Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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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 Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: Oct 13, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • The standard car insurance carriers are in business to sell insurance for either 6-month or 12-month terms
  • Temporary car insurance can last for as little as a day or as long as a month
  • Standard car insurers consider several factors when they calculate rates

The idea of buying car insurance for a day might sound silly to some, but there is a growing need for temporary insurance that covers drivers in a variety of different scenarios.

If you need access to your vehicle or are borrowing a car for a very short period of time, one alternative could be to get a one-day car insurance policy from a carrier that offers specialty coverage to drivers of personal vehicles.

Before you decide that this is the option for you, it is best to learn when one-day insurance is appropriate and when it is not.

Be sure to use the FREE comparison tool above by entering your zip code above!

How is temporary car insurance different than standard personal insurance?

The standard car insurance carriers are in business to sell insurance for either 6-month or 12-month terms.

During the term, which is shown on the declarations page of the policy, your rates will remain locked in unless you make changes to the drivers, location, vehicle or driving habits.

Customers prefer to buy standard personal policies when they own a vehicle and drive it daily because their rates are locked in and they do not have to worry about applying for coverage over and over again.

It is only appropriate for the unique client, who does not have regular access to their vehicle or has their car in storage, to buy a temporary policy in an effort to save money.

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How Temporary Car Insurance Works

You may be familiar with the fact that the standard car insurance policy is in force for 6 months or 12 months at a time, but if you buy a temporary policy how exactly does it work?

This is a common question posed by people who believe that they have a need for a specialty policy rather than a longer term policy that requires a longer commitment.

Temporary car insurance can last for as little as a day or as long as a month.

If you buy this special type of plan from a specialty carrier, you do not have to pay a large down payment for coverage that you do not necessarily need.

You also do not have to worry about sending a written cancellation request for a standard policy because you opted to buy an annual policy knowing you would only need it for less than 30 days.

How to Apply for Temporary Car Insurance

Applying for temporary car insurance for a day is much like applying for the standard policy.

You must provide the name, date of birth, license number, and driving record for each driver.

You also must provide vehicle information, including the VIN and odometer reading.

After you disclose driving habits and then select coverage options, you will be given a rate quote based on your risk classification.

Higher risk drivers typically pay higher premiums because, even though they are only covered for a short period of time, they are much more likely to file a claim within that short period of time.

The policy will be underwritten and then issued, much like a standard policy. If something does not match what is disclosed by the client at the time of the quote, the policy rate may go up.

The difference will be billed because the coverage has often already been afforded before errors are discovered.

If you are applying for car insurance for a day, be sure to find out what happens if something appears on your record and turns your policy quote into a misquote.

Every carrier will handle this differently based on their conditions and their guidelines.

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The Factors That Affect Your Rates for Temporary Car Insurance

Standard car insurers consider several factors when they calculate rates. The same factors are used when a temporary insurance provider offers one-day car insurance to a specific target audience.

The rates are going to be a bit inflated because the company needs to make money and collect for the higher risk associated with having shorter term clients.

As you review your quotes, knowing which type of personal factors are going to have a dramatic effect on rates can be helpful.

Here are some of the primary factors that will raise or drive down your premiums:

– Age and Driving Experience

The younger you are, the higher your insurance will cost. This is because young drivers are inexperienced and classified as risky.

As you get experience and you learn hands-on how to avoid collisions, your premiums start to drop.

Most insurers will not consider you an experienced driver until you have 9 years of experience, but some will give good driving credits sooner.

– Gender and Marital Status

Males are seen as riskier drivers who are more likely to cause accidents. Younger males are the highest rated drivers until they are over 25.

Males who are married do get a price break because the statistics show that they make less aggressive decisions behind the wheel.

– Driving Habits

How often you drive and where you drive can affect your costs. If you are driving a vehicle to work that is 30 miles away, you will pay more than someone who commutes 5 miles.

If you are driving strictly for pleasure, you will pay less than a commuter driving in rush hour. Usage and mileage can really have an effect on rates.

– Driving Record and Accident History

Perhaps the biggest factor that can affect premiums is your driving history. This is because it shows the insurer how you behave behind the wheel.

If you have a lot of citations or accidents, you are believed to be a bad risk. Bad risks pay more for coverage and can be declined if their record is poor enough.

Be sure to run your driving record to see if violations show up that you cannot remember.

– Credit History

Many states allow carriers to check your credit score to determine premiums. These insurance scores are credit-based and can either be good or bad depending on your record.

Check to see if credit-based scoring is allowed in your state and review your report for errors before applying.

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When do you really need one-day car insurance?

Short-term insurance is not for everyone. There are scenarios, however, where temporary insurance is the best answer.

Here are some of them:

– Borrowing a Car

This eliminates any confusion surrounding a claim if you decide to file the claim through the owner’s insurance and you are not deemed to be a covered driver.

It also works best when someone is borrowing your car.

– Driving a Classic

If you own a classic car and will only drive it for a special car show, having a weekend policy will provide you with the liability coverage that you need. Be sure to look into how damage coverage works.

– Selling a Car in Storage

When you are selling a car, you do not want to buy a new policy on the car. You also want to be covered when you take the car out of storage. Buying insurance on a daily-rate basis is the answer when you are not in need of a policy for the entire 6-month period.

Buying insurance on a daily-rate basis is the answer when you are not in need of a policy for the entire 6-month period.

Be sure that you do your homework and find out if you are a good candidate for short-term plans. Use our FREE comparison tool and start saving now! Enter your zip code below to get started!


  1. http://carinsurance.about.com/od/PolicyFundamentals/a/The-Importance-Of-The-Declaration-Page.htm
  2. https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-get-your-driving-record-527249
  3. https://www.autocheck.com/vehiclehistory/autocheck/en/vinbasics
  4. https://www.thebalance.com/how-long-will-i-be-a-high-risk-driver-527279
  5. https://www.insureuonline.org/consumer_auto_faqs.htm
  6. https://www.iii.org/article/what-determines-price-my-auto-insurance-policy
  7. https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/teen_drivers/teendrivers_factsheet.html
  8. https://www.naic.org/documents/consumer_alert_credit_based_insurance_scores.htm