Find Deals on Short Term Car Insurance

By Desiree Baughman
Desiree maintains insurance licensure in 46 states, and by combining years of experience as a writer and insurance professional, she delivers information consumers can easily relate to and understand. A graduate of Sweet Briar College with a diverse writing portfolio, she regularly serves as an expert source and commentator for respected outlets like CBS Money, Bankrate, and Ragan.com.

Find Deals on Short Term Car Insurance

It’s a rare situation, but sometimes drivers need car insurance on a temporary, short term basis. What if you want to borrow your brother’s car for the weekend? Or maybe you store a classic car that you want to take out on the next sunny day for a joyride (but not a speeding ticket, deal?). In these situations, short term car insurance is the way to go.

Insurers are quick to remind you that short term car insurance is more expensive than the rate you’d expect for the typical twelve-month policy. But this ‘temporary insurance’, as it’s commonly referred to, can still be had at bargain bin prices. If you only need auto insurance for a small amount of time or intermittently, here’s what you should know about short term coverage.

What Is Short Term Coverage?

Here’s what you can expect from a typical short term auto insurance policy:

  • Higher premium costs: Compared to your annual policy, rates will be higher for the same coverage on a temporary basis.
  • 1 to 28 day coverage: Short term car insurance policies are usually written for a month or less, though they can be extended up to a full six months, depending on the insurer.
  • Liability coverage: In most states this is required. Covers damage you might do to others.
  • Comprehensive and collision coverage: Just like standard auto insurance, full coverage (comprehensive plus collision coverage) is optional on a short term policy. Full coverage protects your property. More specifically, it pays for damages to your vehicle, particularly if you cause an accident (collision coverage) or if your vehicle is damaged but no other vehicles are involved (comprehensive coverage; crashing into a tree, for example). Because short term car insurance can be pricey, electing to skip these coverage options can be a way to save money. Just remember that without comprehensive and collision coverage, you won’t have any coverage on your vehicle.
  • Deductibles may be flexible:Just like standard auto insurance coverage, you can usually raise deductibles to get lower rates.

Three Ways to Find Deals on Short Term Car Insurance

Finding short term car insurance on a shoestring budget is possible, as long as you follow these three steps:

1. Check With Your Current Insurer

If you already have insurance on your home or any other vehicle you own, you’re ahead of the game.  Check with your insurance provider to see if they offer short term insurance, and get some quotes. Be ready and prepared to provide them with all of the information they’ll need to insure your vehicle on a short term basis:

  • The year
  • The make
  • The model
  • The VIN (vehicle identification number)

As a smart consumer, stop yourself at the quote that your insurance company provides you and thank them for their time. Before signing on the dotted line for any policy, you’ll want to do more research. Your insurer may well offer the best rate and coverage options, but not necessarily.

2. Source Other Credible Insurers

Once you have a good idea of what you can get and for how much, it’s time to start looking for other insurers who may be willing to give you an even better deal. Search online to find reputable companies who offer short term auto policies. If you find a lead, make sure the company you’re interested in is licensed to sell insurance in your state. When you call for a quote, be ready to provide them with all of the basic information as listed above, as well as your name, address, driver’s license number and information about any recent accidents or tickets issued.  Request quotes from each company, but don’t just look for the lowest price. Specific coverage may differ widely across companies and policies. Find out what is covered and excluded so you know exactly what you’re paying for. A slightly more expensive policy may end up being a better deal.

3. Time To Compare

Armed with multiple quotes and thorough, specific information about coverage, it’s time to compare policies and make a decision. Price and coverage are the most important considerations regarding the product, of course, but what about the company behind the policy? Here’s how to check up on an insurer before buying a policy:

  • Consumer reviews/reports: Take the time to read online reviews and see what other people have to say about the company.  Stop by the company’s website and find out how long they’ve been in business. Check out independent professional reviews from companies like Consumer Reports.
  • The Better Business Bureau: Give the local BBB a quick call to see if any complaints have been filed against the insurance company in your area.
  • State Insurance Commission or Department: Every state has one, and you might as well use it. Here you should be able to find complaint statistics and possibly information about the financial health of any insurer operating in your state.

Short Term Car Insurance Isn’t Available to Everybody

Not everyone will be eligible to take advantage of short term car insurance.  For example, most insurance companies only cover drivers between the ages of 18 and 75, and some carry a higher age minimum of 21. If you have a poor claims history, several points against your license or have any prior motoring convictions, then insurance companies may find you ineligible for short term insurance. Many insurance companies will also require you to hold an American driver’s license or possibly a license from a particular state.