Companies Offering Temporary Auto Insurance

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Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Aug 7, 2019

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Here's what you need to know...
  • Temporary auto insurance is also known as short-term coverage
  • Temporary auto insurance is usually good for one to thirty days
  • Temporary auto insurance is more expensive than standard coverage

Temporary auto insurance is car insurance that insurance companies do not consider as permanent car insurance.

One to 30 days is the policy period for temporary coverage for car insurance, whereas six to twelve months is usually the policy period for permanent car insurance.

Although temporary auto insurance is more expensive when compared to permanent car insurance, there are situations where it is a good move to buy a temporary policy.

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Why buy temporary coverage?


All states except New Hampshire require vehicle owners to maintain minimum liability insurance in the amount set forth by state law.

If you are caught driving a vehicle without the proper amount of liability insurance, you could face:

  • Heavy fines
  • Revocation of vehicle tags
  • Impoundment of vehicle
  • Jail time

Moreover, if you are uninsured and cause an accident, you are responsible for paying for the injuries and property damages incurred by the parties involved in the accident.

Temporary auto insurance will protect you from these unfortunate consequences.

Purchasing or Renting a Car

If you buy a new car, and you do not have an existing permanent new car policy for car insurance policy, you may need some time to shop around for the best deal on permanent car insurance for your new car.

Until you have bought permanent car insurance, you should buy temporary coverage. This will protect your purchase and cover third parties in case of an accident.

Further, temporary car insurance will keep you in line with state insurance laws.

Rental companies will offer you the option to buy a damage waiver and liability insurance for a fee often called rental car insurance.

The waiver relieves you of financial responsibility if the rental is damaged or stolen. Liability insurance will cover injury and damage to third parties in case of an accident.

Many people don’t know whether they should buy auto coverage from the rental company.

Should I buy temporary car insurance?


Before making a decision, consider your situation in light of the following circumstances:

– You maintain Comprehensive and Minimum Liability Insurance

Your auto insurance will generally extend to rental cars.

Therefore, if you have comprehensive auto insurance with minimum liability limits, you probably do not need to purchase additional coverage from the rental company.

But don’t forget there is a deductible you must pay before your insurance kicks in.

If you have a high deductible, you may want to consider buying rental coverage or a temporary policy with a lower deductible.

– You Maintain Minimum Liability Insurance but not Comprehensive Insurance


Here you probably don’t need to buy additional liability insurance coverage from the rental car company if you are comfortable asking your insurance carrier to pay any liability claims against you.

But you should consider purchasing rental car coverage or a temporary policy to cover the rental if it is damaged or stolen.

You should compare the daily cost of the damage waiver and the amount of the deductible, if any, to the daily cost of a temporary car insurance policy and the amount of the deductible.

There are temporary policies that are cheaper than the cost of coverage through the rental company.

– You are Totally Uninsured

The same cost analysis applies if you are totally uninsured.

Remember to include the cost of liability insurance offered by the rental car company, assuming that minimum liability insurance is not built into the basic rental charge.

Temporary car insurance bought from a separate company could be cheaper.

Once again, consider the amount of the individual deductibles in making your decision.

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Lending Your Car to Someone or Borrowing Someone Else’s Car

Maybe your friend needs to borrow your car for a few days.

Your comprehensive and liability automobile insurance policy will cover your car, your friend and damages and injuries sustained by third parties.

If you borrow your friend’s car for a few days, his/her comprehensive and liability automobile insurance policy will cover you, his/her car, and damages and injuries to third parties.

A temporary insurance policy may make sense if neither you nor your friend would want to file an accident claim with your respective insurance carriers.

Further, if you or your friend does not have complete insurance coverage or any insurance coverage at all, temporary car insurance is a good solution, not only to protect yourselves from a financial standpoint but also to preserve your relationship.

Shopping for Temporary Auto Insurance


If you already have automobile insurance, you should ask your insurance carrier whether it offers temporary coverage. Some insurance companies offer discounted rates for current customers.

The best way to find the cheapest temporary auto insurance is to go on the internet and comparison shop by requesting online quotes from different insurance companies:

Finding the cheapest temporary auto insurance depends on the amount of monetary risk you are willing to assume.

Temporary car insurance is expensive, so be sure to buy only what you need.

No matter what type of car insurance you are looking for, we can help you. Compare multiple free car insurance quotes for FREE if you enter your ZIP code below.

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