our table above with State Insurance Department sites to find out what providers will be licensed for both states in question.

#5 – Can you get auto insurance and pay later?

Some insurers do offer no down payment policies. However, this all depends on the area in which you live and your specific circumstances.


  1. https://dor.georgia.gov/motor-vehicles/insurance/registration-suspension

Auto Insurance FAQ / Auto Insurance Tips

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