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Temporary Auto Insurance in Texas

Temporary car insurance, otherwise known as short-term car insurance, is the type of auto insurance sought when a person only needs coverage for a limited period, usually a few days or weeks. It is different from annual or semi-annual auto insurance in terms of how long the contract runs. Temporary car insurance may be more expensive than if an individual pays semi-annually or annually if not properly managed. Like every other type of insurance in Texas, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) regulates the state's auto insurance.

What is Temporary Car Insurance?

In Texas, temporary car insurance, also known as short-term car insurance, offers you short-term auto coverage if your driving needs are only temporary or for a limited period. Texas law requires you to have auto insurance as proof that you can pay for the accidents you cause. Finding short-term car insurance in the USA is usually challenging. In fact, auto insurance companies in Texas rarely offer auto coverage that only lasts a few days or weeks, which is the primary objective of obtaining car insurance for a short term. However, in a bid to offer such services, many auto insurers provide conventional car insurance policies and prorate premiums based on their clients' needs.

Generally, you may not be able to get car insurance with a policy term that is less than six months in Texas. Hence, if you require car insurance for only a short term, the best bet is to purchase a six-month policy and cancel it before the policy period ends. For instance, you can opt for a six-month plan if you only need auto coverage for 21 days and cannot get any insurer to offer you short-term car insurance. You are at liberty to cancel the policy after these 21 days or anytime before the full term lapses.

In most cases, many auto insurers will refund the balance of policy costs not entirely expended by insureds prior to cancellation. While canceling a car insurance policy, be careful not to have a coverage gap, as you may have to pay higher premiums for car insurance in the future if this happens. To avoid this, you should use the services of a Texas-licensed auto insurance agent when in need of temporary car insurance. A knowledgeable agent understands the dynamics of converting a standard car insurance policy for short-term coverage. Additionally, they can help you avoid creating gaps in your car insurance history which could potentially increase your auto insurance rates.

Does Temporary Car Insurance Exist?

Most reputed and major auto insurance companies in Texas do not offer temporary car insurance. Essentially, car insurance for only a short term (a few days or weeks) does not technically exist in their product lineup. However, they provide options for individuals who need auto coverage for a short or limited period. Most auto insurers offer pay-per-mile auto insurance for car owners, and you can consider getting this if you do not frequently drive to avoid paying for the times you do not use your vehicle. Also, you can purchase a six-month car policy from an insurance company through a licensed auto insurance agent and cancel it within the policy term if you no longer need coverage or will not drive for an extended period.

Auto insurance companies also provide alternatives to temporary car insurance in Texas for individuals driving cars they do not own. These options include:

  • Rental car insurance

  • Permissive driver

  • Non-owner car insurance

Rental car insurance is the coverage an auto insurance company may provide when you rent a car. It offers liability coverage, personal effects coverage, personal accident coverage, and collision damage waiver (CDW). CDWs can be very expensive. Since you only have a temporary need to drive, your best bet may be to get rental service's short-term policies like personal accident insurance, rental car liability insurance, and personal effect coverage.

The permissive driver option allows you to be temporarily added as a driver on another person's car insurance if you only need to drive for a limited period or use their vehicle regularly. For instance, if a friend or family adds you to their existing car insurance policy, the policy will cover you in the case of an accident. However, if an accident occurs while the permissive driver was driving the car, the main insured policyholder will pay a deductible, and the insurer may increase their premium.

Non-owner car insurance offers coverage if you do not have a car but need to drive with relative frequency. For instance, you can get this policy if you rent a car, drive a friend's or a relative's car, or use car-sharing services. Non-owner car insurance includes liability coverage which can pay for another person's injury or property damage if you are at fault in an accident. Some insurers offering this policy plan also include coverages such as personal injury protection, medical payments, and uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Non-owner car insurance works similarly to standard car insurance, and you can cancel it anytime to avoid paying for the times you will not be driving. (Note: In commercial insurance policies, this coverage is usually referred to as Hired and Non-Owned Auto.)

What is the Difference Between Standard and Short Term Car Insurance?

Standard car insurance is the basic auto coverage offered by auto insurance companies, and it provides the minimum level of liability coverage mandated by law, among other coverage options. Temporary car insurance policies are technically standard policies that offer fast and flexible auto coverage for a short-term or limited period. Standard car insurance policies usually run for at least 12 months in Texas, but temporary car policies are meant to last as little as a few hours, days, or months (generally less than six months).

A person who does not own a car can get temporary car insurance in Texas once the vehicle owner permits them to use their car and still get the same level of coverage as a standard car insurance policy. The only difference is that the coverage will be for a short time. Unlike temporary car insurance, you need to own a car to obtain a standard car insurance policy in Texas. Temporary car insurance could be more cost-effective than a standard car insurance policy (annual coverage) if you only drive occasionally or borrow a car for a short time. However, it could be more expensive than a standard auto policy if you drive regularly and pay daily instead of annually (for a standard car policy).

When Would you Need Temporary Auto Insurance?

Generally, you would need temporary auto insurance in Texas if you only need auto coverage for a short time or only drive occasionally. In most cases, the need for short-term auto coverage stems from certain situations. These include:

  • When visiting a place for only a short time and need access to a car to run around. For instance, if you live out of state and do not own a car and are in Texas for business for two weeks, you would need temporary insurance on a car if you are using a friend's car. If using a rental car for that short period, you would require short term rental car insurance,

  • If you own a vehicle that you do not drive regularly. For instance, a temporary auto insurance policy is the best coverage option for an expensive car that you rarely drive or a convertible that you only drive during summer. Since you do not operate such vehicles all year round, you could save on costs by purchasing a short-term policy whenever you need to use them,

  • If you plan to resell a car soon, right after you bought it, or want to review your options after buying a new car before committing to a long-term policy. In this case, purchasing an annual auto plan may be a waste of money,

  • If you are a college student and only need to drive during the summer break, temporarily,

  • When there is an emergency. For instance, if you have a friend or a family member who cannot drive their car due to a severe illness and you need to help out, you would need a temporary auto insurance policy,

  • If you are learning to drive,

  • When you use a personal vehicle to run an official or a business errand. However, what you would need in this situation is a temporary commercial auto policy,

  • If you plan to embark on a long journey with another person and would be sharing the driving, or

  • If you are purchasing a vehicle for a short period of time instead of renting.

Can you Get Temporary Car Insurance in Texas?

Getting temporary car insurance in Texas may be difficult because most insurance companies in the state would not offer anyone a car insurance policy with less than a 6-month term. While it may be challenging to get a short-term car policy that provides coverage for only a few days or weeks, you can opt for a 6-month plan and cancel it early if you only need auto coverage for a limited period. For instance, if you need to use a friend's car for only 13 days and cannot get an auto insurance company to offer you a temporary policy, your best option is to purchase a 6-month car policy. After those 13 days, you can cancel the plan by engaging the insurer or a licensed auto insurance agent since you no longer need it. Most auto insurers in Texas will refund the balance on unused premiums, helping you save on costs in the long run.

If you need car insurance for short-term use in Texas, speak to a licensed and knowledgeable auto insurance professional. An agent will leverage their experience and relationships with auto insurance companies to get you a flexible policy that you cancel when you no longer need coverage. They can also help with the cancellation process.

Can you Get a 3-Month Insurance Policy for a Car?

You will not likely get a 3-month insurance policy for a car in Texas because most auto insurance companies offer car policies in six months or one-year increments. Hardly will you find a car insurer that offers three-month auto coverage in the state. If you need to get auto coverage for three months and cannot find one, you can opt for a 6-month plan and cancel it after three months.

It is advisable to use the services of a Texas-licensed auto insurance agent if opting for a 6-month policy and planning to cancel it after three months. Your agent will speak with the insurer about canceling the policy, help you with the required paperwork, and request a refund for the unused premiums for the remaining three months.

What is the Shortest Time you Can Insure a Car?

Typically, the shortest time you can insure a car in Texas is six months. While some insurers may put up adverts for shorter policy terms, be cautious before purchasing one. Make sure to involve a licensed auto insurance agent whenever you are buying car insurance. An agent will help handle all the paperwork and interpret every detail in the policy contract.

The least auto policy term length offered by auto insurance companies in Texas is six months. However, if you need auto coverage for a shorter period, you can purchase a 6-month policy and cancel it immediately after you are done driving. With this arrangement, you could get temporary car insurance for as little as one hour and up to a few days or weeks.

How Much is Short Term Auto Insurance in Texas?

Depending on certain factors, the average monthly cost of short-term car insurance in Texas is between $115 and $150. This rate is usually prorated, and you can always get a refund if you cancel the policy prior to the expiration of the prepaid period. The factors affecting the average cost of temporary insurance in Texas are discussed below.

How Much Does Temporary Car Insurance Cost?

The cost of a temporary car insurance policy in Texas varies by auto insurance company. However, most insurers in the state charge an average monthly premium between $115 and $150, depending on several factors. To arrive at your premium cost, an auto insurer will consider the following:

  • The type of car you want to insure - Premiums are lower for cheaper and less powerful vehicles

  • The length of period for which you require auto insurance

  • Location of residence (takes into account traffic density and the likelihood of filing a claim)

  • Driving experience

  • Driving history

  • Claims history

  • Age

How to Get Short Term Car Insurance

If you want to get short-term car insurance in Texas, your best option is to engage a licensed and knowledgeable Texas auto insurance agent. Typically, an agent will help you handle all the paperwork after analyzing your needs based on your discussion. You must determine the duration for which you need coverage, even though you may only opt for a 6-month plan and cancel it when you no longer need coverage.

You will need to get multiple quotes from different insurers to make sure you are settling for the most cost-effective policy. While this may be tricky, especially considering the limited duration you will require coverage, your agent can handle it better. When comparing quotes, a knowledgeable agent will compare similar limits, policy length, and coverage across insurance companies. They will help you choose an option that best suits your short-term driving needs and engage the auto insurance company.

You will have to prepare information on your short-term insurance car, driver information, and other details required by the auto insurance company and pay the necessary fees as advised by the insurer. Your agent will handle the entire application process and explain the policy contract terms so you can prepare for cancellation whenever you no longer need the coverage. The Texas Department of Insurance provides a general guide on shopping for auto insurance.

How to Save on Temporary Car Insurance

Since temporary car insurance is regular car insurance which gets canceled early for a refund, the rules for savings are the same. The top 5 ways to save on short term car insurance are:

  • Shop multiple insurers and compare at least 2-3 quotes,

  • Seek the help of a licensed insurance agent who is knowledgeable about the local auto insurance market,

  • Bundle your policy with another insurance product from the same insurer,

  • Adjust the deductible to the level you are comfortable paying out of pocket, and

  • Pay the policy in full to avoid any additional monthly service or premium financing fees.