Is Temporary Car Insurance Right For You?

Looking for car insurance for a short period of time? Here’s what you need to know.

Why You Can Trust trust shield

At, it’s our mission to find simple ways to help our customers save money on the things they need. While we partner with some of the companies and brands we talk about in our articles, all of our content is written and reviewed by our independent editorial team and never influenced by our partnerships. Learn about how we make money, review our editorial standards, and reference our data methodology to learn more about why you can trust

People typically buy a car insurance policy that lasts six months or a year. But you might find yourself in a situation where you need short-term car insurance or coverage for a smaller amount of time to meet your temporary needs. Here’s what you need to know about temporary car insurance.

Key Takeaways:

  • Pay-as-you-go insurance is a great way to get temporary coverage if you don’t drive often.
  • Most auto policies from reputable insurers are available in six- and 12-month increments.
  • If you need coverage for a short period of time, you may be able to find it through a pay-per-mile, usage-based, or non-owner insurance plan.

What Is Temporary Car Insurance?

family smiling in car

Temporary car insurance is exactly what it sounds like: coverage for a short period of time. But if you shop around, you’ll find that most insurance companies don’t offer policies that are less than six months.

For this reason, you might have to invest in a six-month policy, cancel it when you no longer need it, and collect a refund. But if you go this route, keep in mind that you’ll likely pay more for coverage, you may have to pay a fee for canceling the policy early, and you may even end up with a costly insurance lapse.

Is temporary car insurance legit?

If you need temporary auto coverage that’s less than six months, the good news is that Hugo is one insurer that offers something similar to temporary coverage. Hugo’s plans are traditional six-month car insurance policies, but you can turn coverage on or off as needed, so you only pay for car insurance when you need to drive.

Hugo offers three auto plans: Flex, Unlimited Basic, and Unlimited Full. You can turn on your coverage for days, weeks, or months at a time and pay a flat rate per day. When you’re not driving, you don’t have to pay — but you’ll always have the option to turn on coverage when you need it. Hugo doesn’t require you to pay down payments to get insurance, and you can get coverage for as little as three days.

You might also want to explore several other alternatives to temporary coverage. In the sections below, we cover a few of the most common.

View Your Cheapest Auto Insurance Quotes

Best Temporary Car Insurance

Hugo: True temporary coverage

Hugo is a car insurance company that specializes in pay-as-you-go coverage. You can pay for as little as three days’ worth of car insurance and turn coverage on and off as you need to. That makes it one of the best temporary car insurance companies — in fact, it’s really the only one.

The average Hugo policy costs $54 per month, according to data — much less than the national average of $135 per month. The ability to toggle coverage on and off and pay only for what you need makes getting a policy with the insurer even more worthwhile.


  • Three flexible plans to choose from
  • Ability to turn coverage on or off as needed


  • Not available in every state
  • Full coverage not available with Flex Plans

Mile Auto: Pay-per-mile insurance

Mile Auto is a pay-per-mile car insurance company with a focus on people who don’t drive often. Its premiums are based on how many miles you drive each month, so the less you drive, the less you’ll pay.

Mile Auto’s average liability rate is just $56 per month, according to data. That makes it significantly cheaper than the national average, but remember, that’s only the base rate. You’ll be charged a per-mile fee each month depending on how much you drive.


  • Lower rates for low-mileage drivers
  • No need to install a tracking device in your vehicle


  • Must submit a photo of your odometer each month
  • Rates can increase if you drive more than usual

Find the Best Company for You in Minutes

Ways to Get Short-Term Car Insurance Coverage

older woman looking at insurance docs

If you need temporary insurance, you’ll need to get creative and look for policies with short-term coverage. Here are a few ideas to consider.

Usage-based insurance

Usage-based car insurance tracks your driving behavior and looks for things like speeding, aggressive braking, hard cornering, miles driven, and phone use while driving. It typically tracks your driving with a smartphone app or telematics device that’s installed on your windshield or OBDII port. As long as you’re a safe driver, this can be a great way to secure a lower rate on a short-term policy.

Non-owner car insurance

If you drive a car that you don’t own because you’re borrowing it from a friend or the person you babysit for, for example, you may be a good candidate for non-owner auto insurance. Compared to standard auto insurance, a non-owner car insurance policy tends to be more affordable since you likely drive less.

But keep in mind that non-owner car insurance is secondary to the primary auto policy on the vehicle itself, since auto insurance follows the car, not the driver. It only comes into play if the damages are large enough to exhaust the liability limits on the vehicle’s standard auto insurance policy. Plus, you won’t be able to get physical damage coverage (comprehensive and collision).

You can also cancel non-owner insurance before it expires and avoid paying for coverage you don’t need. Just be wary of lapses in coverage, which can lead to higher rates on your next policy.

Pay-as-you-go car insurance

Also known as pay-as-per-mile insurance, pay-as-you-go car insurance might make sense if you’re an infrequent driver. Your premium will be based on the number of miles you drive instead of how your insurance company thinks you’ll drive. It can give you the chance to lower your car insurance costs while still maintaining consistent coverage.

Hugo is one example of a pay-as-you-go company. Depending on the plan you choose, you may make “micropayments” for as few as three days of coverage and up to six months at a time. Once you purchase a policy, you can turn it on or off through the toggle feature on Hugo’s website.

When You Might Need Temporary Car Insurance

close up of someone's hands signing paperwork

You might need a shorter car insurance policy in a number of situations, including:

You’re a permit driver

Every driver, including people with only a learner’s permit, must meet their state’s minimum insurance requirement when operating a vehicle. But you don’t have to invest in a separate, temporary policy.

If you’re trying to get your driver’s license, your parents’, guardians’, or significant other’s existing policy should cover you while learning how to drive. Parents or guardians can contact their insurance company to add a permit driver under their existing policy as long as the driver uses the family’s vehicle and shares the same address.

You rarely drive

If you rarely drive, you should consider several things when it comes to car insurance. Most states require you to have at least your state’s minimum insurance to maintain your vehicle registration, and lenders typically require you to have full coverage if you lease or finance your car. So you’ll want to maintain some level of coverage, especially to avoid a coverage gap.

That said, if you drive occasionally for any reason, including borrowing someone else’s vehicle, or you’re away at college without a car, you could benefit from temporary car insurance. Options such as pay-as-you-go and non-owner car insurance can lead to cheaper rates if you drive fewer miles or drive a car you don’t own.

You’re renting a car

Before you rent a car, check your car insurance policy to determine whether it will cover your rental. Fortunately, most policies provide coverage for rental cars if you have full coverage on at least one vehicle on your personal policy. If your policy doesn’t, you may have to purchase rental car protection or use rental car insurance through your credit card company. Just note that your car insurance might not cover a rental car if it’s for business use.

You’re traveling internationally

If you have plans to travel abroad, you might need international short-term​ insurance. Most major auto insurance companies give you the option to extend your policy to Canada. If you’re going to Mexico, however, find out if your insurer partners with a company that will allow you to purchase a policy while you’re abroad. And if you plan to visit the U.S. from another country for a short period of time, be sure to explore short-term car insurance options from American insurers.

Your car is going into storage

While it’s not required in every state, short-term insurance for a stored vehicle may be worthwhile to protect against theft or damage. In this case, you might want to invest in comprehensive coverage, which is specifically designed to cover damages for non-collision events, like theft, fires, or falling objects. But keep in mind that putting storage coverage on your vehicle removes its liability and physical damage coverages, so remember to notify your insurer before taking it out to drive.

How Much Does Temporary Car Insurance Cost?

Just like for traditional car insurance, the price of a short-term policy will depend on several factors, such as the company, the policy type, your age, your driving history, and where you’re located.

The table below compares Hugo’s and Mile Auto’s average monthly premiums to the national average cost of insurance, according to data.

Company Liability Coverage Full Coverage Overall Average
Hugo $49 $56 $54
Mile Auto $56 $100 $78
National average $92 $176 $135

Hugo and Mile Auto offer rates well below the national average. But if you live in a state with higher rates, have a spotty driving record, or are a teen driver, your rates could be higher.

How to Find a Temporary Car Insurance Policy

If you’re in the market for temporary car insurance coverage, these tips can come in handy.

  1. Explore all your options: It’s a good idea to do your research and learn about all the temporary or short-term policies at your disposal. Compare rates, fees, and coverage timelines to zero in on the ideal policy and the best rate.
  2. Consider a traditional policy you can cancel early: Depending on your situation, it might make sense to opt for traditional car insurance and cancel it after a few months. Note that some policies charge cancellation fees and having lapses in insurance can cause your rates to increase later on (and potentially lead to a penalty from your state in the meantime).
  3. Be honest: Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure the car insurer understands why you need temporary coverage. This can help reduce the risk of investing in the wrong type of policy.

Find the Best Policy for You In Minutes

Temporary Car Insurance FAQs

Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions about temporary car insurance.

Is temporary car insurance legit?

Most car insurance companies don’t offer temporary car insurance. Hugo is currently the only insurer on the market offering true temporary coverage. But you may also be eligible for an alternative option, such as a pay-per-mile policy, usage-based plan, or non-owner car insurance.

Can you get month-to-month car insurance?

Month-to-month car insurance is rare since most car insurance companies only sell policies in six- or 12-month increments. But it may be possible to purchase coverage from these companies in other ways.

Do you need insurance to drive someone else’s car?

Yes, you do need car insurance to drive another person’s vehicle. Typically, you’ll be protected by their liability coverage. But if they have collision or comprehensive coverage, it may not transfer.

Does GEICO offer temporary car insurance?

Just like most major car insurance companies, GEICO doesn’t offer temporary coverage. Fortunately, however, it does offer six-month policies you can cancel after a few months, often without paying a cancellation fee.

Can you get one-day car insurance?

Reputable car insurers don’t usually sell one-day car insurance. You should be wary of any insurer that advertises this. Chances are they’re not a reputable company. However, Hugo is one car insurance company that offers three-day coverage as its shortest option.

How is the premium for short-term car insurance calculated?

The company and type of short-term policy you choose will dictate how your premium is calculated. Typically, insurers consider factors like your age, location, and driving record.


Data scientists at analyzed more than 50 million real-time auto insurance rates from more than 75 partner insurance providers in order to compile the quotes and statistics seen in this article.’s auto insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers’ vehicles, driving records, insurance histories, and demographic information.

All the quotes listed in this article have been gathered from a combination of real quotes and external insurance rate data gathered in collaboration with Quadrant Information Services. uses these observations to provide drivers with insight into how auto insurance companies determine their premiums.

About’s #1 goal is to save you money. We publish resources that are based on hard-hitting data and years of industry experience to help you make more informed decisions with your wallet.

  • All of’s content is written and reviewed for accuracy by a team of experienced writers and editors who are experts on the topics they cover.
  • None of’s content is ever influenced by the companies and brands we partner with.
  •’s editorial team operates independently of any of the company’s partnership or business development interests. We publish unbiased information strictly for the benefit of our readers.
  • All of the content you see on is based on comprehensive analysis and all data is gathered and vetted from trustworthy sources.

Learn more about us, our team, and what makes us tick.

View Your Best Rates