Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for CarInsuranceCompanies.com with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Oct 13, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Specialty insurers sell short-term policies for drivers who need coverage for days/weeks
  • You have the right to cancel your standard personal coverage at any time during the term
  • If you cancel a standard policy, learn about the fees for canceling your policy early
  • You may be entitled to a prorated refund based on reason for cancellation


You don’t have to drive daily to have a need for car insurance. If you rarely drive your own vehicle or you borrow a friend’s car from time to time, it’s important that you have car insurance.

Failing to carry coverage for even just one or two joyrides can really land you in a financial money pit if you have a claim. It can even be a mistake that could lead to trouble with the law and days in court.

Traditional personal auto insurance policies are sold in either 6-month or 12-month terms.

Luckily, there are a few different ways to buy coverage for a month without having to pay an annual premium.

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Table of Contents

Reasons You May Need One Month Insurance When You Own a Car

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Your options for getting coverage can vary depending on your situation.

If you own the vehicle that you’re insuring, you’ll have the option to buy standard coverage through the largest auto insurance writers in the business.

This means you can choose from liability, medical payments, uninsured motorist, comprehensive, collision and other coverage offered by most providers.

Here’s a list of some examples why someone would need a short-term policy that lasts for just a month:

  • You’ll be turning your plates in within the month without intentions to renew
  • You’re surrendering your driving privilege and giving away your car
  • You’re in the process of selling the car by owner and need to offer test drives
  • You’re moving out-of-state and will be insuring the car in the new state
  • You’re getting married and will be combining insurance within the month
  • You’re moving overseas and don’t need insurance in the United States

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Purchasing Standard Personal Auto Coverage for a Partial Term

If you’re the vehicle owner, one of your options to get the coverage you need is to buy a standard policy with the intentions of terminating the coverage before the term is up.

For consumers who don’t really know the terms of insurance, this can be a scary option.

You might think that you’re obligated to keep your coverage and let the term play out, but as the named insured you have the freedom to cancel your insurance at any time for any reason.

Choosing the Right Payment Plan

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When you choose to buy and then cancel a standard policy, you’ll need to go about getting quotes and look for a company that offers you the option to start your coverage with a little to no down payment.

Most companies offer payment plans so you won’t be forced to pay the whole premium at once and then wait for a partial refund.

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Here are some common payment plan options to consider:

– Monthly

Requires one month down and the current month’s payment. You may be able to save on the monthly invoice fees by setting up Electronic Funds Transfer payments. Be sure that you cancel this EFT draft if you plan on

Be sure that you cancel this EFT draft if you plan on canceling coverage after a month.

– Five Month Pay Plan

There’s also plans available where you’ll pay 2 months down and you’ll only have 5 installments over a 6-month plan.

If you end up needing coverage for close to two months, this could be a better option because you’ll have the down payment to cover you.

– Quarterly, Semi-Annual, Annual

Each of these options wouldn’t be ideal when you want short-term coverage. Even so, some older companies only offer quarterly and semi-annual options.

This is why you’ll need to compare payment schedules as you request quotes to see which company is best.

Considerations to Keep In Mind Regarding Early Cancellations

When you choose to cancel your insurance early, most companies want the request in writing since you are terminating a contract.

You’ll need to specify when you want to policy canceled, the reason, and also how you’d like to receive a refund.

Don’t just let your policy cancel for non-payment as this can affect your reputation as a consumer.

You should also be aware of how the company refunds your unearned premiums. Some companies will give you all of the money back that hasn’t yet been used.

Others will take the balance and deduct a percentage or a flat fee for terminating early.

Whether or not you can be charged a fee depends on your state rules, the policy language, and the reason for cancellation.

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Alternatives to Buying a Standard Policy

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If you want insurance for a vehicle you don’t own, you should buy a specialty short-term policy that only provides you with liability insurance and medical payments for days or weeks.

These policies are great for long-term rental cars or when you’ll be borrowing a friends car for a few weeks.

You will need to check with insurers to see if they offer specialty insurance.

Now that you know your options, it’s time to start shopping around. You can either call each company directly or get the chore done in minutes by using an online rate comparison tool.

If you do shop online, you’ll need to provide your information once and you’ll see how much a month of coverage will cost.

Start comparing car insurance rates now by entering your zip code in our FREE tool below!