Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for 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: Aug 18, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • A short-term car insurance policy is a policy that will provide coverage temporarily
  • Some policies will last for a single day and other temporary policies will last for one to two months
  • If you own a vehicle and you borrow a friend’s car, your liability coverage will extend to that borrowed car

When buying car insurance, you do not always need a policy for a traditional term. This creates a need for specialty insurance policies that last for a period as short as a day or as long as a month.

Some of the providers in the marketplace that are reinventing the insurance industry to cater to people with unique needs.

Before you go buying 1-month car insurance assuming that it is the most affordable way to buy your insurance, you need to find out how it works and what separates it from standard personal auto insurance policies.

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What is short-term car insurance?

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There are traditional car insurance policies and then there are short-term car insurance policies that can be sold to replace a standard policy when a standard policy is not the ideal option.

A short-term car insurance policy is a policy that will provide coverage temporarily instead of lasting for an entire policy term. Short term policies can vary in length, depending on how long you need your protection on the road.

Some policies will last for a single day when the need is very short, and other temporary policies will last for one to two months.

It is up to you to decide how long you will need the protection, what type of coverage you need, and what specialty provider to bind coverage with that operates in this subset of the insurance market.

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How do temporary and standard car insurance differ?

The primary difference between a temporary 1-month car insurance plan and a standard plan is how long the plans are designed to provide coverage.

6 months or 12-month policies to vehicle owners in the states where they are licensed to sell.

When a consumer is offered insurance for a specific term or period of time, the insurer offering the coverage is promising that the rates for that term will not change because of their driving record, accident history or drivers in the household.

For standard insurance, the rates can change if you add a new car or make voluntary changes to your coverage or location.

The only real difference between a standard 6 month or 12-month policy is that the rates are locked in longer for the 12-month term, delaying underwriting and probably rate increases.

Both car insurance policies are underwritten, the difference is that the frequency of underwriting is different because rates are only guaranteed temporarily when buying insurance for a short one month term.

Since prices can fluctuate up and down more frequently, short-term policies are not as stable as standard policies and can become much more expensive if you were to buy multiple policies to extend coverage.

Information You Must Provide


You will not have to provide quite as much information for a one-month policy as you would for a standard plan.

If you are the owner of the vehicle, you must provide the VIN, the odometer reading, and model information on the vehicle that you are insuring.

If you are not the owner, you must first get permission from the titleholder that you can insure the car for a temporary period.

After you provide the approval, you will also need to provide details about yourself, the address where the car will be parked, your license number and your driving history.

When Coverage Will Become Effective

Once the application is complete, you will select a time and date when you want the coverage to begin. This is very important because any claim that happens before that exact time and date will not be covered.

You should select the earliest possible time if you are not exactly sure when you will be in need of the protection.

You will also be asked for an ending date, which is when the coverage will expire. The end date cannot be further out than 30 to 60 days, depending on the maximum term offered by the company.

The coverage will not become effective until you have made payment and the application has been issued.

Be sure that you know the difference between the effective date and the issuance date to avoid any issues.

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Who should consider buying temporary one-month insurance?


Short-term policies are not designed for everyone. In fact, if you elect to buy a plan that only provides you with temporary protection when you need standard protection it could be a major mistake.

This is why it is important to understand who really needs one-month insurance and who needs to simply pay for one month of coverage by purchasing a 6-month or 12-month policy.

Here are some scenarios where buying a short-term car insurance policy is a much more feasible option when you have a need for protection while you are driving.

– You Are Borrowing a Friend’s or Family Member’s Car

If you own a vehicle and you borrow a friend’s car, your liability coverage will extend to that borrowed car.

This is when a one-month policy could really benefit you. You will have comprehensive protection for your liability vulnerabilities and will also have protection for your friend’s vehicle.

– You Are Allowing a Friend to Borrow Your Vehicle

If you were to skim your policy booklet, you would find that other people are covered by your policy to drive your vehicles.

This is typically true, even when these drivers are not listed on your policy. Drivers who borrow your car for a short period of time but who do not live in your home are classified as permissive users.

While lending your car to someone is allowed, it can create problems with your premiums.

If you were to file a damage claim or a liability claim because your car caused injuries in an accident, your insurer will definitely question why someone was driving your car without you.

In addition to investigating the claim, it is possible that you could lose your no-claims discount due to the actions of a person who is not even on your policy.

By purchasing a short-term insurance policy for the person who is borrowing the car you can ensure that the claim will be covered without questioning and your premiums will stay the same.

– You Have an Emergency and Need Access to Your Car

Some individuals will cancel their insurance on their vehicle because it is registered non-operable. Cars registered as non-operable are either inoperable or are not operated.

When a car is registered this way, you do not need to maintain liability coverage on it.

If you experience an emergency and you need to drive the vehicle that you hardly ever operate, buying short-term insurance is an option.

It will help you avoid being fined for driving without liability insurance without having to go through the lengthy process of starting a new plan.

–You Are Getting Vehicle Repairs or Selling the Car

Towing can be expensive when you need to take your vehicle to the shop. If you can drive the car to the shop but only plan on doing this one time, you can buy a single day policy for protection.

Before making any final decisions on your insurance company, it is important to learn as much as you can about your local insurance providers, and the coverages they offer. Call your local insurance agent to clear up any questions that you might have. Questions to consider asking include, “What is the best coverage plan for me/my family/my situation?” “What are the minimum coverage requirements in my state and what form of coverage do you recommend?” “Do you guys offer any bundle discounts if I take out both my auto insurance and home insurance with you?” and “What is the average rate of insurance quotes you guys offer?”

Before making any big insurance decisions, use our free tool to compare insurance quotes near you. It’s simple, just plug in your zip code and we’ll do the rest!

A 1-month policy can help you avoid penalties or uninsured claims. If you are interested in finding the most competitively priced temporary coverage, use our FREE rate comparison tool below! Enter your zip code to get started!