Margaret Huntley Last Updated On: February 12, 2024

What Is One Day Car Insurance?

As the name suggests, one day car insurance refers to car insurance that you only pay for and use for one day. It’s also commonly referred to as temporary car insurance or single day car insurance. Unfortunately, this type of insurance is the unicorn of car insurance: it doesn’t exist—at least not with any reputable providers. Car insurance typically lasts for at least six months to a year. 

So, what do you do if you need one day car insurance but can’t get it? Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives for those that need short term car insurance. 

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Table of Contents

Who Might Need Car Insurance For a Day?

There are several legitimate reasons someone might need single day car insurance, such as:
  • You’re driving a friend or family member’s car
  • You only drive your car occasionally 
  • You’re driving a parked/stored car
  • You’re shopping around for a permanent plan and need insurance in the meantime 
  • You’re renting a car
  • You’re test driving a car
While there are plenty of reasons for wanting single day car insurance, the good news is that in most situations, you may already be covered. 

Alternatives to One Day Auto Insurance

Although 1-day car insurance doesn’t exist, you do have options depending on your situation. 
  • Borrowing a car: Borrowing a friend or family member’s car for a day here and there is typically covered under their auto insurance policy. You’d be considered a permissive driver and are insured to borrow the vehicle temporarily. For anything longer term though, you’d need your own insurance policy.
  • Renting a car: You may already be covered by the rental car agency’s insurance (if you purchase it) or your own car insurance policy if you have one. Many credit cards also offer rental car insurance if you pay with that credit card.
  • Non-owner policy: If you borrow vehicles regularly but don’t own a vehicle, you might consider getting a non-owner insurance policy. You’ll get liability coverage and pay less than a standard insurance policy, though you won’t have comprehensive or collision coverage.
  • Usage-based insurance: For those who only drive occasionally and don’t want to pay for a standard insurance policy, usage-based insurance might be a good option. Your mileage will be tracked through a device and you’ll be billed for just your actual use of the vehicle, which can save you significantly on car insurance if you don’t drive very often.
  • Stored cars: Vehicles that are being stored and not driven should have a reduced insurance policy that covers it for damage or theft. Your premiums will be less, but you won’t be covered if you drive the vehicle. When you do need to drive the car, contact your insurance provider to add more coverage.
  • Classic cars: Even if you rarely drive your classic car, it needs a specific type of insurance policy. This is because classic cars are more expensive to insure, given their higher repair and part replacement costs.
  • Test driving a car: You’re covered by the dealership’s insurance on the vehicle.
If you’re tempted to get an insurance policy only to cancel it a day or two later, you might want to think again. Not only will you likely have to pay pricey cancellation fees, but this could cause your insurance rates to skyrocket the next time you need auto insurance; insurance providers don’t like to see lapses in car insurance and instead reward long-term coverage with more affordable rates. 

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Same Day Car Insurance

There are also situations where you’d need to get same day car insurance or car insurance that’s instantly valid the day you purchase it. This could be because your current car insurance policy is expiring and you need to quickly replace it to avoid a lapse in coverage. It could also be because you’re buying a vehicle that day and don’t currently have auto insurance. 

If you’re looking to obtain same day auto insurance, you’re in luck. Many insurance providers not only offer instant car insurance quotes but immediate proof of insurance. If you have the required personal information ready, such as your driver history, your vehicle information, your driver’s license, and more, you should be able to get same day car insurance (as long as you don’t have a high-risk driving history). 

The Bottom Line

If you’re planning on driving a vehicle, you need car insurance. Whether you’re covered under a friend’s policy, your rental car insurance, or another method, it’s your responsibility to ensure you have the coverage necessary. 

While one day car insurance doesn’t exist, there are plenty of other options to ensure you not only have the required coverage to drive but have the coverage you need for peace of mind. 

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While you can’t get legitimate car insurance for a single day, you do have other options. The cost depends on the route you go; for example, car insurance for a stored vehicle is much more cost-effective than a full insurance policy. ​

You can often get same day car insurance so that you’re covered immediately. You may have to pay higher rates and will have fewer options, but it’s definitely feasible. ​

This practice is definitely not advised. You’ll very likely have to pay hefty cancellation fees, but this will be a red flag to insurance providers in the future if you need car insurance again. Your insurance premiums will go up, which often cancels out any savings you got from cancelling your policy early. ​


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