Let’s look at the options for temporary car insurance.

 

Signing up for car insurance can feel like a huge commitment. Even if your insurance company offers a monthly payment schedule, you are typically required to choose a six or twelve-month contract. So, does month-to-month car insurance exist?

In short, not usually. Temporary car insurance in the United States is very rare, at least when marketed as such. There are a few circumstances when month-to-month car insurance makes sense, but you are unlikely to find a legitimate company that offers short-term plans. This does not mean you can’t find cheap quotes for your needs, though.

Even if you’re driving your car for just a few weeks – or days – nearly all states legally require car insurance. We recommend sticking to best car insurance companies and making longer plans work for your timeframe. We’ll dive into how to do this below.

To start comparing free quotes for auto insurance, use the tool below below. Or, for an even easier process, call our team at (855) 518-0148 to get free, personalized quotes seven days a week.

 
 

In this article:

What Is Month-To-Month Car Insurance?

Month-to-month car insurance provides coverage for up to 28 days. A monthly car insurance policy is intended to offer the same comprehensive coverage as an annual policy, but its flexible duration means you only pay for it when you need it.

That being said, within the U.S., temporary auto insurance is essentially nonexistent. Companies that claim otherwise often leave out costly stipulations. These agencies know that consumers are looking to save money by choosing a short-term car insurance plan instead of signing on for a longer contract. In most cases with car insurance companies, the shorter the policy, the fewer discounts on monthly premiums.

There are some variations of car insurance that are more temporary in nature. For example:

  • Car insurance from a rental company
  • Six-month contracts with no cancellation fees
  • Adding a new car onto an existing policy for a short period of time
  • Discounted car insurance for students, military members, and bundled or family plans

You can also get usage-based car insurance to save money if you don’t drive often or rideshare insurance if you’re just looking for coverage when you’re driving for Uber or Lyft. We’ll go into all of these options a bit more in detail below, as some of them could be a great option to work with a reputable company without the risk of a long-term contract.

So, can you legally get month-to-month car insurance? What about 30-day car insurance? We recommend keeping a safe distance from any plan that feels too good to be true.

Who Needs Temporary Car Insurance?

Let’s go through a few common scenarios that would cause you to look for temporary car insurance. Keep in mind that there may be better solutions for these circumstances, but we’ll break down the main reasons drivers are drawn to the search:

  • You’re a college student who comes home over summer and winter breaks to use your parent’s car for just a few months a year.
  • You often use a rideshare program whose car insurance is not thorough enough or too expensive.
  • You’re renting a car on vacation and the offered car insurance is not thorough enough or too expensive.
  • You regularly borrow a friend or family member’s car.
  • You recently moved and need immediate insurance, but want to shop around before signing an annual contract.
  • You plan to resell a car soon after buying it, but need to drive it around in the meantime.

 


 

Why Do Car Insurance Companies Have Longer Terms?

Setting up new car insurance does not lend itself to short-term or month-to-month car insurance plans. This is due to two main reasons:

  • The underwriting period
  • Down payments

The Underwriting Period

The underwriting period is a stage when an insurance company analyzes the risk of insuring your car and your driving. Companies consider a combination of factors like your age, credit history, driving record, zip code, and vehicle details to determine your car insurance rate.

If you need car insurance for just a few days or for a monthly car insurance plan, it doesn’t make sense for you or the company to go through this in-depth process.

Down Payments

All car insurance companies require some money down to start your contract. Some request a percentage of your annual or six-month premium, while others ask for one month upfront as a down payment. You may also have the chance to pay your premium in full for a discount.

One way you can get a sort of month-to-month car insurance is to sign up for a longer plan that does not include a cancellation fee. Most companies even offer prorated refunds by the day. So if you cancel your plan halfway through the month, you could receive the amount of money already paid that was not used as a refund.

 


 

How Much Does Car Insurance Cost Per Month?

As you’re comparing auto insurance quotes, you’ll notice that average month-to-month car insurance rates vary by state for a handful of reasons. For one, stricter state requirements mean more coverage, while those with fewer plan requirements mean more competitive rates from company to company.

There are plenty of local factors, too, such as accident rates, how you store your car, and even how many expensive vehicles are in your area. Moving to a new neighborhood could actually change how much your auto insurance costs.

The Insurance Information Institute conducted a study in 2016 on the average annual costs of car insurance in states throughout the U.S. New Jersey came in at the top of the list for the most expensive state for auto insurance at $1,309.29 per year, or about $109.11 per month. Idaho was found to have the cheapest car insurance at $599.77 per year, or $49.98 per month.

Most companies offer refunds on car insurance if you cancel early, move to an area that lowers your rate, change your plan, or sell your vehicle. You are more likely to get a refund if you paid for your plan in full beforehand, but you may still receive a small refund for a few days depending on when you canceled your plan.

Cost Of Rental Insurance

What about car insurance for 30 days or less, such as with a rental car? If you go through the car rental company, the company’s collision damage waiver can run anywhere between $10 and $30 dollars a day, according to U.S. News & World Reports – which is far over state averages for a month of car insurance.

 


 

Usage-Based Car Insurance

Usage-based car insurance lets you only pay for the amount you drive your car or set your premium based on your predicted schedule. It can be a good alternative in lieu of month-to-month car insurance – particularly for someone who only drives locally a few times a week or for someone planning to resell a recently purchased car.

Here are a few good options from top-rated companies for usage-based insurance plans:

Company Usage-Based Option Details Provider's Overall Rating

USAA Car Insurance

SafePilotTM

Mobile app that gives you an annual mileage discount

5.0

Geico Auto Insurance

DriveEasy

Mobile app that tracks driving habits

4.5

Progressive Car Insurance

Snapshot

Mobile app that tracks miles and driving habits

4.5

State Farm Auto Insurance

Drive Safe & Save™

Mobile app that tracks driving habits

4.5

Root Auto Insurance

Root app

Mobile app that tracks driving habits

4.0

American Family Auto Insurance

KnowYourDrive

Mobile app that tracks driving habits

4.0

MetroMile Insurance

Pay-per-mile insurance

Mobile app that tracks miles only

3.5

 

Use the tool below or reach us at (855) 518-0148 to compare prices for the top-rated companies using your specific information:

 
 

 


 

Rideshare Insurance

As more and more freelancers build careers as rideshare drivers with companies like Uber and Lyft, or food delivery drivers with companies like DoorDash, many look for month-to-month car insurance to supplement plans offered by these companies.

Padding your company-provided insurance is a good bet, in our opinion. Many major car insurance companies offer rideshare insurance for the needs of the modern gig economy. You should note that you must alert your insurance company if you plan to drive your vehicle for commercial purposes. If not, your personal car insurance plan will most likely not cover the cost of accidents the moment you’re available for business.

If you plan to pick up some side work or start a new ridesharing business, speak to your auto insurance company about add-ons to your current plan. You may also be able to pay monthly for a business car insurance policy that does not have cancellation fees and offers refunds for cancellations before the term has ended.

 


 

Rental Car Insurance

How about month-to-month car insurance for a long-term or short-term car rental? If you head to a rental booth at the airport to kick off your vacation, car rental insurance in the U.S. typically includes:

  • BI and PD liability coverage
  • Personal accident insurance
  • Collision damage waiver
  • Personal effects coverage

Before jumping into supplementary plans, consider if you really need it. Many credit card companies actually offer some form of extra rental car insurance when you use the card to book the rental, so you might already be covered.

You can also check if your normal car insurance plan extends to rental car coverage within the U.S. This can change based on the value of the car you rent, however. If you choose a car with a much higher value than your vehicle back home, your policy may not offer enough coverage.

 


 

So, Can You Get Temporary Car Insurance?

Month-to-month car insurance may not be as flexible and cost-effective as it initially sounds. It is also not offered in the U.S. in the way many people believe.

Your best bet is calling a top-rated car insurance company and explaining your specific needs. Insurance agents have heard it all before and are there to help you get the most from your plan. Companies may be able to design a six-month contract with enough discounts to get your premium way below what you would have thought.

 


 

Our Recommendations For Auto Insurance

Ready to look at some alternatives to month-to-month car insurance? You may have the most luck with companies that offer flexible, six-month plans. Here are a few companies to get you started.

Company 6-Month Plan Cancellation Fee Overall Rating

Geico Auto Insurance

Yes

No

4.5

Progressive Car Insurance

Yes

Depends

4.5

USAA Car Insurance*

Yes

No

5.0

AAA Car Insurance

Yes

No

4.0

 

*Only for military members, veterans, and their families.

Anytime you shop for car insurance, you should get car insurance quotes from more than one company. Some providers are cheaper than others, but there are other factors that affect your rate, like your age and the type of car you drive. The only way to know what you will actually pay is to get a quote.

Use the tool below to get started or give our team a call at (855) 518-0148 to get free, personalized quotes.

 
 

Read our other insurance articles: