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 in...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • When you buy traditional auto insurance, you must choose between a six-month policy and a 12-month policy
  • If you need coverage while you’re selling a vehicle or you’re in between policies during a move, it might be ideal to buy a policy that will provide coverage for a shorter period of time
  • Instead of buying a traditional policy, you should apply for short-term auto insurance that’s easier to qualify and that’s issued quickly
  • One of the major drawbacks of short-term insurance is that it costs more than a traditional policy
  • When going this route, it’s best to find an insurer that won’t charge you a cancellation fee

Auto insurance policies are sold in terms. When you’re buying a standard auto insurance policy, you have no option but to choose between a six-month policy and a 12-month policy.

Unfortunately for consumers in the traditional marketplace, not everyone needs coverage for six months or 12 months at a time.

While standard policies aren’t sold by the week or by the month, there are specialized policies that will provide consumers who need short-term coverage.

If you are in need of coverage for a one-week increment of time, we’ll discuss your options below.

If you need a short-term policy, start by comparing policies with our FREE comparison tool!

Reasons You Might Need Auto Insurance for One Week

Not everyone is a candidate for a one-week insurance policy. For the standard applicant, the thought of getting a policy for a week at a time might sound pointless.

These applicants simply haven’t been in a situation where they need coverage, but they don’t need it for long. Here are some of the reasons you’d need coverage for a short time:

  • You’re renting a car for a week and don’t want to buy expensive supplemental insurance
  • You’re buying a car that you only plan to drive for a week-long road trip
  • You’re taking a car out of storage to get it repaired and serviced
  • You’re visiting family and want your own coverage while you borrow their vehicles
  • You’re a college student who is visiting home during a school break
  • Your current policy is up for renewal and you’re moving out of state or out of the country in the next week

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Buying a Traditional Policy For One Week

Believe it or not, you can buy a six-month policy with the intentions of only keeping for the first week. If you volunteer this information to the agent, they may be reluctant to sell you the policy.

Fortunately, this isn’t information that you’re required to share when you’re applying for coverage. When you enter into any auto insurance indemnity contract in any state, you’re free to cancel your coverage at any time.

The insurance company can’t ask you why you’re canceling your coverage or refuse to return your premiums. Just be aware that some insurance companies do charge short-rate cancellation fees.

Buying a Non-owner’s Policy


If you’re buying coverage that protects you while you’re driving a car that you don’t own, traditional insurance isn’t an option. To qualify for the standard policy, you must have an insurable interest in a vehicle.

The only way to get liability coverage for when you rent or borrow a car is to buy a non-owner’s policy through a specialty carrier.

Buying a Short-term Policy

When a car is registered in your name, it’s your legal responsibility to maintain coverage it until you sign a release of liability document or a bill of sale agreement.

If you are sure that you’ll only need coverage for about a week, an alternative to traditional coverage is to buy a short-term policy.

Short-term insurance is sold by some standard insurers and carriers with specialized products.

While the coverage that’s provided is the same as the coverage afforded until a standard plan, the premiums aren’t. The rates for short-term policies are higher because they require less underwriting and they represent a higher risk to the carrier.

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Always Research the Carrier Before You Make a Choice


No matter what type of policy you choose, it’s important that you choose a highly reputable insurance company to protect you. You should always check the company’s license status, complaint record, and financial strength ratings before you commit to a plan.

After assessing the companies, you should compare prices, underwriting guidelines, and fees and only then can you make the choice that makes the best financial sense.

Don’t forget to ask an insurer if they charge cancellation fees before you go for a traditional policy.

If you want coverage for no more than seven days, it’s time to start shopping around. Compare the rates for short-term and traditional insurance policies so that you can see how much a high-risk policy will cost.

If you can handle paying the higher daily rate, shop around for the most affordable temporary car insurance policy on the market by using our FREE online quoting tool that gives you access to dozens of instant quotes!