What Is Temporary Car Insurance, and How Do You Get It?

May 26, 2017

temporary car insurance You’re a nomad. A free spirit. A rolling stone. A tumbling tumbleweed…  You get the idea. If you prefer to live life without the encumbrances of owning a car and having car insurance, that’s great! But what do you do when you find yourself driving a car for a short period of time? You need some kind of temporary car insurance. Here’s how to get it.

Temporary Car Insurance: What is it and when do you need it?

Let’s walk through four situations when you might need short-term car insurance, and how you can get the temporary car insurance you need.

Scenario 1: You need short-term car insurance because you’re using a car temporarily.

short term car insuranceYou live in New York City, and you haven’t owned a car in years. Then, your wealthy great-uncle dies and in his will, he leaves you his 1961 Jaguar E-Type. It’s so beautiful, you decide you’ll drive it for a month before you sell it. But first, you’ll need car insurance.

In this situation, you actually own the car, so non-owner car insurance won’t work. The solution is temporary car insurance: But how do you get it? Few car insurance companies actually advertise short-term car insurance policies. You can call a few insurers, explain your situation and ask if they’ll cover your car.

Or, a simpler solution is to purchase a normal, 6-month insurance policy that has no cancellation fees or penalties. We can help you compare car insurance prices to get a good deal on a 6-month policy. Enter your info one time and get multiple free quotes in minutes.

Once you get insured, you can cancel the policy when you sell the car, and any extra premiums you’ve paid will be refunded on a prorated basis. Here’s our simple guide to canceling a car insurance policy.

Scenario 2: You need short-term car insurance because you’re renting a car.

You don’t own a car or normally carry car insurance, but soon you plan to rent a car for a month-long summer road trip. The counter agent is trying to convince you that you need all kinds of extra rental car insurance, but it’s adding an extra $50 per day to your road trip budget! That ain’t happening.

The temporary insurance sold by rental car companies is, by and large, ridiculously overpriced. Skip it. Instead, see if your credit card includes a collision damage waiver that covers damage to a rental car. If not, you can buy much cheaper collision coverage from a travel insurance company. For liability coverage, a non-owner car insurance policy can offer affordable protection.

What’s non-owner car insurance? Non-owner car insurance is low-cost insurance that gives you liability coverage when you’re borrowing, renting or sharing a car. Keep in mind, however, that non-owner’s insurance is liability-only. That means it covers the other driver’s injuries and property damage, but not yours.

Scenario 3: You need temporary car insurance because you’re using a car-sharing service.

You have a summer internship in San Francisco, and you plan to use Zipcar while you’re there. You know Zipcar automatically offers members who are 21 or older some liability coverage ($100,000 bodily injury per person, $300,000 bodily injury maximum and $25,000 property damage). But is that enough?

It’s really not. If you smash into a Tesla, or cause injuries to multiple passengers, you could be on the hook for a lot more than the insurance covers. Zipcar also charges members a $1,000 damage fee per incident, unless they buy an optional damage fee waiver. Buying temporary, non-owner car insurance is a good idea.

Scenario 4: You need temporary car insurance because you’re between cars.

Your car just died, and you can’t afford the payments for a new vehicle until you start your new job in July. You can deal with it for a few months by catching rides with your roommate, but you don’t want your auto insurance to lapse.

While you’re between cars, it’s a good idea to keep some kind of auto insurance. It may feel like a total waste of money to pay for insurance when you’re not even driving, but if you let your insurance lapse, even for just a few months, you’ll wind up paying much higher premiums once you reinstate it. For this situation, non-owner car insurance is a good bet.

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