What is temporary car insurance?

Temporary car insurance, also known as short-term car insurance, typically last for six months or less. Temporary policies can be as short as one day or as long as a week, a few weeks, or even a month or two, as long as they are shorter than six months. When it comes to choosing a temporary auto insurance company, comparison shop online to find the best rates. Enter your ZIP code below to get started with free temporary car insurance quotes from local companies.

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Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently a professional writer.

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Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business. Brad is licensed in all P&C lines.

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Reviewed by Brad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jun 4, 2021

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Shopping for car insurance is something that people do when they purchase a new car or want to find out if a better car insurance plan with a better rate is available or them. Temporary car insurance is an option; find out more about it. Looking for cheap auto insurance quotes can be difficult but utilizing the internet is a great way to find great prices. Try our FREE car insurance quote generator by putting in your ZIP code!

Saving money on car insurance is absolutely something that drivers want to take advantage of, which is why comparison shopping for car insurance is so popular. One type of car insurance that people shop for – despite the fact that it is not very common – is temporary car insurance. This is also known as short term car insurance. Not everyone is familiar with this type of insurance, and the term can easily cause shoppers hesitation when comparing car insurance quotes.

Most car insurance companies offer insurance plans for drivers for terms of six to 12 months. When a driver does not need that amount of coverage, shopping for car insurance can become problematic if they are not aware of what short term car insurance is. This is the primary reason that comparison shopping is always a good idea when it comes to car insurance.

When to Use Temporary Car Insurance?

Temporary – or short term – car insurance is insurance that some drivers need for rare occasions. For example, say a college student is car shopping but won’t be able to buy a car for a few more months.

During the time that student is car shopping, her dad is out of the country for a few months and offers her the use of his car. She might opt for short term, or temporary car insurance to insure herself as the primary driver of her dad’s car while he is out of the country.

This way, if something were to happen while she was driving the car, it would not reflect on her father’s driving record, but rather her own driving record. Additionally, it wouldn’t be up to her father’s insurance to pay for the damages done by his daughter.

The other most common reason for getting short term car insurance is the loss of a no-claims bonus. Many car insurance companies offer incentives or bonuses for drivers that file no claims within a certain period of time.

Adding a secondary driver to their policy could cause them to lose that bonus if the secondary driver files a claim. Even though the primary driver was not at fault, the bonus is lost.

Those that are considering any of the following should look into a temporary car insurance policy:

  • Family is coming to town and will be driving the car
  • College students are coming home for the summer and want to drive the car
  • A friend wants to borrow the car for a trip
  • Borrowing a car

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Conditions of Temporary Car Insurance

Like anything else, there are stipulations in place regarding temporary car insurance. While just about everyone can purchase short term car insurance, there are a few stipulations to the rule:

  • Coverage may be limited
  • Extensions may not be provided
  • Type of drivers license held might come with restrictions

Each person that is looking to purchase temporary car insurance should check to see if they qualify for the insurance and what conditions they must meet. As long as the person applying for temporary car insurance has a valid driver license it is almost certain that he or she will be granted a short term car insurance policy; but based on the above mentioned conditions that policy may have limitations.

Limited Coverage

Anyone with a driver license can receive a short term insurance policy for their car. However, there are a number of age restrictions in place that determine the full amount of coverage that is available to drivers.

These coverage rules are different for each individual insurance provider, which is why it is imperative that drivers do their research and compare policies before committing to one. The coverage restrictions on one policy might not be as strict as the coverage policies required by another provider.


When it comes to choosing a company to purchase temporary car insurance from, it is important that drivers ask about temporary extensions if they are not positive that the time frame for which they are purchasing short term insurance is going to be long enough.

For example, a girl that borrows her dad’s car while he is out of country may opt to purchase short term car insurance for two months while her dad is out of town.

If, at the end of these two months, her dad has decided to stay out of the country longer and she wants to extend her policy by another few weeks, she needs to know that the company she chose allows this option.

There are some vehicle insurance providers that will not allow a driver to extend their temporary plan. Comparing providers allows drivers to make sure the company they choose does offer this option.

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Conditions Based on Type of License

While most companies will offer short term insurance to anyone with a driver license, some companies do not extend this courtesy to drivers that have a license from another country. Some companies are happy to provide temporary insurance for a car to those from other countries and some are not.

Before a driver applies for a short term policy, he or she should compare the restrictions regarding this rule for several different car insurance providers; otherwise he or she may go through the application process only to be denied their insurance coverage.

Time Frame for Temporary Car Insurance

There is no specific time frame as to how long a temporary car insurance plan can last. However, since most vehicle insurance policies are given on a six to 12 month term, it is the common practice that short term car insurance policies are less than 6 months in length.

Temporary policies can be as short as one day. They can also be a few days, a week, a few weeks or even a month or two; as long as they are shorter than 6 months.

All car insurance providers are different; the policies are different, coverage is different and prices are different. Before committing to a provider for temporary car insurance, it is imperative that drivers compare companies to ensure they are getting the best possible coverage for the best possible price. Find the best possible coverage for the best possible price by putting in your ZIP code!

Comparing short term policies could make the difference between full coverage and the lowest prive versus partial coverage and a higher price. Use our FREE car insurance search tool to find out rates for temporary car insurance; all it takes is putting in your ZIP code!

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