Can I extend my car insurance for a month?

Few reputable insurance companies will extend car insurance for a single month. However, most insurers provide short-term insurance coverage and allow you to add a vehicle to an existing policy.

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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: Jun 10, 2022

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Reputable car insurance companies will not typically extend your policy for only one month
  • Be wary of companies that do claim to offer short-term coverage, as the offers are likely scams and/or for insufficient coverage
  • One of the best ways to obtain short-term car insurance is to take advantage of insurers’ lenient early cancellation policies

Most reputable car insurance companies will not extend an auto insurance policy by one month. Though you may pay your premiums monthly, your policy likely covers a term of six or 12 months. The insurance company splits the payments into six or 12 monthly installments to make the cost of insurance more affordable.

If you want to extend your car insurance policy for one month beyond the typical term length — such as seven or 13 months — you must get creative in how you go about doing so.

Major Car Insurance Companies Won’t Extend Car Insurance for a Month

By asking your car insurance company to extend your policy by one month, you are essentially asking it to provide a month-to-month option. While month-to-month contracts are standard in several industries nowadays, they are almost unheard of in the car insurance industry.

Car Insurance Policies Typically Come in 6- or 12-Month Terms

Though you may make your auto insurance payments every month, your policy itself is usually between 6 and 12 months long. There are a few reasons why most auto insurance companies only write 6-month policies:

  • Studies show that people who seek short-term insurance have higher risks of filing claims than drivers who invest in long-term coverage.
  • People tend to abuse short-term policies.
  • Short-term policies offer little financial benefit to insurers.

Insurance companies need the cost of premiums collected to outweigh the amount paid in claims. This balance would be harder to achieve if companies made short-term coverage a standard offering, especially if many short-term policyholders filed claims during their month of coverage.

Longer policies also give insurers more time to assess drivers’ risks to help make an informed decision regarding renewal.

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Why might you need to extend car insurance for one month?

There are a few situations in which you may need car insurance for a single extra month. These are examples of circumstances in which you may find yourself shopping for a month-to-month policy:

  • You plan to sell your vehicle in the coming month and do not plan to replace it with a new one.
  • You sold your vehicle last month and need a single month of coverage to protect you while you drive a rental car.
  • Your new policy will not begin until a month after your old policy’s cancellation date.
  • You plan to move in the next month to another state and do not want to renew your current policy in your current state.

Unfortunately, you may struggle to extend your policy for a month, even in these situations. However, you do have other options, such as the State Farm Add a Vehicle policy, which allows you to add and remove vehicles from your policy at your discretion.

How To Get Short-Term Coverage

Though you cannot simply buy a one-month auto insurance policy from most companies, you have a few options for obtaining short-term coverage.

Shopping Around

Though most reputable insurers will not offer policies with terms of any less than six months, a scattering of companies do. Some of these companies dabble in one-week or even daily insurance. With enough research on your part, you may find a company that will issue a short-term policy to you.

Usage-Based Insurance

Some insurance companies offer a “pay-per-mile” type of coverage. With this type of insurance, you pay for coverage based on the number of miles you drive, your driving habits, or both. You can cancel this type of policy at any time and/or when you no longer possess the vehicle you insured.

Rental Car Coverage

If you recently sold your covered vehicle and plan to drive a rental car for the next month or so, you do not need to purchase a new policy to protect the rental vehicle. Most rental car companies offer insurance for the duration of the rental agreement.

Early Cancellation Is the Best Path to Short-Term Coverage

Early cancellation is the best way to “extend” your insurance policy for a single month in the absence of a month-to-month option. Though most insurance companies will not tell customers this, many do not charge cancellation fees. This means you can sign a contract for a six- or 12-month policy and have the freedom to cancel it after just one month.

If you plan to cancel your insurance policy only a month after the renewal date, there are a few considerations to make beforehand:

  • First, make sure your company allows you to cancel early without incurring fees.
  • Second, turn off auto-pay, since this will enable you to better control how much you pay and when.
  • Third and finally, elect to pay in monthly installments. This ensures you do not have to wait for your insurance company to issue you a refund for the five to 11 months for which you did not need coverage.

If you suddenly need to cancel your insurance when you are just one month into your policy term, you can still do so. However, know that you may incur a fee. If you already paid the policy in full, you will have to wait for your insurance company to prorate your usage and issue a refund.

How To Request a Car Insurance Refund

Requesting a car insurance refund is simple. Contact your insurance company and ask to speak to someone about canceling. A representative should help you start the cancellation process and send a cancellation letter. You must verify this letter before the company can initiate your refund. You should receive a refund for the total amount you paid, less the rate for the month of coverage you used. Note that receiving a refund may take as long as 30 days.

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Shop for Coverage With Flexibility When You Want a Month-Long Extension

Most insurance companies will not consider extending a car insurance policy for only one month. However, flexible coverage options do exist if you need a short-term policy on a vehicle.

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