Everything You Need to Know

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Temporary car insurance is an auto insurance policy that is only valid for a relatively short period, which is typically between two and 28 days. Most such policies are used by those who temporarily have to drive a car that is not theirs, but there are exceptions to this rule.

How Short Can Temporary Car Insurance Be and When Do You Need It?

Most insurance companies don’t actually sell car insurance policies for periods that are shorter than six months. Some of them have special offers for two-week or month-long insurance plans and for even shorter periods, but in most cases, they are simply using them to convince you to buy a long-term policy. Even in situations when you only need an auto insurance policy for a short period of time, you still need to sign for a six-month period.

ValuePenguin says that if you already own a car with a long-term insurance policy, you can ask your current insurer if they can help you by temporarily adjusting your policy to cover another vehicle for a short period of time. Other possible solutions are rental car insurance policies or a nonowner insurance policy.

When Do You Need Temporary Car Insurance?

There are plenty of situations where you can try adjusting your long-term car insurance and get temporary coverage for another vehicle. Some of them are:

  • Short-term coverage for students: If you have a son or daughter who is a student and uses a car on a daily basis, a long-term insurance policy is definitely needed. If, however, they only drive when they visit you during the summer or the holidays, you only need to provide coverage for them on a temporary basis. An obvious solution would be to permanently keep them on your insurance policy, but Policygenius warns that it could raise your premium by $1000 to $2500 every year, so only temporarily adding them back when necessary is a more cost-efficient solution.
  • Adding someone to your policy for a short while: If you occasionally let friends borrow your car, odds are that you don’t need temporary car insurance for them, as your policy likely includes a clause for occasional usage by another driver. However, if someone else is driving your car on a regular basis, you may want to add them to your policy and then remove them when they stop using the vehicle.
  • Getting insurance for rented cars: Per SmarterTravel, getting the insurance policy offered to you by the rental car company may seem like the natural thing to do, but according to Benzinga, you may want to call your own auto insurance company to see if they can offer you a better deal.
  • International auto insurance for holidays and business trips: If you are planning to use a car on a temporary trip to another country, usually the best way to do so is by talking to your auto insurance company and asking them to offer you temporary international coverage. Most major insurance companies in the U.S. offer this solution for trips to Canada, but not to Mexico.
  • When you store a car long term: Even if your car is on the road, it is still at risk to be stolen or damaged. This is why, if you choose to do so, you should also look into providing it with temporary insurance.
  • When you are looking for a new car: If you are on the market for a new vehicle, a short-term car insurance policy can keep you safe from liability until your permanent insurance kicks in.
  • If you feel your current insurance doesn’t have enough coverage: If you are worried that your current car insurance policy won’t fully cover you if needed, you may take up a temporary second policy as extra insurance.
  • If you plan on selling the car after a short while: If you buy a car but plan on reselling it after a short period, you can talk to your auto insurance company as they may be able to add the car to your existing policy.
  • Classic car fans: According to West Coast Shipping, if you own a classic car but only drive it once in a while, you may want to get insurance only for the times when you actually use the car.
  • For emergency situations: If you are in your situation when you need to borrow a car from a non-family member for an emergency trip, you are likely to be eligible for a one-day insurance policy.

    When Should You Get Non-Owner Car Insurance?

    A non-owner car insurance policy is a good choice for those who often drive cars that aren’t theirs. The Balance mentions that it can help you reduce long-term costs, as alternatives such as getting traditional car insurance or rental cost insurance are likely to cost you more. It’s also a good choice if you often drive borrowed cars, but if you frequently borrow the same car from someone that you live with, you may consider asking them to put your name on their policy, as you may not be covered otherwise.

    What Are the Safest Legal Ways of Getting Temporary Car Insurance?

    Consider these ways of getting short-term auto insurance:

    • Get usage-based insurance: This kind of policy may be the best choice for drivers who rarely drive, as The Zebra states that an infrequent driver with no driving incidents could significantly lower their costs with such a policy.
    • Get non-owner car insurance: Non-owner car insurance policies cover you without you needing to own a car.
    • Reduce the coverage level for a college student who only temporarily drives your car.
    • If you are borrowing someone else’s car for a short period of time, their existing policy may cover you, but any incident you cause can significantly increase future rates.

      Being properly insured before getting behind the wheel is a good way to get the peace of mind you feel when you know you’re covered for liability. Even if you only need insurance for a short period of time, you shouldn’t be tempted to skip it, as there are several temporary solutions.

      Sources:

      What is Temporary Car Insurance and Should I Get It?

      Temporary Car Insurance: What Are the Options?

      Short-term & temporary car insurance

      What is temporary car insurance?

      Best Temporary Car Insurance

      The difference between Classics, Vintage & Antique Cars

      10 Things About Renting a Car

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