Short-Term Car Insurance


Have you ever needed to use a vehicle that was not yours for a temporary period of time? Maybe you packing up all of your stuff in your downtown apartment, moving it all to a suburban home, the problem is you have a compact car that does not fit much.  It is a good thing you have a friend with a big pickup truck and a trailer. You ask him to borrow the truck for the weekend. Just don’t forget to consider short-term car insurance.

You and your friend likely did not even think twice about the weekend vehicle exchange. He trusts you and your driving abilities and you both probably assumed that the vehicle was protected by the auto insurance policy the vehicle has.

You probably assumed that your car insurance policy covers any car that you happen to be driving; the problem is that it rarely does. Your car insurance policy protects you when you are driving your car or the cars listed on your insurance policy. Some policies do offer protection for rental cars, but you have to check with your policy beforehand.

If you get into an accident while using your buddy’s truck you may be left to pay for any damages out of pocket

What is short-term car insurance?

As defined by Cars Direct, short-term car insurance is used to provide coverage for cars or situations that are temporary. This can range from anything from a rental car to owning or using a vehicle temporally owning or using a vehicle. There is even temporary auto insurance coverage for weather conditions like hurricanes and floods.

There is rental car insurance specifically, so a scenario involving a rental vehicle is not the best example. Short-term car insurance policies have the same concept. The policy is short and provides you coverage or as little as one day and as long as a few months.

This could be considered non-standard auto insurance.

When is short-term car insurance needed?

The moving truck example above is maybe one of the more common examples, but there are many scenarios in which temporary car insurance policies may actually be useful.  Here are a few examples:

  • If you are a driver that just moved from one state to anther and needed to switch auto insurance polices to abide by a state’s auto insurance laws then you can benefit from a short-term auto insurance policy to protect you through that car insurance application process.
  • Maybe you are having houseguests from another state or country who will be using your vehicle for a number of weeks. You can contact your independent insurance agent to potentially adding a person to your existing auto insurance policy temporarily or you can purchase a short-term auto insurance policy.
  • If, for some reason, you find yourself owning a vehicle for temporary period of time then short-term auto insurance is a good option. Maybe you were in an accident and you are borrowing your parent’s car to commute to work while you gather some money together for a new vehicle, or maybe you inherited a vehicle for some reason and just want to insure it until you are able to sell it. No matter the reason, temporary ownership of a vehicle is a great example for why short-term auto insurance is there.
  • The same can apply for a vehicle that is being kept in storage and needs protection from any damages or accidents that may occur in the storage location.
  • Some auto insurance polices do allow short-term auto insurance for students that may only use a vehicle for a short time. If you have a college student that uses your vehicle when home for summer break then it is probably cheaper to just purchase short-term auto insurance coverage for them instead of listing them on your auto insurance policy all year long.
  • If you just purchased a car and are driving it right off the lot, short-term car insurance is a great way to get immediate drive-away insurance to get you through until your auto insurance policy permanently kicks in.

What does short-term car insurance provide?

As we have learned, short-term car insurance is designed to give temporary coverage for someone’s borrowed vehicle. Since most personal auto insurance companies do not provide coverage for these scenarios, you will want temporary coverage, but what exactly does it provide compared to the insurance you permanently have on your vehicle?

Insurance QNA, gives a good breakdown of the characteristics involved with short-term car insurance. Short-term car insurance policies often have much higher premium costs than your annual car insurance policy. This is because the insurance company has to make some money, and when policies last as little as a few days and as long as a few months, they want to protect themselves as much as they want to protect you and your vehicles.

In terms of the coverage that the short-term policy provides, there really are no restrictions other than the length in which you are able to have the policy. It is defined as short-term auto insurance, so you will not be able to utilize the insurance for any more than six months or so, but if you want the same coverage that you have with your permanent car insurance policy, you can have it, or you can just get the most basic level of liability coverage, protecting you in the event that you get in an accident that you are at fault. If you are only driving the vehicle for a short period of time then liability coverage is probably enough, but if you are driving your friend’s vehicle for a while and want to make sure that you are able to replace the vehicle in the event that you get into a major accident then you will want to add comprehensive and collision coverage to the short-term policy.

When applying for a short-term auto insurance policy, your local independent insurance agent will ask you a few standard questions. They will want to know the vehicle information, including the year, make, model, whether it is owned or leased, daily and annual mileage, primary use, type of security it has and where it will be parked most of the time. Like with any auto insurance policy, this information is used to determine the risk of the vehicle if a claim is filed. Same rules apply. The safer the vehicle the lower the insurance premiums will be.

The agent will also ask about the personal information for the person that will need the short-term auto insurance policy. The insurance company will want to know the age, sex, credit rating, occupation, education, license statues and whether or not they are currently covered under a personal auto insurance policy.

Lastly the agent will want to know what kind of coverage specifications you are looking for with your short-term auto insurance policy. This includes amounts for comprehensive and collision deductibles.

In most cases insurance companies will cover drivers between the ages of 18 to 75. If you have a solid driving record with minimal traffic violations or accidents, then you should be in good standing for a short-term auto insurance policy. If you have a history of filing a lot of claims with your permanent auto insurance policy then you may have issues.

How much will short-term car insurance cost?

Before discussing the cost of short-term car insurance it is important to consider the long-term costs you could otherwise pay if you purchased an annual car insurance policy instead. This is especially true when you are adding a college students or family member to your policy that may only drive your vehicle for a few months here and there. You can list them on your policy and pay for them as if they are driving year-round, or you can just call your insurance agent when they come home to drive.

Short-term car insurance polices do have higher premiums than your average annual car insurance policy, but it is always smart to first look at the long-term savings and then look at the money you are saving with the insurance protection. Without the coverage, you may be left with thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses to pay for damages to a vehicle that you were not insured to drive. The higher premiums are a short-term solution to a short term problem.

Where and how can I get short-term car insurance coverage?

Getting a short-term auto insurance policy is pretty easy. Most insurance companies will offer it to their existing customers. If you contact the local auto insurance agent hat you worked with when purchasing your annual personal auto insurance policy, they will be able to walk your through the process.

If you know you are going to be borrowing that friend’s truck for a weekend and know that you are going to be driving a considerable amount then just give your local auto insurance agent a call. They will be able to streamline the process so that you are able to move into your home without the worry of getting into an accident that could add thousands of dollars to the whole ordeal. In fact, we happen to be showing a local agent in the upper right of this page. Drop them a line, what could it hurt?

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Enhanced Insurance is not written by attorneys. If you’re looking for legal advice, you need to contact a lawyer. Further, insurance practices and forms change constantly and are varied from state to state. For definitive answers in your area, contact a local agent.

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