Major insurance companies typically only sell six-month or 12-month term policies, but there are clever ways to get around this. Canceling early, getting coverage from a rental car company or driving someone else’s car under permissive use can get you the coverage you need.
- People borrowing vehicles, test-driving, using cars short-term, navigating insurance gaps or hosting visitors needing to drive are likely looking for a one-week car insurance solution.
- Most car insurance companies do not offer short term car insurance, typically offering six or 12-month policies.
- Ads offering single-day or one-week car insurance are often untrustworthy and could be luring you into a scam.
Can You Buy One-Week Car Insurance?
Short-term car insurance, also called temporary car insurance, is not a standard insurance product. Generally, insurers offer insurance policies with six- or 12-month-long terms.
You may find ads for car insurance policies as short as one day, one week or a month. Do your research when buying insurance, even if you will only be using it temporarily. You may get stuck with iffy coverage and poor customer service.
However, there are unconventional ways you can get temporary car insurance.
How Much Does It Cost to Get One-Week Car Insurance?
State Farm charges $9 per week for liability-only coverage, while it offers a full coverage policy for $18 per week. It doesn’t charge a cancellation fee and offers many discounts to help you save.
Take note that if you buy car insurance, you’re usually required to pay for your first month before your policy is activated. If you only need insurance for a week, you’re free to cancel your policy as soon as you’re done driving.
Below, compare the cost of one-week car insurance by state against monthly rates. Use the dropdown to filter by age range and desired coverage level.
Whether you're borrowing someone else's car, renting a car for a week, traveling to a different state or temporarily relocating, you'll want to ensure you're adequately covered for that duration.
You'll find a comparison of one-week car insurance costs by state, alongside monthly and semi-annual rates below, where you'll find the cheapest company available for each state. Utilize the dropdown menu to narrow down results by age group and preferred coverage level.
Downside to Getting Short-Term Car Insurance
Insurers favor long-term customers since short-term ones might not cover administrative costs with their premiums.
While you might be free to cancel, whether you get a refund for the unused portion of your premium can vary based on the insurer's policies and potentially any state-specific regulations.
Most car insurance policies have a waiting period of at least 30 days before you can make a claim. This means that you will not be able to file a claim for damage to your car that occurs within the first 30 days of your policy being in effect.
Read your policy carefully before you decide if short-term car insurance is right for you.
Canceling your policy and going without coverage can lead to a lapse in coverage. You also won’t be able to drive legally unless you drive with permissive use or get car insurance from a rental car company.
How to Get One-Week Car Insurance
You can get one-week car insurance by purchasing a policy and canceling it early or getting car insurance from your rental car company.
In some cases, you may get automatic coverage by driving under permissive use.
More temporary car insurance hacks include:
Non-Owner Car Insurance
Non-owner car insurance is designed for people who don’t own cars but are licensed drivers.
Non-owner car insurance caters to those who drive occasionally, perhaps borrowing or renting cars. It's often a more budget-friendly option than conventional car insurance. The main focus of this insurance is liability. This means it covers expenses if you're at fault in an accident and cause bodily harm or property damage. In contrast, regular car insurance extends its coverage umbrella to include both comprehensive and collision options. The duration for both types of policies tends to be either six or 12 months.
MoneyGeek found that the average yearly cost for non-owner car insurance stands at $448. In comparison, a traditional policy with equivalent coverage is slightly more expensive at $490 annually.
Get on an Existing Car Insurance Policy
Thinking of using your roommate's car for a week? You can join their insurance for a short time. Just make sure you use the car for personal tasks. If it's for business, it's more complicated and will require business car insurance to cover extra drivers who don't live with the policy owner.
Yes — granted that your teen will be living with you for the duration of the policy.
If your teen driver does not have their own policy and only drives when they’re home on breaks from school, you can still add them to your policy. Some providers also offer distant student discounts for this scenario. However, expect a premium hike that usually comes along with adding a young driver to your insurance. If your teen driver has a car, drives regularly and lives away from home, they should get their own policy.
Drive With a Policyholder’s Permissive Use
Permissive use is a special provision that lets someone not named on your policy drive your car and still be safeguarded by your insurance. Think of it as an "unlisted driver" benefit.
Here's how it works:
- Getting Permission: You should obtain the car owner's consent to use their vehicle. This consent can be verbal or written.
- Usage Limits: Permissive use generally means occasional driving. For instance, if a friend borrows your car once a month, they're typically covered. But if, say, a family member uses your car daily after moving out, that might not qualify.
- Accidents and Coverage: If an accident happens while a permissive user is behind the wheel, your insurance usually steps in, but always consult your policy specifics to confirm.
Yes, you can add a temporary driver to your car insurance policy. This is sometimes known as named driver insurance or additional driver insurance.
To add a temporary driver, you will need to contact your insurance company and provide them with the driver's:
- Date of birth
- Driver's license information
- Specific duration for which you need coverage
However, note that to add any driver to your insurance, the additional insured must be living with you.
Get Rental Car Insurance
If you're thinking of renting a car for the weekend, many rental agencies offer weekend car insurance as an add-on. While this is a convenient option, MoneyGeek's research suggests it's often pricier than policies from independent insurers.
The term of these weekend car insurance offerings from rental companies typically aligns with your rental duration. Whether you opt for a basic or extended plan, ensure that it suits your needs and offers value for your money.
Buy a Traditional Policy and Cancel Early
Purchase the shortest term — typically six months — and choose to pay monthly. After a month or once you’re done driving, call your insurance provider to cancel your policy. You've only paid for one month, so there's no refund wait. However, be careful to choose an insurance company that does not charge a cancellation fee.
Who Should Get One-Week Car Insurance
People who only drive occasionally, drivers in between cars or policies or people renting cars are great candidates for short term car insurance.
You only drive occasionally
If you're not frequently behind the wheel, why pay a full year's insurance? Short-term car insurance might offer better value.
You’re borrowing someone else’s car
While borrowing a vehicle, it's wise — and often required — for you to have insurance coverage. However, in many cases, it's the car owner's insurance that will primarily be used in the event of an incident.
You don’t own a car and will be renting one
Rental companies mandate insurance. While some offer it, it's not always the best deal. With a clean driving record and a significant deductible on your own policy, getting your own coverage might be more economical. However, if your past driving history isn't stellar, consider opting for the company's offer.
You have car insurance but are traveling to a different state
Spending a week in another state? Your current policy likely covers out-of-state trips. But, since insurance requirements differ across states, ensure your coverage meets the destination state's requirements. For instance, a wintry state may necessitate collision coverage, while a higher-risk city could call for comprehensive coverage.
You’re currently in between cars
Even if your old vehicle isn't in use, maintaining insurance may be legally required if it's still registered. Be wary of potential insurance lapses that could affect your registration.
You want to test drive a car
If you're considering purchasing a car from a private seller and their insurance lacks a permissive use clause, you'll need to secure coverage for the test drive. And, if you're planning on a purchase, you can seamlessly transfer your new insurance to your new vehicle.
You are in between car insurance policies
Did you accidentally create a gap between your old and new policies? Short-term insurance can bridge this, ensuring continuous coverage.
You’re a foreign tourist on vacation in the U.S.
Tourists must also adhere to insurance requirements before driving U.S. As a foreign visitor, your options include:
- Obtaining insurance from a U.S.-based provider
- Opting for rental company insurance
- Leveraging your credit card's rental car insurance perks
Always keep your insurance card handy — accidents are unpredictable, and it's essential to provide evidence of insurance if needed.
Interstate coverage refers to car insurance policies that ensure you're protected while driving across various states. While a majority of policies naturally cover this, it's always a wise move to verify with your insurer.
When you're setting up your car insurance, the insurer will inquire about your driving patterns, specifically where you anticipate driving. This assists them in tailoring the coverage to your needs. If your drives are restricted to your home state, the need for interstate coverage might be minimal. But if cross-state trips are in your plans, ensuring that your policy has interstate coverage is important.
Remember, driving without insurance is illegal. Even if you plan to hit the road later rather than sooner, it's good to note that any gap in your insurance can lead to heftier premiums in the future.
Evaluate how much coverage aligns with your needs, even for short-term requirements like a week. Factors to consider include:
- Will you be driving in areas known for higher crime rates?
- Might you encounter challenging weather conditions?
- Are you driving a luxury or high-value vehicle?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, MoneyGeek advises considering both collision and comprehensive insurance. While collision insurance covers costs stemming from damages due to collisions with other cars or objects, comprehensive insurance offers financial protection for situations like theft, vandalism or nature-induced damages.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many drivers who need short-term coverage may wonder if purchasing one-week car insurance is possible. MoneyGeek answered common questions to help you find temporary coverage solutions for your unique driving needs and financial situation.
About Mark Fitzpatrick