Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Former Farmers Insurance CSR

UPDATED: Jan 8, 2021

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What You Should Know

  • One-day auto insurance is great for people who are borrowing or renting a car, taking a test drive, or taking their driver’s test
  • Short-term car insurance is only cheaper if you are, in fact, keeping the coverage for a very short term
  • One-day car insurance has the same coverage as a standard policy, just for a shorter time

You may have never heard the term “one-day auto insurance.” On the surface, the concept might even seem silly — why would you want auto insurance for just one day?

There is actually a range of reasons why you might need insurance on your vehicle for just one day or just a few days. Most of the best auto insurance companies offer one-day insurance coverage, and it’s fairly easy to obtain.

Check out this guide to learn what one-day auto insurance is, why you might need it, and how to get it. Or, enter your ZIP code to start comparing one-day auto insurance rates today, for free.

Why would I need one-day auto insurance?

One of the most common reasons to purchase one-day insurance is if you don’t drive a lot. If you only drive your car once a month down to Costco and back, it will be much cheaper to pay for just those days individually, rather than getting full coverage.

You might also buy one-day auto insurance coverage if, for example, you’re renting a vehicle on vacation or using a truck you don’t normally drive to move your stuff from one place to another.

Another scenario is if you are taking your driver’s test and need insurance. A one-day policy can be used for new or young drivers to take their test and give them time to shop around for coverage.

Temporary insurance is also great if you want to test drive a vehicle or are planning to borrow a friend’s car, but don’t already have insurance. A non-owner policy will give you the coverage you want on a vehicle that you don’t own.

Some people will get short-term insurance for a car they rarely drive (like a sports car they only take to shows once or twice a year), so they aren’t paying insurance on it while it’s sitting in the storage.

Another option for people who rarely drive is usage-based auto insurance. That way, you only pay for the miles you drive.

Or you may be acting as the middleman in a vehicle title transfer and want to ensure you’re covered while you’re driving a car that isn’t yours.

What does one-day auto insurance cost?

Since the kind of coverage you need for just one day is the same as you would need year-round, we can look at the cost of annual coverage to give you an estimate.

This table shows you the average annual cost of auto insurance based on what type of coverage you choose.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates Based on Coverage Type
Insurance CompaniesAverage Annual Rates for Low CoverageAverage Annual Rates for Medium CoverageAverage Annual Rates for High Coverage
USAA$2,404.11$2,539.87$2,667.92
GEICO$3,001.91$3,213.97$3,429.14
State Farm$3,055.40$3,269.80$3,454.80
American Family$3,368.49$3,544.37$3,416.40
Nationwide$3,394.83$3,449.80$3,505.37
Progressive$3,737.13$4,018.46$4,350.96
Farmers$3,922.47$4,166.22$4,494.13
Travelers$4,223.63$4,462.02$4,619.07
Allstate$4,628.03$4,896.81$5,139.02
Liberty Mutual$5,805.75$6,058.57$6,356.04
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The daily average cost for liability-only car insurance is about $10.43 if you have a standard policy. One-day auto insurance averages $15 a day. You can see that if you need car insurance for more than just a few days, it can actually be much cheaper to purchase a standard policy.

Due to various state laws, the price of auto insurance varies from state to state, with some states being quite economical and others are not so much. Michigan, home of Motor City, ironically tops the list of the most expensive states for auto insurance.

Do I really need auto insurance for just one day?

It’s only a day. Is it really worth it?

It might seem like overkill to get insurance for a car you’re only planning to drive for one day, but the penalties for driving without auto insurance will cost you more than any one-day insurance policy.

Penalties for Driving Without Auto Insurance by State
StatesPrimary Fine for First Driving Uninsured OffenseOther Penalties for First Driving Uninsured Offense
AlabamaUp to $500Registration suspension with $200 reinstatement fee
AlaskaN/ALicense suspension for 90 days
Arizona$500 (or more)License/registration/license plate suspension for three months
Arkansas$50 to $250Suspended registration/no plates until proof of coverage plus $20 reinstatement fee; court may order impoundment
California$100-$200 plus penalty assessmentsCourt may order impoundment
Colorado$500 minimum fine4 points against your license; license suspension until you can show proof to the DMV that you are insured. Courts may add up to 40 hours community service
Connecticut$100-$1000Suspended registration/license for one month (show proof of insurance) with $175 reinstatement fee
Delaware$1,500 minimum fineLicense/privilege suspension for six months
FloridaN/ASuspension of license and registration until reinstatement fee is paid and non-cancelable coverage is secured; $150 fee for first reinstatement
GeorgiaN/ASuspended registration with $25 lapse fee and $60 reinstatement fee. Pay any other registration fees and vehicle ad valorem taxes due
Hawaii$500 fine or community service granted by judgeEither license suspension for three months or a required nonrefundable insurance policy in force for six months
Idaho$75License suspension until financial proof. No reinstatement fee.
Illinois$500 minimumLicense plate suspension until $100 reinstatement fee and insurance proof
IndianaN/ALicense/registration suspension for 90 days to one year
Iowa$500 if in accident; Otherwise, fine: $250Community service in lieu of fine. Possible citation/warning if pulled over plus removal of plates and registration possible when pulled over without insurance and reissued upon payment of fine or completed community service, proof of insurance, and $15 fee; possible impoundment when pulled over
Kansas$300 to $1,000 Fine and/or confinement in jail up to six months; license/registration suspension; reinstatement fee: $100
Kentucky$500 to $1,000Fine and/or sentenced up to 90 days in jail; license plates and registration revoked for one year or until proof of insurance is shown
Louisiana$500 to $1,000If in car accident, fine plus registration revoked and driving privileges suspended for 180 days
Maine$100 to $500Suspension of license and registration until proof of insurance
MarylandN/ALose license plates and vehicle registration privileges; pay uninsured motorist penalty fees for each lapse of insurance — $150 for the first 30 days, $7 for each day thereafter; Pay a restoration fee of up to $25 for a vehicle's registration
Massachusetts$500 to $5,000Fine and/or imprisonment for one year or less
Michigan$200 to $500 Fine and/or imprisonment for one year or less; license suspension for 30 days or until proof of insurance; $25 service fee to Secretary of State
Minnesota$200 to $1,000 Fine (or community service) and/or imprisonment for up to 90 days; License and registration revoked for no more than 12 months
Mississippi$1,000Driving privileges suspended for one year or until proof of insurance
MissouriN/AFour points against driving record; driver may be supervised; suspended until proof of insurance with $20 reinstatement fee
Montana$250 to $500 Fine and/or imprisonment for no more than 10 days
NebraskaN/ALicense and registration suspension; reinstatement fee of $50 for each; proof of insurance to remain on file for three years
Nevada$250 to $1,000Registration suspension — until payment of reinstatement fee and, depending on circumstances, an SR-22 (proof of financial responsibility) if lapsed more than 90 days; reinstatement fee: $250
New HampshireN/ANot a mandatory insurance state. Proof of insurance may be required as the result of a conviction, crash involvement, or administrative action. If you are required to file proof of insurance and vehicles are registered in your name, you will be required to file an Owner’s SR-22 Certificate of Insurance.
New Jersey$300 to $1,000License suspension for one year; pay surcharges for three years in the amount of $250 per year
New MexicoUp to $300 Fine and/or imprisoned for 90 days; license suspension
New YorkUp to $1,500 if involved in accident plus $750 civil penaltyLicense and registration suspension – revoked for one year; suspension of license if without
insurance for 90 days; suspension lasts as long as registration suspension; Suspension of registration: equal to time without insurance or pays $8/day up to thirty days for which financial security was not in effect, $10/day from the thirty-first to the sixtieth day $12/day from the sixtieth to the ninetieth day and proof of security is provided. Or for the same time as the vehicle was operated without insurance.
North Carolina$50Registration suspension until proof of financial responsibility but 30-day suspension if in car accident or knowingly driving without insurance; $50 restoration fee plus license plate fee
North DakotaUp to $1,500 Fine and/or 30 days in prison; 14 points against license plus suspension; Proof of insurance must be provided for one year; license with a
notation requiring that person keep proof of liability insurance on file with the department. The fee for this license is $50, and the fee to remove
this notation is $50.
OhioN/ALicense/plates/registration suspension until requirements are met and $100 reinstatement fee is paid; maintain special high-risk coverage on file with the BMV for three to five years; If involved in accident without insurance: all above penalties and a security suspension for two plus years and an indefinite judgment suspension (until all damages are satisfied)
Oklahoma$250Jail time up to 30 days; license suspension with $275 reinstatement fee. Police can seize license plates and assign temporary plates and liability insurance — in effect for 10 days and can also impound the vehicle. The cost of the temporary coverage is added to the administrative fee and any fines paid for plates to be returned. If the car isimpounded, the owner must also pay towing and storage fees.
Oregon$130-$1000 ($260 is the presumptive fine)If involved in accident — at least a one year license suspension; proof of financial responsibility required for three years
PennsylvaniaN/ARegistration suspended for three months (unless lapse was for less than 31 days and vehicle not operated during that time); $88 restoration fee plus proof of insurance required to get it back; $500 civil penalty fee is optional in lieu of registration suspension plus $88 restoration fee — can only use this option once within a 12-month period
Rhode Island$100 to $500License and registration suspension up to three months; reinstatement fee: $30 to $50
South Carolina$100-$200 Fine or 30-day imprisonment; failure to surrender registration and plates when insurance lapses; license/registration suspended until proof of insurance plus $200 reinstatement fee
South Dakota$100Fine and/or 30 days imprisonment; license suspension for 30 days to one year; filing proof of insurance (SR-22) with the state for three years from date of conviction. Failure to file proof will result in suspension of vehicle registration, license plates, and driver license.
TennesseeN/APay $25 coverage failure fee within 30 days of notice; if not paid, then an additional $100 coverage failure fee with suspension or revocation of registration plus reinstatement fee of no more than $25
Texas$175 to $350 Pay up to a $250 surcharge every year for three years (may be reduced with certain requirements)
Utah$400License suspension until proof of insurance (maintained for three years) and $100 reinstatement fee
VermontUp to $500License suspended until proof of insurance
VirginiaMay pay $500 Uninsured Motorists Vehicle fee to drive without insurance at your own risk. If this fee is not paid in lieu of insurance, all driving and vehicle registration privileges will be suspended until a $500 statutory fee is paid, proof of insurance is filed for three years, and a reinstatement fee (if applicable) is paid
WashingtonUp to $250 or moreN/A
West Virginia$200 to $5,000License suspended for 30 days with reinstatement fees, unless there's proof of insurance and $200 penalty fee
WisconsinUp to $500N/A
WyomingUp to $750Up to six months in jail
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According to the Insurance Information Institute, one in eight drivers are uninsured. Consequences for driving without insurance include fines, driver’s license suspension, and possible jail time.

What if I already have auto insurance?

Typically, the people who buy one-day car insurance policies are people who do not currently have auto insurance. If you own your own vehicle and have auto insurance, you are probably already covered.

In fact, you could be doubly covered: auto insurance follows the car, which means you should be covered when driving someone else’s vehicle (assuming that person has insurance on their car).

In this situation, your personal insurance could act as secondary insurance, giving you an extra layer of protection.

Check with your insurance company to determine if you already have coverage. If you’re not covered, or if you don’t have auto insurance at all, you might wish to buy a one-day insurance policy for certain situations.

Who qualifies for one-day auto insurance?

You should be able to get one-day car insurance if you are between 21 and 75 years old with a relatively clean driving record.

Typically, insurance companies will refuse to provide one-day insurance to young drivers, drivers with multiple at-fault incidents, and drivers with previous license suspensions.

As long as you meet the basic requirements, you should be able to get one-day car insurance:

  • You are between 21 and 75 years of age
  • You have no more than six penalty points on your license within the past three years (or, learn how to get points removed from your license)
  • You have not had your license suspended in the past five years
  • You have had no more than one at-fault insurance claim in the past three years

Keep reading to learn how to go about getting one-day auto insurance.

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How do I get one-day auto insurance?

Applying for one-day car insurance is pretty straightforward. Here’s what you should do to find the right policy:

Step 1) Gather your information, including your vehicle information (year, model, and mileage), your own driving history, your license number, and other personal information.

Step 2) Compare insurance quotes online. Most major insurance companies in the United States offer one-day auto insurance policies, and you should be able to choose that option easily when filling out the auto insurance application.

Step 3) Call local insurance agents. Sometimes, local insurance companies have better deals than nationwide providers on one-day car insurance rates. Consider calling a few local providers.

Step 4) Pay your rate. Most one-day insurance policies can be paid online using a credit card or a debit card. You might also be able to pay with a check or cash, although it may take longer.

Step 5) Get proof of insurance. After making your payment, the insurance company should allow you to print off your proof of insurance card (or, if the date is in the future, they might mail the card to your address). Hold onto this proof of insurance. You’ll need it if pulled over.

Some auto insurance companies also offer short-term policies – like auto insurance that lasts a week or a month. Look for these policies – including one-day policies – under the short-term coverage or temporary auto insurance section of an insurance provider’s website.

That’s it. If you’d like to check out affordable one-day car insurance rates today, you can enter your ZIP code and compare one-day auto insurance quotes for free. You’ll be able to easily select the date on which you want your temporary car insurance.