A Beginner's Guide to Temporary Car Insurance

Posted on May 31, 2019
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If you need to get temporary car insurance, you should know what you're getting into first. It's important to understand what temporary car insurance is and when you might need it. Keep reading for the complete guide to temporary car insurance.

What is Temporary Car Insurance?

You should know that insurers don't sell short-term or temporary car insurance for less than six months. You may notice that there are websites trying to lure you with promises for one, seven or 28 day auto insurance coverage. Be warned that the shortest coverage you will get for a major reputable car insurance company is six months. 

Short term coverage makes sense during certain circumstances, and your insurer and current auto insurance coverage can help you with this. If you don't currently have auto insurance or an insurer, then you want to see if non-owners insurance works for you.

Other examples of when you might need short-term coverage could include if you have to put your car in storage, a different driver is operating your car, or if you buy a new or used vehicle.  

Situations That Might Need Temporary Car Insurance

There are other situations where temporary car insurance makes sense. This includes if you are visiting a country on vacation and are renting a car for your visit. Or if you are using a rideshare service and you need to be insured when you are driving, but you do not own the car you're operating. 

If you are between cars, you might want to get temporary insurance. Or if you are concerned about the liability limitations on the car you're driving, you might get temporary insurance as additional insurance to supplement that. 

If you are renting a car or borrowing a car from a friend or family member for a short amount of time, you might want temporary insurance. If you are driving a rental car on and off for a few months, or you are using a temporary car to avoid high rental fees and you do not have car insurance, you might get temporary insurance. 

Another case could be if you are buying a car for a short time frame and you plan to resell it, you should contact your insurance company. In this case, you may be able to add the new temporary car to your current policy instead of starting a new separate policy. 

When Should You Get Short-Term Auto Insurance?

Here are some of the main circumstances when you'll want to get short term auto insurance separate from your current policy. 

Adding a New Driver Temporarily

A lot of coverages will extend to give permission to people temporarily to drive your car. However, there are other policies that only cover members of your household who are listed. When a relative, friend or someone else wants to drive your car for a short amount of time, it's important that you check with your insurer to make sure they are also covered. 

Usually, in situations where your daughter or son is home from college, you will be covered, especially if they are driving your car for less than a month. If they are not covered, then you might want to get a separate temporary policy. 

Placing a Car in Storage

You might want a temporary policy when if you are planning to put your car in storage for a couple of months. Even if you aren't driving your car, your vehicle can still be at risk for damage or theft. The comprehensive portion of your policy could cover this potential damage or robbery.  

Your state may also need you to maintain insurance on your car which includes your minimum level of liability coverage or else you will need to unregister your car and give up your license plates.

Driving a Temporary Rental Car

Another good way to use temporary auto insurance is when you need to get car insurance for the rental you're driving when your car is in the shop or you're traveling on vacation.

There is some car insurance policies or credit cards even that cover rental insurance. But short term car insurance might end up being more affordable than getting your insurance from the car rental agency.

Short term car insurance can also protect you for as long or short as you need. A lot of credit cards usually offer secondary insurance on collision, they will want you to file a claim first with your car insurance. 

Does Your Personal Car Insurance Cover A Temporary Car?

Your car insurance policy can cover rental cars. If it does you might not need to buy temporary insurance through a rental agency. The coverage for your rental usually reflects the same coverage that you have on your own car. 

This means if you have a $500 deductible and comprehensive coverage, you would have this same coverage and deductible to your rental car. Whatever coverage limits and deductibles you have on your own car would extend to your rental car. 

You will want to check with your car insurance company to confirm that you have the proper coverage before you rent a car. Your car insurance company is your best resource to confirm if you have the right coverage before you rent a car. They also may be able to help you out and offer you the right coverage options for your situation. 

Rental car insurance on your personal car insurance plan would not be able to be extended for business use or business rented vehicles. 

How Does Short-Term Car Insurance Work?

When you get a short term car insurance policy, it will look similar to a traditional car insurance plan. You can choose the amount of coverage that you want which ranges from the minimum insurance requirements from your state to higher limits, which depends on if you have more assets that can be lost.  

A lot of states also require you to have liability coverage which depends on where you live. You can also opt to get collision, personal injury protection, and comprehension or whatever other types of coverage you want.

How to Apply and Get Short-Term Auto Insurance

As mentioned earlier, the shortest term car insurance plan that you can get in the United States is for six months. You will have to buy a policy for half a year, pay that monthly or prepay the amount and then request a refund.

Whatever you decide, you'll want to set up a reminder to cancel your plan when it's time. You also want to make sure that you have your cancellation confirmation number and be sure to note down the date, time and the name of the representative that you spoke with. 

This is key as it is common to have complaints of payments still being processed even though the plan was canceled. Another issue is that the refund might take a while to be processed.

A lot of companies including the largest ones GEICO, Allstate and State Farm do not charge cancellation fees and will be sure to refund any premium that is unearned. If you cancel your coverage on the sixth week, but only paid for four weeks, these companies will send you the balance for the extra two weeks. 

When it comes to traditional policies, you want to check with at least three companies to make sure you're getting the best auto insurance quote. You want to make sure you are comparing the same duration, coverage, and limits.

You will also need to be a licensed motorist with the vehicle identification number of the car you want to cover. You should also be able to answer basic questions about your driving history to obtain your temporary auto insurance. 

Again, but it's worth repeating, watch out for any sites that promise you one, seven or anything less than a month of coverage in America. When you give your personal information to this website that can be risky. Instead, talk to a representative over the phone and see if they offer six-month policies. 

How Much Does Temporary Car Insurance Cost?

The cost of temporary car insurance can totally vary based on the kind of car you are insuring, your personal insurance history, how you will be using, and how long you need your temporary insurance for. 

The cost of your temporary insurance also depends on where you buy your insurance. So if you buy temporary car insurance when you rent a car from a rental agency it will probably cost more than if you found temporary car insurance from an insurance company.

It is worth it to shop around and see what coverage you can get and for how much before you decide. 

Temporary Car Insurance vs. Non-Owner Car Insurance

If you find yourself driving someone else's car around frequently, then you might want to look into no-owner car insurance over temporary insurance.  Traditional car insurance is too much coverage for a car you don't drive every day and you would likely have to watch or maybe extend your temporary car insurance from time to time. 

The only downside is that your non-owner car insurance usually doesn't give you comprehensive coverage. So you would be responsible for any damage from a collision or accident. 

Get The Right Car Insurance Today 

Now that you know the difference between non-owner, traditional and temporary car insurance, find the car insurance that is right for you. Always make sure you shop around. For more insight on car insurance check out our blog.

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