Car Insurance for a Road Trip

There is no specific car insurance for road trips, but you can buy temporary coverage. Comprehensive car insurance has average rates of $11.57/mo in the US.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Sep 13, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Because you will most likely be traveling out-of-state on your road trip, it’s a good idea to purchase additional coverage
  • You can speak to your current insurance agent to decide exactly how much coverage is right for the trip you’re planning
  • Purchasing short-term coverage is always an option, but that coverage normally covers only the person whose name is on the policy

Although insurance providers do not technically sell insurance policies for road trips, you can purchase a comprehensive car insurance policy for any vehicle. This coverage includes:

  • car rentals
  • vehicles that you own
  • cars that you will just be driving during a road trip

Temporary comprehensive car insurance coverage is also known as short-term insurance.

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Comprehensive car insurance is defined by the Arkansas Insurance Department as an auto policy that protects vehicle owners from any damages that they, another driver, or an outside force cause to their vehicles.

Full auto coverage also protects policyholders from having to pay for any damages that they have been deemed responsible for.

If you currently have a liability only insurance policy on your vehicle and you want to take a road trip, buying temporary comprehensive insurance will give you further protection.

Many drivers get into accidents when they drive along roads with which they are not familiar.

Since your road trip will likely take you far away from your state of residence, having a temporary car insurance policy can save you money as well as unnecessary hassles.

What kinds of accidents does temporary car insurance cover?

Major insurers generally do not offer temporary car insurance. You can purchase an insurance policy for a six-month period, or in one year increment. Drivers with short-term policies should modify the coverage on their existing policy or consider options such as rental car insurance or non-owner car insurance.

Full auto coverage generally covers the same types of accidents, but the caps on the amount of coverage that you receive will differ.

For example, a comprehensive auto insurance policy may give you a maximum of $50,000 in bodily harm coverage and a lesser amount for personal property protection.

In most instances, your car insurance agent will want to know what states in which you will be traveling so that an adequate amount of coverage can be provided.

The state of Delaware Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s states drivers precise information on the minimum amount of car insurance you need.

Going on a road trip does not require you to purchase comprehensive car insurance, but it will allow you to keep your personal property, vehicle, and passengers much safer.

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When will my temporary car insurance policy expire?

If you know the exact date of your road trip, you can buy a temporary comprehensive car insurance policy for the period of time you will be traveling.

However, most companies offer a policy term of at least six-month, or even a year. Even though you may find some insurers advertising short-term coverage, they may not offer the best coverage suited to your needs.

Some road trips are completely unplanned, but you will still be able to buy temporary insurance at any point.

Unlike traditional car coverage that is purchased in advance for a specific period of time, your temporary auto insurance can last for as long as you want it to.

If you want to buy a car insurance policy for less than six months, you may need to cancel your standard auto insurance policy mid-term. However, there are still options to get temporary insurance coverage outside the typical six or 12-month policy period.

When renting a vehicle, comprehensive coverage is nearly always needed.

You can choose to purchase a temporary comprehensive insurance policy directly via your car rental agency or you can buy separate full coverage through an independent car insurance company.

The Insurance Information Institute states that consumers who rent cars don’t always need to buy additional coverage.

However, drivers who have liability only car insurance policies are usually not able to rent cars with their existing insurance policies.

Car rental companies need to be certain that their customers will not cause them to incur a financial loss in case they get into accidents.

Will temporary car insurance cover any vehicle?

Traditional car insurance often can be used by drivers that are not listed on the policy.

When insured motorists drive a vehicle that they do not own, their auto insurance companies will often extend coverage to that vehicle as well.

However, temporary car insurance usually only provides protection for the policyholder and the vehicles listed at the time of purchase.

If you decide to drive a different car while on your road trip, you can buy a new temporary insurance policy or even add it to your current insurance plan.

Temporary policies also cover different types of vehicles, such as those designed for recreational use.

Since most states require people to have insurance on jet skis, mopeds, and even golf carts, rate comparisons for temporary insurance policies are readily available on and off the internet.

You will need to submit a car insurance quote application to see how much money it will cost you to cover the vehicle you will be taking on your road trip.

While some companies may advertise low short-term car insurance rates, you will undoubtedly pay more if you want full coverage on your vehicle.

As soon as you know when and where your road trip will take place, start comparing temporary comprehensive car insurance rates.

Short-term coverage options do not always offer the best protection against accidents, so you might end up paying for damages out of pocket.

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