Technically, most reputable providers do not sell term auto insurance. If you see an ad for short-term car insurance, it could be a scam. It can also be an attempt to lure you to a website and sell you a standard insurance policy.
How to Get Short Term Car Insurance
Just because most providers don’t offer a product labeled “short-term coverage” doesn’t mean you don’t have options. Quality providers can offer several ways to take care of your need for a term insurance policy. Here are some options you may have:
1. Buy your policy and cancel it
The most direct way to get short-term car insurance is to buy a regular policy and then cancel it when you no longer need cover. You do not need to inform the insurer at the time of purchase that you plan to cancel. If you pay the full premium in advance, you will usually get a pro-rated refund upon cancellation.
Some providers charge cancellation fees for terminating your policy early, but many do not. If you’re looking for term insurance, check to see if an insurer charges a fee. If so, factor these charges into the total cost of coverage when comparing providers.
2. Use the car rental company’s insurance
If all you need is rental car insurance, you can get it from car rental companies. Coverage types and amounts vary, but each policy must cover at least the minimum requirements of the state where you rent the vehicle.
Drivers who want more coverage than a standard rental policy can usually purchase at the rental counter. In addition to higher coverage limits, you may be eligible for options such as roadside assistance.
3. Get non-owner car insurance
Many insurers sell non-owner insurance policies that cover you while driving a car that is not yours. This can include company cars, ride-sharing and car-sharing vehicles, as well as those owned by family members and friends.
Non-homeowner insurance policies are often much cheaper than homeowner insurance policies. However, this is largely because they generally only cover property damage and liability claims. The car owner’s existing policy would pay for other claims depending on the types of coverage they have.
4. Use specialized discounts
Some people need temporary coverage because they don’t have regular access to their vehicle. This can include students who leave their cars at home and active duty military personnel.
For many of these drivers, insurers offer specialized discounts that can reduce the cost of a policy. Some providers, for example, offer discounts for students absent from school. Others give military discounts. Some insurers even offer lower premiums just for agreeing to a regular storage period.
The best way to learn about these discounts is to talk to an insurance agent. They may even know of savings opportunities that aren’t listed on the company’s website.
5. Try usage-based insurance
Rather than setting a flat rate, usage-based insurance policies charge you based on the length of your ride. Some may also charge based on telematics data collected from phone devices or apps that monitor your driving habits.
If you don’t drive a lot, a per-mile car insurance policy could be significantly cheaper than a standard policy. However, this type of usage-based coverage could cost more if you drive more often than expected.
Additionally, many usage-based programs consider safety when monitoring your driving habits. If you’re prone to late-night or speeding driving, seriously consider whether one of these programs is a good option for you.