Temporary Car Insurance in Washington: The Cheapest Options and What You Need to Know

In Washington, credible insurers don’t offer policies that only last for a few weeks. The shortest car insurance period available is six months. MoneyGeek assessed different ways to obtain temporary car insurance for car owners who need a short-term solution and drivers who don’t own a car.

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Last Updated: 8/15/2022
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If you own a car, one way to obtain temporary car insurance is by buying a regular policy and canceling it within six months. If you cancel early, you can get a full refund for your unused policy term. In Washington, the average cost of a three-month policy is $316.

Rental car insurance is sufficient if you’re visiting Washington or you need to drive in Washington but don’t own a car.

MoneyGeek also researched other scenarios where temporary car insurance would be ideal. This includes acquiring non-owner insurance as a requirement for license reinstitution or getting coverage as a rideshare driver.

Can You Get Temporary Car Insurance in Washington

In Washington and other states, temporary car insurance can mean different things and be acquired in various ways. If you’re a car owner, you can purchase a regular car insurance policy and cancel it early. If you don’t own a vehicle, you can buy rental car insurance or non-owner car insurance.

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HOW TO FIND TEMPORARY CAR INSURANCE IN WASHINGTON TO FIT YOUR NEEDS

There are many ways to get temporary car insurance in Washington depending on your needs and situation. MoneyGeek evaluated all the available options for you.

Buying a Six-Month Washington Insurance Policy and Canceling It Early

In Washington and elsewhere, reputable insurance companies only sell car insurance with a minimum of six months of coverage. On average, a six-month car insurance policy in Washington costs $632.

You can get a shorter coverage term by canceling your policy before it expires. Most credible insurers will provide a full refund for your unused premiums.

For example, you can buy a six-month car insurance policy in Washington and cancel it after 90 days. On average, you only need to pay half of what you would for a six-month policy. In Washington, this would amount to an average of $316.

If you’re using this strategy, MoneyGeek advises against having a lapse in insurance coverage as this can lead to hundreds of dollars in extra charges per year.

Cheap Temporary Car Insurance in Washington

MoneyGeek calculated potential car insurance rates in Washington for a typical six-month policy as well as three-month and one-month temporary car insurance policies.

On average, these insurance providers offer the cheapest car insurance in Washington for a 90-day policy:

  • PEMCO: $200 per 90 days
  • GEICO: $205 per 90 days

The figures quoted above do not include cancellation fees. Most reputable insurance companies do not charge cancellation fees and give full refunds for your unused insurance premiums.

Annual Cost of Car Insurance in Washington by Policy Length

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Altering Washington Car Insurance Temporarily Depending on Your Needs

In Washington, altering your existing car insurance policy can be your best solution if you need to temporarily add or remove coverage. Certain circumstances might require you to get short-term car insurance, such as when you need to store your vehicle, if someone borrows your car or when your teenage child goes to college.

When You Should Alter Your Policy Temporarily

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If your child attends school elsewhere in Washington, you can temporarily remove them from your policy or request a discount.

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If you want to store your car, you can save money by switching to a comprehensive-only policy. If you’re in the military, you can take advantage of USAA’s car storage discounts.

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If you lend your car to someone else, you should only add them to your policy if they drive your vehicle regularly.

Cheap Temporary Car Insurance for Students in Washington

If you live with your child in Washington, you’ll need to add them to your car insurance policy, which can be costly. MoneyGeek found that in Washington, adding an 18-year old to a car insurance policy costs $2,337 per year on average.

To adjust your car insurance costs, you can either take your child off your policy for part of the year if they live more than 100 miles away, ask for a distant student discount or keep them on your policy.

In Washington, it costs an additional $389 on average to add your child to your car insurance policy for two months during the summer, compared to an average of $2,337 if you add them for a whole year.

Progressive offers the highest savings in Washington for temporarily taking a student off a policy.

Annual Cost of Adding an 18-Year-Old to Car Insurance in Washington

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  • Company
    Adding 18-year-old for two out of 12 months
    Adding an 18-year-old for the full year
    Difference
  • $2,138
    $356
    -$1,782
  • Allied
    $2,275
    $379
    -$1,896
  • $2,301
    $384
    -$1,918
  • $2,339
    $390
    -$1,949
  • $2,375
    $396
    -$1,979
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WHAT IF I CAN’T GET A DISCOUNT?

If your child does live far enough away from home and you’re unable to take them off your policy or ask for a discount, you can still save money by shopping around and comparing offers. MoneyGeek compared the cheapest insurance companies for teens to help you find affordable deals in Washington.

What to Do About Car Insurance if You’re Storing Your Car in Washington

If you’re temporarily storing your car in Washington, you can switch to a comprehensive-only car insurance policy or seek a vehicle storage discount to save money.

Removing liability insurance coverage and switching to a comprehensive-only policy is a great way to save money if your vehicle is in storage. Comprehensive and collision insurance in Washington with a $1,000 deductible costs $347 per year on average. On the other hand, a policy that also includes liability insurance costs $952 per year on average.

For active-duty military members, USAA is a good option. This insurer offers a car storage discount and also has the most affordable car insurance rates in Washington at $638 per year on average.

What to Do If You Let Someone Else Drive Your Car

If someone else in your household drives your car regularly, they need to be insured on the same policy as you. Meanwhile, if you give your permission to someone from outside your home to drive your car, your policy will cover them automatically without you needing to adjust anything.

Buying Rental Car Insurance in Washington

If you’re temporarily renting a car in Washington, buying rental car insurance from the rental company is sufficient. Almost all rental companies offer basic liability insurance in the policy as well as the option to add collision damage waivers, supplemental liability insurance and personal accident insurance. In Washington, the average cost of adding all these coverages ranges from $45 to $53 per day depending on the company. You can also mix and match for cheaper coverage based on your needs.

Finding Cheap Rental Car Insurance in Washington

MoneyGeek collected rates in Seattle, Washington and found that the cost of rental car insurance ranges from $45 to $53 per day on average depending on the company.

The daily cost of rental car insurance is, on average, $45 from Enterprise, $50 from Avis and $53 from Hertz. These policies include supplemental liability, collision damage waiver and personal accident insurance.

If you have a car insurance policy, you may already be covered by your liability, collision and medical payments coverage, so you might not need to include these in your rental car insurance. Additionally, many credit card companies offer collision damage waiver coverage for rental cars. If your credit card provider carries this, you can decline this coverage from the rental company to save money.

Cost per Day of Rental Car Insurance in Washington

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  • Rental Company
    Total Insurance Cost
    Supplemental Liability Cost
    Collision Damage Waiver Cost
    Personal Accident Insurance Cost
  • Enterprise
    $45
    $13
    $26
    $6
  • Avis
    $50
    $12
    $31
    $7
  • Hertz
    $53
    $12
    $34
    $7

Buying Non-Owner Car Insurance in Washington

If you don’t have a car and you need proof of insurance when filing an SR-22 to have your license reinstated, non-owner car insurance is a good option. In Washington, the cost of non-owner insurance is $675 per year on average.

For non-car owners who need to file an SR-22, the cheapest way to get temporary car insurance in Washington is through non-owner car insurance.

How to Get Temporary Rideshare Car Insurance for Rideshare in Washington

In Washington, rideshare drivers are only covered by insurance once they accept a fare or transport a passenger. This means that they have a temporary gap in coverage if they haven’t accepted a fare.

Rideshare insurance policies can be a solution to this, but they have limited availability across states. If you’re looking for the best rideshare insurance in Washington, MoneyGeek evaluated the companies that offer this type of policy to help you find the best option.

Frequently Asked Questions About Temporary Car Insurance in Washington

MoneyGeek answered some of the most frequently asked questions about temporary car insurance in Washington to help you decide if it is a good fit for you.

Methodology

MoneyGeek gathered car insurance and non-owner car insurance quotes across Washington in collaboration with Quadrant Information Services. The policies mentioned in this guide are for a 40-year-old driver and a full coverage policy as described on our methodology page. Quotes for student drivers represent the average cost of adding an 18-year-old driver to an existing policy.

Figures for one-month and three-month policies were calculated by MoneyGeek on a prorated basis and on the assumption of a full refund from the insurance company. Rental car insurance quotes were manually collected by MoneyGeek using the online tools of Avis, Enterprise and Hertz.

About the Author


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Mark Fitzpatrick is a senior content manager with MoneyGeek specializing in insurance. Mark has years of experience analyzing the insurance market and creating original research and content. He graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor of Arts and Johns Hopkins University with a Master of Arts.