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...

  • There are special auto insurance policies that are available for short-term coverage
  • Temporary insurance is a specialty policy that is sold to people who need coverage for policy terms as short as one day and as long as 30 days
  • If you are in search of short-term insurance, it’s important that you have realistic expectations, but the daily premiums for a temporary will be higher
  • You buy coverage to protect you while you’re driving a non-owned car or while driving a vehicle that you own
  • The deposits and fees you must pay for traditional insurance can make getting insurance for a day too expensive

Traditional insurance policies require time to underwrite and issue. One of the reasons that policies can take up to 30 days to issue is because the company must run reports and verify the information that you provided to set an adequate rate.

Unfortunately, for consumers who need short-term coverage, the time it takes to issue a policy could be significantly longer than the coverage term that the consumer needs.

If you’re in need of insurance coverage for just a day, you can buy a one-day policy from a carrier that specializes in this type of product.

Since this is a unique type of policy, it’s important to find out how temporary insurance works. Read on and discover why buying temporary insurance is a good alternative to traditional insurance.

Need temporary insurance? Use our FREE comparison tool above!

Why is buying traditional insurance for a day, not a good option?

Most auto insurance companies that seller preferred and standard products have very strict underwriting guidelines. These underwriting guidelines are the criterion that’s used to determine if applicants and drivers are eligible for coverage.

Many consumers who have a need for a 24-hour insurance policy simply don’t meet standard requirements.

If you have a valid U.S. driver’s license, you have an acceptable driving record, and you’re driving a vehicle that you have an insurable interest in, buying traditional insurance is a possibility.

Unfortunately, since you have to pay a deposit and perhaps even a cancellation fee to cancel your coverage after a day, you should consider other options.

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What is the best alternative to traditional insurance?

Paying for one or even two months of coverage just to bind a policy for a day doesn’t make much sense. Luckily, there are short-term auto insurance policies that afford an adequate amount of coverage for as little as 24 hours and as long as 30 days.

These policies don’t require a deposit or a long application process.

You can purchase the same types of coverage that you purchase under a traditional policy when you’re binding short-term coverage.

You can select either a liability-only policy or you can pay more for a full coverage policy that will pay for physical damage losses and third-party claims.

If you’re buying insurance to drive a vehicle that you’re borrowing or renting from a rental agency, you can only carry liability, uninsured motorist, and medical payments coverage.

Physical damage, towing, and roadside assistance coverage options are only available when you’re covering a car that you own.

Common Requirements for Short-term Insurance


Before you go shopping for liability coverage or physical damage coverage, you need to be sure that you qualify for one-day insurance.

Not all companies have the same criterion, but more requirements are standard. Here’s a list of underwriting requirements that must be met before a one-day policy will be issued:

  • Must be at least 21 to 25 years old
  • Must have a valid driver’s license issued in the US or a foreign country (some companies will cover adults with only a permit)
  • Must have no more than one chargeable at-fault loss
  • Must have a minimal amount of penalty points for moving violations

How much does one-day car insurance cost?

If you were to divide an annual policy premium by 365, you could find out how much you’re paying per day for traditional insurance.

You should know what to expect before you assume that your rate for one-day will be close to the daily rate that you pay for standard coverage. You will always pay more for short-term coverage.

The premiums for temporary insurance are higher than they are for preferred or standard insurance because short-term plans are assigned high-risk premiums.

Companies that issue one-day policies don’t assess short-term policies the same way as a traditional insurer does.

Since the company doesn’t take the time to assess risk, the likelihood of the policyholder filing a claim in that one day period is disproportionately higher.

A short-term plan can offer you the protection that you need while you drive a family member’s car or while you take your vehicle to the shop for repairs.

Compare the premiums for traditional coverage to the premiums for one-day coverage. After you get instant quotes through our FREE comparison tool, choose the best policy.