Can I Buy Temporary Car Insurance? | Dick Hannah Dealerships | Car Dealerships in Portland and Vancouver

Can I Buy Temporary Car Insurance?

Is it possible to buy temporary car insurance? The short answer is no. Major insurance carriers do not carry insurance policies for less than 6 months or year-long increments. But there are still times in life when traditional car insurance may not make the most sense for you. Whether you are looking for auto coverage for a few days, a few weeks, or months, there are some options that can fit your needs. In this article, we will explore ways that you can still get short-term coverage for you or someone in your family. 

Temporary car insurance does not exist, but there are options available for short-term coverage, such as non-owner insurance, rental car insurance, and permissive driver insurance. These options can be useful for those in transition, selling their car, or traveling out of state. However, it is important to only purchase insurance from reputable sources to ensure proper coverage.  

When would you want a temporary option for auto insurance? 

There are several life circumstances where temporary car insurance may sound appealing. Life happens and you want something that more closely fits your budget and your stage in life. A few examples of why you might seek shorter-term car insurance might include: 

  • You must borrow a car for a limited time because you are away from home. 
  • You are traveling and have a rental car. 
  • You are a student who only has access to a car during the summer months. 
  • You plan to sell your car in a few months. 
  • You only drive your car occasionally during certain times of the year. 

Can I sign up for daily, weekly, or monthly car insurance? 

As stated above, temporary car insurance does not truly exist. There may be companies out there that claim to offer it but consider that a red flag if you come across it. You should only ever purchase insurance from reputable sources. The last thing you want to end up with is spotty coverage in the case of handling issues that may arise out on the road. Some standard insurance will offer to let you pay monthly, but canceling early before your renewal period will usually result in having to pay a cancellation fee. You may also consider pay-per-mile insurance if you want to save some money on a month-to-month basis. 

Woman with car insurance in a cartoon

What is Standard Car Insurance? 

Most standard insurance policies are split into 6-month and 12-month policies. This is the required insurance that you carry by law on any vehicle that you own. There are several components to standard insurance that you should consider when you make your decision. Standard car insurance can be broken down into these distinct categories of coverage: 

  • Liability Insurance: The most basic form of coverage on insurance plans is liability insurance. This is required by law in most states to carry. This form of coverage protects you from paying costs for damage done to others while you drive. This does not cover damage to your own vehicle or injuries to you. 
  • Collision Insurance: This will cover damage to your vehicle in the case of an accident. This is helpful for people who have a car loan to protect them financially if significant damage is done to their car. Unlike liability, this form of insurance is not required by law. 
  • Comprehensive Insurance: This insurance covers damage to your car not caused by an accident. This could be in cases of theft, vandalism, or natural disasters that would not ordinarily be covered by other types of insurance. This insurance is not required by law but is sometimes a requirement of a lender. 
  • Personal Injury Protection: This will cover you for medical bills or lost wages for you or your passengers in the case of an accident. This is required in some states to be considered fully insured. 
  • Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage: This is insurance there to cover you in an accident with someone who does not have insurance. This also applies to cases where someone might have insurance, but that insurance will not pay out enough to fully cover damage or injuries. 

Washington and Oregon require that at the minimum you carry coverage with liability insurance to maintain legal driving status. 

What are my short-term options for insurance when I own a car? 

There are cases in life when you might not be driving your car as often anymore. These could be times where you work from home, are a student who only drives your car in the Summer, or where you want to cut down your costs as much as possible on your rates. Here are two solid options in these cases: 

Standard Car insurance 

For a lot of people, standard car insurance may still provide the best deal even if you do not plan on driving for the length of the policy. This is because insurance companies provide great discounts that other smaller insurance companies may not be able to offer. Many insurance companies offer distant student discounts for students who only drive while home for the Summer. Look at your options and you may be able to get a lower monthly cost. 

Pay-per-Mile Insurance 

This is a newer form of standard car insurance that is a great option for people who do not drive frequently or who drive only a short commute each week. As the name suggests, this insurance will charge an affordable flat base rate plus a small fee for every mile driven that month. This is a good option if driving is not your only mode of transportation or if you drive less than 10,000 miles a year on average. According to the US Highway Administration, drivers in the USA drive about 13,500 a year on average. Companies like Metromile even offer a cap on miles driven per day, so you will not be charged for anything driven beyond that cap. This allows families to still take an occasional road trip or a weekend vacation. 

The average American drives around 13,500 miles per year, or about 37 miles per day. 

– US Federal Highway Administration Data

What about short-term insurance for a car I do not own? 

Sometimes you will find yourself driving a car you do not own or renting one from a company. This is often the main reason you might not want full coverage from a standard insurance plan. Fortunately, there are some great options out there for coverage in these situations. 

Non-owner insurance 

If you do not own a car, but frequently find yourself borrowing one, then non-owner insurance may be the best option for you. This is a “named insurance” policy, which means only the person who is listed on the policy is covered for damages. Only a small number of insurance companies will extend this policy for spouses, so be sure to read your policy carefully. This insurance covers liability while driving non-owned vehicles but may also include other state-required coverage as well. This insurance applies while you drive any vehicle and will cover medical expenses for others, repair damage to other’s property, and/or provides a legal defense in case of a lawsuit from another driver. This insurance does not cover damage to your own vehicle like collision and comprehensive insurance would. Non-owner insurance applies to rental cars so you could use this to save money if you find yourself renting cars often as well. This insurance is not a great option if you find yourself driving often. 

Rental car insurance 

When renting a car, you have many options available to you to make you are covered by insurance while driving. While it’s essential to have adequate rental car insurance coverage, you do not want to overpay for unnecessary coverage. Be sure to understand what is covered and make an informed decision based on your specific needs. 

The most common types of coverage include: 

  • Liability insurance: This type of coverage covers damage that you may cause to other people’s property or injuries that you may cause to other people. This is like liability coverage offered on standard car insurance. 
  • Collision damage waiver (CDW): This will cover the cost of damage to the rental car if you get into an accident or the car is stolen. This is considered an add-on from liability insurance. 
  • Personal accident insurance (PAI): This insurance provides coverage for medical expenses for you and your passengers in case of an accident. 
  • Personal effects coverage: This type of coverage provides protection for your personal belongings in the rental car. 

While they offer you insurance coverage at most rental car companies you may also consider purchasing third-party insurance on your own. These include companies like Allianz, Bonzah, and others that offer rental car insurance with often lower rates than those sold by rental car companies themselves. Do your research and find the best option for your situation. 

Permissive driver 

Under a traditional insurance policy, if a friend or family member gives you permission or consent for you to drive their car then you are also covered by their insurance. This is considered permissive use and like most insurance coverage will vary depending on your insurance type and limits. If you have liability on your insurance policy, which covers another party’s injuries or any property damage, then it always follows the car regardless of the driver. If you are lent a car by a friend, always have them check their policy to see what the limits are for permissive use situations just in case you get into an accident. The more research you do upfront then the more secure you can feel on the road. 

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