Cheap Temporary Car Insurance Companies

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Temporary car insurance can be an affordable and convenient option for drivers who need coverage for a short time. Whether you use your vehicle sporadically, borrow from friends and loved ones, or plan to rent a car for an extended vacation, this article will cover the best car insurance companies for getting a cheap temporary policy. We also dive into the details of the best alternatives to a formal temporary policy and explain when each option is best.

It’s time to secure your temporary coverage.

Key Takeaways

  • Short-term car insurance policies typically last for one month (30 days) or less. It’s an uncommon car insurance policy, but it does work in some situations.
  • The cost of temporary car insurance varies depending on the type of policy, driver history, and location. Temporary car insurance typically costs less or the same as standard insurance premiums.
  • Drivers may need a short-term car insurance policy for several reasons, including temporary travel, military deployment, and irregular driving needs.
  • Alternatives to temporary car insurance include non-owner and pay-per-mile insurance, among others.
  • Drivers can save on temporary car insurance by using discounts and comparing policies.

The Best Temporary Car Insurance Company 

There are several ways to get temporary insurance, but only one formal temporary car insurance policy is available. That policy is the Hugo Flex plan. Let’s go over the details together.

Why Hugo Insurance?

Hugo insurance is newer to the insurance game but offers unique coverage options. Its on-demand car insurance plan, Hugo Flex, allows you to turn on your insurance only when needed. Policyholders can pay for coverage over as little as three days, making car insurance affordable. Also, there are no down payment requirements at Hugo. 

How Does the Hugo Flex Plan Work?

Hugo flex is one of three coverage plans offered by Hugo insurance. With flex, you pay for car insurance only on days that you use your car. When you plan to use your vehicle, you activate your policy, then simply switch it off to pause coverage again. 

Where Can I Get Hugo Insurance?

Hugo insurance is currently available in these nine states:

  • California
  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Ohio
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee

The company has concrete plans to offer coverage in Kentucky, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Texas. It’s currently working on plans to offer policies in Arizona and Virginia. 

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What is Temporary Car Insurance?

Temporary car insurance is any car insurance policy intended to provide coverage for a short period, typically for less than one month. It can look different depending on the company, but only Hugo offers official temporary insurance.

Hugo insurance provides various coverage options for people who don’t drive often. Choose pay-per-mile, non-owner, and rental car insurance, among many others. Always consider your short-term auto insurance needs when choosing your policy. 

When do you Need Temporary Car Insurance Coverage?

A driver may need to purchase a temporary car insurance policy for several reasons. Here are a few:

  • You don’t drive your car regularly
  • You frequently borrow a vehicle from others
  • You need temporary coverage before selecting your long-term policy
  • You’re a student living away from home
  • Deployed in the military 
  • You’re visiting a friend or a relative for an extended period
  • You need a rental car for an extended road trip
  • You allow others to test drive your vehicle when you’re selling by-owner

If you’re borrowing someone else’s vehicle, insurance always covers the car. So, if you drive your aunt’s car and have to file a claim, her primary insurance will apply to the claim before your secondary insurance does. She would have to meet her policy limits before your temporary policy pays anything toward the claim. 

How Much Does Temporary Car Insurance Cost? 

couple getting keys to a rental car

Your temporary car insurance costs depend on many factors, including location, vehicle, usage period, driving history, etc. That said, here are the average monthly insurance premiums we found when analyzing quote data from our site.

Driver Avg. Monthly Premium
Teen driver  $194
Seniors (65+) $143
Under 25  $174
Single/Never married  $175
Married  $174
No tickets or accident $166
One ticket $206
One accident – 2501/yr $208

Who Should Get Temporary Car Insurance?

Anyone who only needs car insurance for a limited time should consider using temporary car insurance. There are many scenarios, but the following three are the most common:

  • Students: Students who spend a significant portion of the year away from their car should consider a temporary policy. Alternatively, they can reduce their coverage to comprehensive only, considered storage coverage. This, however, isn’t an option if you have a loan on your car because your lender will require full coverage, including liability and collision, at all times.  
  • Military: Temporary car insurance is an excellent option for military members who will spend time overseas. They can also look into military discounts.
  • Short-term travel: People traveling out of state (for example, to stay with a relative after the birth of a baby) may need temporary car insurance in their new destination.Your temporary insurance would be secondary to the primary coverage when filing a claim only kicking in once the primary insurance is exhausted.

Alternatives to Temporary Car Insurance

If you can’t get Hugo in your state, you will have plenty of other options for short-term insurance. The following alternatives involve a few more steps than purchasing a formal temporary policy. But these are all solid options for you to consider.

One-Month Policy

Best for:

  • Drivers who need insurance for one month. 

Though uncommon, a few insurance companies offer one-month policy terms. These are: 

  • Direct General Insurance 
  • National Unity Insurance 
  • Old American County Mutual Fire Insurance 
  • Young America Insurance 

American Hallmark Insurance, available in Texas, also allows one-month renewal policies.

Standard Car Insurance Policy

Best for:

  • Drivers who need coverage for a few months.
  • Drivers who aren’t sure how long they need coverage.
  • High school or college students who spend significant time away from home.  

A quick way to find a temporary insurance policy is to purchase a standard six-month policy. You can turn it into “temporary“ insurance by taking one of the following two actions:

  • Pause policy: If you don’t need to use your car (or drive someone else’s), you can pause your policy with most insurers. If you own your vehicle outright, consider purchasing car storage insurance.
  • Cancel your policy: With this method, you purchase a standard policy and cancel it when it’s no longer needed.

If you plan to cancel your policy, understand the cancellation rules before purchasing. Most insurance companies do not charge a fee to cancel early, but some do — as much as 10% of the remaining balance. Also, if you cancel your policy and create a lapse in coverage, your premiums will be more expensive when you’re ready to get coverage again. Plus, if your vehicle has financing, you’ll violate the terms of your loan or lease if you don’t maintain adequate coverage. 

Here’s a list of car insurance companies that do not charge a cancellation fee:

  • AAA
  • Allstate
  • American Family
  • Erie Insurance
  • Farmers
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Nationwide
  • Progressive
  • Safeco
  • State Farm
  • The Hartford
  • Travelers

Avoid paying for coverage you don’t need by setting up a reminder to ensure you cancel your policy. Depending on your insurer, you can do so over the phone or online and set the cancellation date you need. Typically up to six weeks in the future, depending on the insurer. 

Non-owner Insurance

Best for:

  • Drivers who regularly use vehicles from different owners.

Non-owner car insurance, sometimes called non-drivers insurance, is for people who regularly drive a car they don’t own. A non-owners policy provides liability coverage – bodily injury protection and property damage. Importantly, non-owner policies typically do not include collision or comprehensive coverage. 

Companies that offer non-owners car insurance include:

  • American Family 
  • Auto-Owners
  • Dairyland
  • Direct Auto
  • Erie
  • Farmers
  • Nationwide
  • Progressive
  • State Farm
  • Travelers

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Use an Existing Policy

Best for:

  • Drivers who use a car once or irregularly. 

One-off car sharing — for instance, borrowing a friend’s car because it’s easier to get out of the driveway — is usually covered under the owner’s policy via the permissive user clause. For this kind of temporary usage, purchasing additional car insurance isn’t necessary.

Join an Existing Policy

Best for:

  • Drivers who regularly use a single vehicle.

But what about people who regularly drive their roommate’s car? Or the car of the person they’re dating? In cases like this, it’s a good idea to add yourself to the owner’s policy if possible. By doing so, both of you can save money by splitting the premiums. Just be sure the other driver is claim free. 

Pay-Per-Mile Policy

Best for:

  • Car owners who drive fewer than 7,500 miles annually. 

Pay-per-mile car insurance is as it sounds: usage-based insurance coverage based on the miles you drive. Companies that offer pay-per-mile coverage include:

  • Metromile
  • Mile Auto
  • Allstate (Milewise)
  • Nationwide (SmartMiles)

With any of these companies, you will need to allow the insurer to monitor your driving. To do so, you’ll install an app on your phone or device in your car.  

Car Storage Insurance

Best for:

  • Car owners who will leave their vehicle parked for an extended period.

Car storage insurance covers your vehicle when parked and not in service. You forgo liability insurance (including state minimum coverage) when purchasing car storage insurance. Instead, you get comprehensive coverage for unexpected losses from a storm, fire or other non-driving accident. 

International Car Insurance

Best for:

  • People driving internationally. 

International car insurance is a policy that covers you when you drive in another country. If you’re planning to drive your car to Mexico, you should know that American auto insurance companies generally do not cover you. The same goes for driving in Europe and elsewhere. 

The only exception to this rule is for driving in Canada, which many American insurance companies do cover. These companies include:

  • AAA
  • Allstate
  • Farmers
  • Nationwide
  • State farm

Rental Car Insurance

Best for:

  • Drivers renting a car temporarily.

If you regularly rent vehicles, you can purchase car insurance through the rental car company. Be aware that most rental car insurance policies offer the bare minimum coverage. You may need to inquire about raising coverage limits to ensure you are adequately protected. 

You can also look into rental car coverage offered through your credit card. Some credit card companies provide automatic rental car insurance coverage so long as you purchase the car with that card. Limitations will still apply, so read the rules carefully. 

Tips for Find Cheap Temporary Car Insurance

There are several strategies to get lower rates for temporary auto insurance. Some are more appropriate in certain situations than others, so consider how each option fits your needs. 

  • Add yourself to another driver’s policy: If you primarily drive the car of a responsible driver, try working out a deal to add yourself to their policy. Often, it costs a lot less to add a secondary driver to a policy than to buy two separate policies. Both you and the car owner can save money.
  • Compare policies: Gather quotes from at least three insurance companies in your area and compare them based on price, coverage limit, quality, and other essential factors.
  • Use discounts: there are too many discount programs to name, so review the options at the car insurance companies in your area. Some beneficial discounts for temporary insurance holders include the Good Driver, Good Student, Online Quote, and Early Bird discounts.
  • Pay attention to coverage limit: you’ll need at least state minimum coverage, but insurance policies with higher coverage limits may offer you a better value. 
  • Review cancellation terms: some insurance companies charge cancellation fees of as much as 10% of the remaining premiums owed. Even insurers that don’t charge will have rules regarding how to cancel correctly. Follow the guidelines carefully to avoid paying unnecessary costs.
  • Consider policy perks: Mobile apps and easy-to-use websites are common with major insurers and are lacking at some smaller companies. If a perk is essential to you, look at companies that offer it. 
  • Review your options: Some situations are better suited for temporary car insurance than others, so consider all of your options based on what you need.
  • Ask questions: if you’re unsure about your options, the cancellation terms of a policy, or anything else, don’t be afraid to speak with an insurance agent or customer service rep from a prospective insurer. And don’t be scared to ask for an email detailing the specifics of your conversation.
  • Be alert for scams: Beware of advertisements for “one-day “ car insurance or the like. Getting legitimate temporary car insurance, whatever method you use, is always essential. Driving without insurance can result in penalties, fines, and possible jail time.

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FAQs About Temporary Car Insurance

Is temporary car insurance legit?

Yes, temporary car insurance is a legitimate car insurance policy. As of this writing, Hugo is the only car insurance company that offers formal temporary auto insurance policies. However, other short-term options are available depending on your needs, such as rental car, non-owner, and other policies. 

Can you get car insurance for one week?

Yes, you can purchase car insurance for one week. You’ll need to secure a policy with Hugo Insurance to do so formally. Otherwise, look at other short-term insurance options like securing rental car insurance.

Can I get temporary car insurance without primary insurance?

You can get a policy through Hugo, which will serve as your temporary and primary insurance policy at the same time. 

Can I get temporary car insurance for a new car?

You can get short-term insurance coverage for a new car, which is especially useful when you need a policy fast and want to review your coverage options later. You can purchase either a short-term or a standard policy from a company with no cancellation fee. When you find your perfect annual insurance policy, cancel your temporary policy if necessary.

Can I leave my car uninsured for a week?

If you plan to drive your car on public roads, you must carry state minimum car insurance by law. Driving without car insurance is serious and can result in fines if caught. Allowing a lapse in coverage can increase your future car insurance rates even if you don’t get caught. If you need to store your car temporarily while you’re not using it, you should consider car storage insurance. 

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