How To Get Short-Term Auto Insurance for One Month

If you borrow or rent a car for a short time, you may need temporary month-by-month car insurance. Check out our guide and compare free quotes for one-month auto insurance below.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Jun 10, 2022

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Things to Remember

  • Most states require auto insurance even if the car you are driving is not yours
  • Buying a standard insurance policy for a short-term situation is not cost-effective
  • Some insurance companies offer short-term auto insurance plans that can be paid month-by-month

Whenever you drive a car, having insurance is important. Whether you get a full policy or month-by-month car insurance, you need coverage.

Accidents happen all the time no matter how carefully you drive, and even when an accident is not your fault, there are situations that can end up costing you a lot of money. Each state has minimum car insurance coverage requirements. Insurance is not something you should ever drive without.

This applies to temporary situations in which you are borrowing or renting a car. In these cases, rather than spend the money for a full auto insurance policy, look for a company that offers temporary car insurance coverage.

Situations That May Require Month-by-Month Car Insurance

As well as being legally required in most states, driving without insurance under any circumstances is risky. Even if an accident occurs that is not your fault, the other driver may not have coverage, and if you don’t either, you will have to pay for your damages out of pocket. These can be very expensive, and it can be extra stressful if the car you drove belongs to someone else.

There are several situations in which you may be using a vehicle temporarily and don’t already have insurance. These are the primary times you may need temporary auto insurance coverage such as insuring a vehicle for a month:

  • Borrowing a car from a family member or friend while yours is undergoing repairs
  • Taking the wheel of another person’s car while sharing the driving on a lengthy road trip
  • Renting a car for a period of a month or more, when you would rather not use the rental company’s policy

In any of these cases, a short-term policy is likely preferable to getting a standard contract.

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The Way One-Month Auto Insurance Works

In nearly every state, auto insurance is a necessity even if the vehicle you are driving doesn’t belong to you. Driving without insurance in any case is a huge risk. This is the purpose of a short-term policy. It saves on the expenses of having to buy a standard auto insurance policy that you will not need for most of its term.

Most short-term policies only provide coverage for basic liability. This means that if you are at fault in an accident, you are covered for injuries to other people, as well as damage to other vehicles and to property. Though you are not covered for injuries to yourself, basic liability is still important to have because it could save you thousands of dollars in damages that could destroy you financially.

When shopping for a policy, it’s important to look at the different types of auto insurance coverage available. There are insurance companies able to provide month-by-month car insurance that gives you all of the coverage required by the laws of your state.

The Cost of Short-Term Auto Insurance

In any business, buying in bulk usually leads to lower prices. The same is true of car insurance. What you would pay for one month of temporary insurance will generally be higher than the cost of a single month of a standard policy.  Many short-term policies have a minimum period of one month, even if you are driving the car for less time, and that one month of car insurance could cost as much as $200, as Wikipedia reports.

Just as with standard auto insurance, the cost of a short-term policy will vary according to several factors:

  • The state in which you live makes a difference. Prices can vary depending on state laws and accident statistics in different regions.
  • Your age also plays a big role in determining cost. Younger drivers have more accidents on average and so pay more for insurance, especially those in their late teens and early 20s.
  • Your gender is also a factor. It may not seem fair, but actuarial tables show that males, especially young ones, tend to drive more aggressively and get into more accidents.
  • Your driving experience is very important. The more years you have been driving, the better able you are to anticipate and avoid potential accidents.
  • Naturally, your driving history is a huge factor. A clean record demonstrates safe driving, while being involved in many accidents makes it much more likely you will file a claim during your term.
  • Your history of filing claims with auto insurance companies also matters. The more claims you have filed, the more likely you are to file one in the future.
  • In some states, an insurance company may check your credit score. This is not legal everywhere, so check on the laws of your state when seeking a temporary policy.

While you can’t do much about most of these factors, take what actions you can to reduce them, such as improving your credit score and being careful about when you file claims.

Take a look at this table to see what the average annual rate is for different coverage levels. This will give you an idea of the costs you may be looking at.

CompaniesAverage Annual Auto Insurance Rates for High CoverageAverage Annual Auto Insurance Rates for Low CoverageAverage Annual Auto Insurance Rates for Medium Coverage
Allstate$5,139.02$4,628.03$4,896.81
American Family$3,416.40$3,368.49$3,544.37
Farmers$4,494.13$3,922.47$4,166.22
GEICO$3,429.14$3,001.91$3,213.97
Liberty Mutual$6,356.04$5,805.75$6,058.57
Nationwide$3,505.37$3,394.83$3,449.80
Progressive$4,350.96$3,737.13$4,018.46
State Farm$3,454.80$3,055.40$3,269.80
Travelers$4,619.07$4,223.63$4,462.02
USAA$2,667.92$2,404.11$2,539.87
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Low coverage is about $312 a month, and full coverage is around $345 a month. While liability-only coverage will generally fulfill your minimum requirements, full coverage offers you much more peace of mind for only about a dollar more a day.

These auto coverages aren’t one size fits all. You can choose only the coverages that fit your needs. This can help keep your payment low.

Finding a One-Month Auto Insurance Policy

When searching for month-by-month car insurance or a policy of a month or less, you could check with a local agent who will have all the information you need. Online searches can also lead you to sites and companies that can help.

To save money, some people buy a standard policy and cancel it when they no longer need it. This can be a helpful temporary solution but can cost you more money down the road. Early cancellations create gaps in coverage. When you buy your next regular policy, it could cost you as much as an extra $15 per month.

There are several other options for short-term coverage:

  • Insurance for Rental Cars- Car rental companies generally offer insurance for the length of the rental. This tends to be expensive but has the advantage of not affecting your record of auto insurance at all. There are also credit cards that provide rental car insurance. 
  • Coverage Per Mile- If you won’t be driving very far or very often, per-mile coverage might be your best bet. This type of insurance tracks how far you drive as well as how you drive through an app. The advantage is that rather than an insurance company projecting how they think you will drive, the way you actually do is the determining factor in the rates.
  • Insurance for Non-Owners- Non-owner car insurance can be purchased for six months or a year and covers you any time you are driving a car that belongs to someone else. It is generally less expensive than regular insurance.

Depending on your situation, look into any of these options to save.

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Things To Remember About Month-by-Month Auto Insurance

There are times when you may need auto insurance coverage for a short period of a month or two. Rather than pay for a standard policy, there are other options. By doing research, you can find a company to provide you with the coverage your state requires for just the amount of time you need it.

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Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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