What is Short-Term Car Insurance?

Solomon Branch
Solomon Branch
A car with short-term insurance.
A car with short-term insurance.

Short-term car insurance is insurance that covers a driver for a brief period of time, usually 1 week to 6 months. Drivers who need insurance for only a short time, such as when renting a car or letting someone else such as a friend or relative drive a personal vehicle, would use this type of insurance. It can be kept separate from a long-term policy and also requires a different application process.

A car after an accident.
A car after an accident.

Probably the easiest way to obtain short-term car insurance would be to apply to one’s existing car insurance carrier. They should be able to expedite the process, as they have all your records already and would also possibly offer a discount for the insurance. Other options include doing an on-line search. Many sites offer comparisons of the different types of short-term car insurance available through different companies, making it easy to choose a low-cost insurance as well as compare coverage details.

Short-term car insurance usually covers a driver for up to six months.
Short-term car insurance usually covers a driver for up to six months.

Many long-term policies cover rental cars, but some do not. This would be one situation where short-term car insurance would be desirable. The short-term insurance could cover the time the car is rented, whether it is for a week or a month. Short-term insurance can also be helpful if a car is not being used and is in storage, such as when taking a long-term trip where a car isn’t needed, or if the car was purchased simply to sell it. People with disabilities or other health issues might purchase short-term car insurance if they need a driver for a period of time. These are just some of the instances where short-term insurance can be used.

Adding a driver to a long-term policy can be difficult, as there are many factors, such as age of the driver and driving record, which are considered. If a driver has an accident while covered on a long-term policy, that can make the premiums go up and can lead to loss of any discounts. Short-term car insurance usually gives the same or similar benefits, and it is considered a separate policy. If there is an accident or other issues with a driver on the short-term policy, it will usually not affect a long-term policy.

Short-term car insurance can cover most issues that would be expected to arise when in an accident. It can cover liability insurance, bodily injury, property damage, physical damage to the car, as well as uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. It can also sometimes include medical payments for passengers. Some short-term policies also include extras, such as towing and roadside assistance.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments


Dentel - You make a good point about spending unnecessarily for car rental insurance when you are already covered under your personal car insurance policy. I, too, always turn down the temporary policy offered by the rental car company.

However, after reading this article, I wonder whether I am making the best decision. The article did say that any accidents covered by the temporary policy would most likely not affect the rates I pay on the policy I have for my personal vehicles.

Maybe paying the additional amount for the temporary insurance is better than turning down the insurance and risking having to pay higher premiums to my car insurance company for my personal policy because of a mishap with a rental car.


One of the most common ways people throw money away comes to light when they rent cars. The car rental representative will always ask whether you want insurance, and the answer that naturally comes to mind is, yes. I mean, you don't want to be required to pay for a car should you get into an accident or if the vehicle is stolen.

What so many people renting cars don't know is that if they own a car and have current insurance then there is a good chance any car they rent will be covered under the insurance policy they already have.

You can't depend on the rental agent to tell you this. You should check your policy or call your insurance agent and ask whether you are covered when you rent a car. The price you pay car rental agencies for temporary car insurance adds up, particularly when you travel and rent vehicles regularly.

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • A car with short-term insurance.
      By: CenturionStudio.it
      A car with short-term insurance.
    • A car after an accident.
      By: Pakhnyushchyy
      A car after an accident.
    • Short-term car insurance usually covers a driver for up to six months.
      By: naka
      Short-term car insurance usually covers a driver for up to six months.