Even if your insurance company offers a monthly payment schedule, you are typically required to choose a six or twelve-month contract. Those looking for short-term options, might be interested in month-to-month car insurance. But does this type of insurance exist?
In short, not usually. Temporary car insurance in the United States is very rare. There are a few circumstances when month-to-month auto 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 the best car insurance providers and making longer plans work for your time frame. We’ll dive into how to do this below.
To start comparing free car insurance quotes, enter your zip code in the tool below. Or, for an even easier process, call our team at (844) 246-8209 to get free, personalized quotes seven days a week.
In this article:
- What Is Month-To-Month Car Insurance?
- Why Do Car Insurance Companies Have Longer Terms?
- How Much Does Car Insurance Cost Per Month?
- Alternatives To Month-To-Month Car Insurance
- Our Verdict On Temporary Car Insurance
- Our Recommendations For Car Insurance
- FAQ: Month-To-Month Car Insurance
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, 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 Short-Term 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 in the meantime.
Why Is It Difficult To Get Short-Term Car Insurance?
Most insurance companies in the United States offer only six-month or 12-month policies because the returns from temporary car insurance policies are not worth the administrative costs. You may also be able to find month-to-month car insurance, but it likely won't be offered by reputable providers.
Since customers looking for short-term car insurance are generally not likely to renew their policies, companies do not find this segment very attractive. Also, there are more risks associated with short-term car insurance because such policies can often be misused by people looking for a quick insurance payout.
Why Do Car Insurance Companies Have Longer Terms?
Car insurance plans do not lend themselves to short-term or month-to-month car coverage. 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.
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 insurance premium in full for a discount.
One way you can get 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. However, this is not recommended as it could lead to more expensive insurance rates down the road.
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 auto insurance coverage, while those with fewer plan requirements mean more competitive auto insurance 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 published a study in 2021 on the average annual costs of car insurance in states throughout the U.S. Insurance cost data from 2018 was collected and Louisiana had the most expensive total average annual premium at $1,751.37 per year. Maine was found to have the cheapest car insurance at $782.72 per year. The countrywide average was $1,189.64.
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 the state averages for a month of car insurance.
Enter your zip code in the tool below or reach us at (844) 246-8209 to compare prices for the top-rated companies using your specific information:
Alternatives To Month-To-Month Car Insurance
Depending on your situation, there are often better solutions to getting temporary car insurance coverage. Some alternatives to consider include usage-based car insurance, rideshare insurance, and rental car insurance. You could also reach out to your insurance company to see if they offer a six-month policy in place of the traditional twelve-month policy.
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||Motor1 |
|USAA Auto Insurance||SafePilot™||A mobile app that gives you |
an annual mileage discount
|Geico Auto Insurance||DriveEasy||A mobile app that tracks driving habits||4.6|
|Progressive Auto Insurance||Snapshot®||A mobile app that tracks miles and driving habits||4.6|
|State Farm Auto Insurance||Drive Safe & Save™||A mobile app that tracks driving habits||4.6|
|Root Car Insurance||Root app||A mobile app that tracks driving habits||4.0|
|American Family Car Insurance||KnowYourDrive||A mobile app that tracks driving habits||4.2|
|MetroMile Insurance||Pay-per-mile insurance||A mobile app that tracks miles only||3.8|
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 auto 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 auto 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.
Our Verdict On 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 Car Insurance
Ready to look at some alternatives to month-to-month auto 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||Average Monthly Rate Estimate|
|Geico Auto Insurance||Yes||No||$113|
|Progressive Car Insurance||Yes||Depends||$116|
|USAA Car Insurance*||Yes||No||$84|
|AAA Car Insurance||Yes||No||N/A|
*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 insurers 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 (844) 246-8209 to get personalized, free quotes to start comparing cheap car insurance options.
In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of auto insurance providers to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.
- Industry Standing: Insurers with strong financial ratings and customer-first business practices receive the highest scores in this category.
- Availability: We consider availability by state as well as exclusions for specific groups of drivers.
- Coverage: This rating is based on types of insurance available, maximum coverage limits, and add-on policies.
- Cost and Discounts: Our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of drivers in every state. Companies with lower prices and many car insurance discount opportunities receive the best scores.
- Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and consumer feedback studies from experts like J.D. Power.
- Technology: Auto insurers with mobile apps, advanced online services and telematics are more likely to meet consumer needs.
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