Temporary Car Insurance: Everything You Need To Know

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Temporary Car Insurance Summary

  • About 13 percent of drivers are currently uninsured in the United States
  • Every state but New Hampshire requires drivers to carry at least the state minimum limit for auto insurance coverage in order to drive legally.
  • The penalties for having your insurance lapse or driving uninsured vary according to the state in which you live but can mean fees and fines of anywhere between $25 and $5,000.

Short-Term car Insurance

To be a responsible and legal driver, you need to buy a short-term auto insurance plan during any lapse in standard coverage. Finding affordable car insurance that fits your needs is just as important.

Temporary car insurance coverage is an important coverage option that many people may not know about. This page will answer all your questions about getting temporary insurance so you can make an informed coverage decision.

In this article, we will answer all the questions you may have about a short-term car insurance policy, 14-day car insurance coverage, cheap three-day car insurance, five-day car insurance, seven-day insurance, and more so you can make an informed short-term auto insurance decision.

Not many insurance companies offer this type of coverage, but we’ll help you find auto insurance coverages that fit your needs.

If you’re wondering how you can find cheap auto insurance in your area or you’re looking for temporary car insurance quotes, we can help you compare. Before you read more, enter your ZIP code to compare cheap temporary auto insurance quotes. You will be able to find emergency car insurance when needed.

What is Temporary Car Insurance, and When Might You Need It?

Temporary Car Insurance

One of the most important things to determine is whether or not you actually need temporary car insurance.

For example, if your child is away at college, it might be tempting to remove them from your car insurance altogether and get a short-term auto insurance policy for the summer. However, that will cause them to show a lapse in coverage and risk higher car insurance premiums later on.

You can simply tell your car insurance company that your child is away at school, and most companies will reduce your monthly car insurance premiums since the child will not be driving.

Other scenarios, like letting a friend borrow your car once or taking a day trip across the border, will generally be covered by your normal car coverage.

However, there are times when consumers will need that short-term car insurance.

Is it possible to get short-term car insurance?

Let’s consider a few scenarios:

  • You have a car in the shop for repair and need to borrow a friend’s vehicle.
  • You are trying to buy a new or used car but cannot find one. In the meantime, you are using someone else’s vehicle that is not registered in your name.
  • If someone uses your car and you want to make sure they are covered in addition to their own temporary auto insurance coverage policy.
temporary insurance coverage for rental cars
  • You could be helping a friend move a car or multiple cars need to be sure you have the necessary temporary insurance to move a vehicle.
  • It could be a good idea to buy temporary insurance coverage for rental cars. Check with your insurance provider first because you may already be covered for a rental car under your normal auto insurance policy.
  • If you use a moving van and want to make sure you are insured behind the wheel, this could be good additional insurance (a week of coverage could be all you need).
  • Short-term insurance could be a good option if you sell a car that you don’t drive but want it insured for other people to test drive it.
  • If you drive for work and need coverage until you can verify that the insurance company policy coverage fully includes you as a driver.
  • If you are a student away from home and only drive occasionally
  • Even if you are between insurance policies or are storing a vehicle and driving it very little, but want to make sure your insurance doesn’t lapse, finding affordable temporary car insurance could be right for you.
  • A temporary auto insurance policy will allow you to drive legally if you are visiting the U.S. from another country and want to bring your vehicle.
non-owners car insurance

There are other names for temporary auto insurance and even other forms of temporary coverage. Non-owner car insurance is a popular choice for those who will be using another driver’s vehicle on a more regular basis. This type of insurance offers you basic liability coverage that meets your state’s requirements. Rental car insurance is also an option for short-term, long-term, or regular rental car usage.

Should you buy Temporary Car Insurance

Can I buy temporary auto insurance until I get a standard policy?

If you want to purchase or switch car insurance coverages, you might be tempted to go ahead and cancel the policy until you decide on a new auto insurer. If you cancel your policy early, you still need to have a short-term insurance policy in place.

The bottom line is that you should never be without some kind of auto coverage to remain legal as well as financially protected. Why is temporary car insurance so important?

driving without car insurance

Every state but New Hampshire (they require personal responsibility) requires drivers to carry auto insurance to be on the road legally (Virginia also has some special conditions). Suppose you are caught driving without auto insurance. In that case, you could be facing hefty fines and points against your driver’s license (this is especially important because about 13% of drivers are currently uninsured, according to the Insurance Information Institute).

Take a look at this table to see what you could be facing if you’re caught driving uninsured in your state. Carrying a temporary car insurance card can prevent this.

Fines and DMV Fees for Driving Uninsured by State

StateFine and/or citation for driving uninsuredDMV fees for lapsed insurance
Alabama$500-$1,000A registration reinstatement fee of $200 on a first offense and $400 on a second offense
Alaska$500A license reinstatement fee of $100 for the first lapse or $250 if combined with another non-DUI-related offense
Arizona$500-$1,000A license reinstatement fee of $50
Arkansas$50-$250A license reinstatement fee of $50
California$100-$200A license reinstatement fee of $14
Colorado$500A reinstatement fee of $40
Connecticut$50-$200A reinstatement fee of $200
Delaware$1,500-$3,000DMV lapse fee of $100 per vehicle and $5 per day after the first 30 days
District of ColumbiaNot AvailableDMV lapse fee of $150 and $7 per day after the first 30 days to a maximum of $2,500
Florida$150-$500Registration and license reinstatement fee of $150 for the first lapse, $250 for the second reinstatement, and $500 for the third or more within three years
Georgia$25-$185Lapse of more than 10 days incurs a $25 fee if not paid within 30 days, along with a $60 reinstatement fee
Hawaii$500-$5,000A license reinstatement fee of $20 in Honolulu County; other counties may differ
Idaho$75-$1,000A license reinstatement fee of $85
Illinois$500-$1,000A reinstatement fee of $100
Indiana$250-$1,000Reinstatement fee $150 for the first offense, $225 for a second offense, or $300 for a third offense
Iowa$250Need to show proof of financial responsibility only after an accident, at which time at least $485 in penalties and fees incurred
Kansas$1,000-$2,500Reinstatement fee of $100 for the first offense, $300 for the second offense within one year
Kentucky$1,000A registration reinstatement fee of $40
Louisiana$100-$700DMV lapse fee of $125 for up to 30 days, $225 for 31 to 90 days, $525 for over 90 days
Maine$100-$500A license reinstatement fee of $50, plus a $20 to $30 additional fee and a $35 registration reinstatement fee
Maryland$1,000-$2,500Uninsured motorist penalty fee of $150 for the first 30 days, $7 for each day thereafter, and a registration restoration fee of up to $25
Massachusetts$500-$5,000A reinstatement fee of $500
Michigan$200-$500A registration reinstatement fee of $50 plus $25 if the license was suspended
Minnesota$200-$3,000License and registration reinstatement fee of $30
Mississippi$500A license reinstatement fee of $30
Missouri$500A license reinstatement fee of $20 after the first suspension, $200 after the second suspension, and $400 after the third suspension
Montana$250-$500No charge for the first lapse of insurance
Nebraska$50A reinstatement fee of $500
Nevada$250-$1,000A reinstatement fee of $251 plus a fine of $250 if the lapse was 31 to 90 days, $500 if the lapse was 91 to 180 days, and $1,000 if the lapse was more than 181 days
New HampshireOnly proof of financial responsibility is requiredOnly proof of financial responsibility is required
New Jersey$300-$5,000Restoration fee of $100
New Mexico$300-$1,000A registration reinstatement fee of $30
New York$150-$1,500A civil penalty of $8 per day for lapses of insurance for the first 30 days, $10 per day for the second 30 days, and $12 per day for the third 30 days
North Carolina$50-$150A civil penalty of $50 for the first insurance lapse in a three-year period, $100 for the second lapse, $150 for the third and subsequent lapses
North Dakota$150-$5,000No loss of license or registration on the first offense
Ohio$160-$660Compliance fees up to $60, plus a reinstatement fee of $100 for the first offense, $300 for the second offense, and $600 for the third offense
Oklahoma$250A reinstatement fee of $275 plus $125 administrative fee
Oregon$130-$1,000License and registration reinstatement fee of $75
Pennsylvania$300Restoration fee of $88
Rhode Island$100-$1,000A reinstatement fee of $30 to $50
South Carolina$100-$550DMV lapse fee of $5 per day up to $200, plus $550 uninsured motorist fee
South Dakota$100-$500A license reinstatement fee of $50 to $200, depending on the length of non-compliance, and $28 application fee
Tennessee$25-$300License and registration restoration fee of $65, plus $50 administrative fee
Texas$175-$300A reinstatement fee of $100
Utah$400-$1,000A reinstatement fee of $100
Vermont$0-$500Driver’s license reinstatement fee of $71
Virginia$500A registration reinstatement fee of $145
Washington$450-$1,000A reinstatement fee of $75
West Virginia$200-$5,000A registration reinstatement fee of $100
Wisconsin$510A license reinstatement fee of $60
Wyoming$250-$1,500A reinstatement fee of $50

Driving uninsured can get expensive, with fines of anywhere between $25 and $5,000 and reinstatement fees ranging from daily charges to fees of up to $500.
It’s also important to note that your home insurance will not cover you, even temporarily. You must have separate auto insurance to meet your state requirements.

If you don’t meet the insurance requirements in Texas or any other state, you’ll pay for it. Not to mention that because of this, when you go to get an insurance policy, your monthly premiums will be higher because of the legal infractions.

No driver should allow a lapse in their insurance coverage of more than 30 days. This kind of lapse will cause your auto insurance rates to be much higher when you finally get a regular insurance policy, even basic liability car insurance. By buying temporary car insurance, you will protect yourself from this kind of problem. However, the time that you have temporary coverage can show up as a lapse in coverage since it’s not traditional coverage.

The legal and financial ramifications could be extremely costly if you have an accident while driving without car insurance coverage. If you even buy temporary auto insurance, you can protect yourself from a large percentage of car repairs or the cost of replacements, not to mention medical expenses.

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Medical bills alone can include prolonged hospital stays, surgery, expensive prescriptions, and follow-up aftercare, such as physical therapy. This could be something you would have to pay for yourself, another driver, or both out of your own pocket if you lack insurance coverage.

Remember, even if you think you are covered by your friend, spouse, or employer’s policy, do not wait to find out the hard way that you are not. In the event of an accident, if you are driving without insurance, you will be held liable.

A large percentage of drivers each year get left picking up the pieces in the aftermath because they thought they were covered as a driver. Unfortunately, there is no way to fix this situation after an accident.

What Else Should you Know About Temporary Car Insurance

If you think you might buy temporary auto insurance coverage, you should know a few other things. For example:

Commonly, temporary insurance policies are taken out for anywhere from one to 28 days, or almost one month. A very popular option is the seven-day car insurance policy. You can extend this longer. If you’re looking for car insurance for one month, you’ll want to explore the 28-day policies.

You should have a temporary policy for however long you need to make sure you are an insured motorist.

There are different options for your temporary policy. Make sure you get the one that works best for you, not just the cheapest or the one an insurance provider decides you should have.

How much does the average person spend on temporary insurance costs? That depends on a lot of factors, but like all policies, you can shop around for cheap average rates.

Remember that if you are driving a car of higher value, you should never settle for a basic car insurance policy. Repairs will cost more, and you will be left to pay the difference out of your own pocket anyway.

Consider what you will be using your car for during this short-term coverage period, and make sure you are covered for things like collisions with other vehicles and structures and animals.

With that in mind, make sure you also have protection from things like theft, fire, storms, and acts of God. Too many drivers assume this is part of their standard car insurance coverage, and it is not. Even vandalism can be covered in a temporary insurance policy, but only if you make sure it is included. Also, your auto insurance doesn’t cover if items are stolen from your car. Your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance would.

You may even want or need to have a policy that could offer coverage in the event of a breakdown. It could be helpful if you use a friend’s car or need rental car coverage.

It’s also important to note that not all companies will offer this coverage option. However, temporary car insurance providers specialize in this type of coverage.

If you are thinking of a temporary policy because you don’t drive as much as you used to, know that there are other coverage options out there. For example, you can choose a usage-based car insurance policy that will only charge you for the miles you drive. This type of policy will still allow you to drive legally, but the less you drive, the more you save.

Temporary Car Insurance: The Bottom Line

A lapse in insurance can cost you in a number of ways, including being caught driving uninsured, payments of reinstatement fees for any loss of driving privileges, and increasing auto insurance rates based on the now higher risk you pose as a driver because of that period of time where you had a lapse in coverage.

But you don’t have to find yourself in this situation. Purchase temporary car insurance, which can be anything from five-day car insurance coverage and one-week insurance for new drivers to 30-day or two-month car insurance coverage. You’ll be able to protect yourself from a lapse in coverage or driving uninsured.

Make sure you purchase the level of coverage you need based on how you plan to drive under this temporary insurance. There’s no excuse for a lapse in coverage, especially because you don’t have to purchase coverage for six months at a time. You can purchase seven-day car insurance online and other temporary coverage.

Where can I find cheap short-term car insurance near me? What about cheap two-day or 14-day car insurance? Can you get the right car insurance for just one month? The best way to find cheap car insurance or any other form of temporary coverage is to shop around.

Enter your ZIP code, and you can find the best temporary auto insurance rates by comparing the cheapest car insurance quotes today.