Technically, most reputable providers do not sell term auto insurance. If you see ads for short-term car insurance, it could be a scam. It could also be an attempt to lure you to a website and sell you a standard insurance policy.
How to get short term auto insurance
Just because most providers don’t offer a product labeled “short-term coverage,” doesn’t mean you don’t have options. Quality providers can offer several ways to meet your need for term insurance. Here are some options you may have:
1. Buy and cancel your policy
The most direct way to get short-term auto insurance is to buy a regular policy and then cancel it when you no longer need coverage. You do not need to tell the insurer at the time of purchase that you intend to cancel. If you pay the full premium up front, you generally get a prorated refund if you cancel.
Some providers charge a cancellation fee for early termination of your policy, but many do not. If you are looking for temporary insurance, check whether an insurer charges costs. If so, factor that fee into the total cost of coverage when you compare providers.
2. Take advantage of the car rental company’s insurance
If you only need rental car insurance, you can get it from car rental companies. The types and amounts of coverage vary, but each policy must cover at least the minimum requirements for the state where you rent the vehicle.
Drivers who want more coverage than what a standard rental policy offers can usually purchase it from the rental counter. In addition to higher coverage limits, you may be able to get add-ons such as roadside assistance.
3. Get non-owner auto insurance
Many insurers sell non-owners insurance policies that cover you while you are driving a car that is not yours. These can include company cars, shared and shared cars, and cars owned by relatives and friends.
Non-owner policies are often much cheaper than owner insurance. However, that’s largely because they usually only cover property damage and injury liability claims. The car owner’s existing policy would pay different claims depending on the types of coverage they have.
4. Use specialized discounts
Some people need temporary coverage because they don’t have regular access to their vehicles. These may include university students who leave their cars at home and military personnel on active duty.
For many of these drivers, insurers offer specialized discounts that can lower the cost of a policy. For example, some providers offer discounts for students who are in school. Others give discounts for military members. Some insurers even offer lower premiums just for agreeing a regular storage period.
The best way to find out about these discounts is to talk to an insurance agent. They may even know about savings opportunities that aren’t on the company’s website.
5. Try usage-based insurance
Instead of setting a flat rate, usage-based insurance policies charge you based on how much you drive. Some may also charge based on telematics data collected from devices or phone apps that track your driving.
If you don’t drive much, per-mile car insurance can be significantly less expensive than standard insurance. However, this type of usage-based coverage can be more expensive if you drive more often than planned.
In addition, many usage-based programs take safety into account when monitoring your driving behavior. If you tend to drive late at night or speed, think carefully about whether one of these programs is a good option for you.