Temporary Car Insurance: What Are the Options?

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Need car insurance for a car you will only be driving for a short term? You may have more than a few options to insure the car. Some people may consider temporary car insurance, but getting the insurance coverage you need may not require a separate policy from your own car. 

What Is Temporary Car Insurance?

Temporary car insurance or short term car insurance is for when you will only require insurance on a car for a short period of time, due to a variety of circumstances. Insurance companies, in general, tend to write standard car insurance policies that usually last for a term of one year. They are not usually in the business of writing insurance for short terms like a few days, so people often look for short-term or temporary insurance options instead.

Who Might Need or Consider Temporary Car Insurance?

  • People visiting a country on vacation for a short-term and buying a temporary car for the purpose of their visit.
  • People using a ride-sharing service, who need insurance for when they are driving, but do not actually own the car.
  • People who are in-between cars
  • People who are concerned about the liability limits on the car they are driving, so they want to supplement it with additional insurance. For example, if the car you are driving already has its own insurance, but you are worried that the minimum insurance may not fully cover your liability in a claim, you may decide to protect yourself by purchasing temporary car insurance as a supplementary insurance when the owner's insurance is not enough.
  • People who will rent a car that they do not own
  • People borrowing a car from a friend or family member for an extended period of time
  • People who will be driving rental cars on and off on several occasions or for a few months, and want to use a temporary car insurance to avoid high rental company insurance fees, and do not have their own permanent car insurance.
  • People using ride-sharing, or if they do not own the car but will be driving frequently.
  • People who are buying a car for a short period and then plan to resell it. If this is your situation, contact your own insurance company about this because you may be able to add this new temporary car to an existing policy instead of taking out a separate policy. This will save you money because you will get a multi-car discount while you insure your second car, and you may not even have a penalty when you delete the car because you aren't canceling the policy, you are just deleting a car. Check your options.

What You Need to Know Before Buying Temporary Car Insurance

People are often confused by the coverage that different car insurance policies provide, and depending on your circumstances you may not need this kind of coverage.

  • Before you decide you need to buy a supplemental liability policy or car insurance policy for temporary reasons, contact your last car insurance company, your current home insurance company, or a licensed insurance representative and explain your circumstance to them. They may surprise you by letting you know you actually have coverage already, or they may be able to give you a suggestion to insure what you are worried about. 
  • Find out if you can purchase an insurance policy with a shorter term, for example, a 6-month policy. 
  • You should also speak to the owner of the car you will be using, if it is not you, and have them ask their own insurance company if your use of their car is covered. You may not have to purchase any coverage if their policy will cover you.

Non-owner liability policies are possible to purchase for temporary insurance situations when you do not own a car, however, this may not be your only option which is why it is a good idea to speak to an insurance professional to get the best advice. Non-owner liability policies also do not cover the physical damage to the car, so be sure and go through the checklist below, to see what coverages you need and want when you look for temporary automobile insurance.

Does Your Personal Car Insurance Cover a Temporary Car?

Your car insurance policy may cover rental cars. If it does, you may not need to buy any temporary car insurance through a rental agency.

The coverage will generally reflect the same coverages you have on your own car. For example, if you have a $500 deductible on comprehensive coverage, this same coverage and deductible would extend to your rental car. Whatever deductibles and coverage limits you have on your own car would extend to the rental car. Check with your car insurance company to confirm you have the proper coverage before renting the car. They will be in the best position to help you and offer appropriate coverages for your situation.

Rental car insurance on your personal car insurance policy may not extend to business rented or business use cars.

Non-Owner Liability Policy

Non-owner liability policies are meant to cover specific circumstances and do have some exclusions on the definition of car that may be insured under the policy.

Who Sells Non-Owner Liability Policies?

You can do a search online to find a good rate on a non-owner liability policy. Many of the main stream insurance companies do offer Non-Owned Liability policies, so it really is a good idea to start with your own insurance company. They may be able to save you some money by helping you make sure you are not doubling up on your coverage unnecessarily.

What's Covered by Temporary Car Insurance?

Depending on the kind of temporary insurance you decide to purchase, you will have different coverage options. Basically, inquire about the following basic car insurance coverages, to best understand the policy before you buy it.

  • Liability
  • Comprehensive Coverage
  • Collision coverage
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorists
  • medical payments
  • Towing
  • Loss of Use

How Much Does Temporary Car Insurance Cost?

The price of temporary car insurance will depend on the what kind of car you are insuring, how you will be using it, your personal insurance history, and length of time you require the short-term or temporary insurance for.

Depending on where you buy the temporary insurance, the cost will vary greatly. For example, if you buy temporary car insurance when you rent a car from a rental agency, it will likely cost much more than if you find a temporary car insurance through an insurance company. It is worth shopping around and seeing what coverage you can get from your own insurance company before making a decision.

Visiting the U.S. and Bringing Your Car From Another Country

People visiting another country and bringing their car with them, but only for a short term, may also look into temporary car insurance. For example, if you were to drive to Mexico and spend a few weeks in the country, you could get temporary car insurance to cover you there.

Will Home Insurance Cover Temporary Car Insurance?

Home insurance does not cover temporary car insurance. In general, the liability of a home insurance policy excludes liability for automobiles.

Some excess liability policies may offer coverage for Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) Motorists Protection. One example is Chubb, who specializes in high-value home insurance.

What About Personal Effects in a Car? 

Rental agencies sometimes ask if you would like to purchase personal effects insurance.

If you lose items in a car during a car claim, then your personal effects may be covered under your homeowner insurance policy or renters policy. Items that are not attached to the car, or a part of the vehicle itself are not covered under car insurance. With a personal effects coverage from a rental car agency, these may also be covered.

If you claim personal property on a home or tenant policy, note that your claim would likely be subject to a deductible and may also have consequences like losing your loss free discount.