Temporary Car Insurance for Young Drivers

Temporary car insurance for young drivers covers someone for up to 30 days in a borrowed or rented car. To qualify for temporary car insurance, young drivers must have a clean driving record.

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UPDATED: Jun 2, 2022

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Joel OhmanUPDATED: Jun 2, 2022Fact Checked

Here's what you need to know

  • Drivers under 21 are a high-risk group and are not covered by some companies
  • Short-term car insurance is useful for young drivers who don’t own a car
  • Temporary insurance may be a good option if a young driver is leaving their parent’s coverage

Young people who are new to the road may benefit from short-term car insurance for under-21 drivers. Temporary car insurance for young drivers under 21 can provide interim coverage for a number of reasons, as long as it’s for a short period of time.

Many young people are not at the point where they need or can afford a car. They may be looking at an expiring learner’s permit, which puts them at the point of needing their license. Or they’re just finishing high school and haven’t started a job just yet in order to afford a car on their own.

They may also just need transportation for a short outing a few times each month. Not everyone depends on a vehicle for their transportation needs, but for those that want a car, insurance is going to be a must. However, an annual car insurance premium can be daunting for someone who doesn’t have a massive income.

Temporary car insurance coverage will help cover such a period in a young driver’s life. A temporary car insurance policy is a great way to cut down on costs while still remaining safe and secure on the road.

No matter the young driver’s situation, short-term coverage may be a necessary and smart expense to take on for protection.

Should you be reading this and are in need of immediate car insurance, use our free tool above to compare rates and plans.

What is temporary car insurance?

Temporary insurance is a solid choice for a driver who is moving to their own coverage. For example, if you’re a driver on your parent’s policy, but you’re looking to get your own auto insurance policy, you can apply for temporary insurance as long as you qualify. We’ll go over these qualifications further below.

Temporary insurance will only cover you up to 30 days, but can fulfill the need for coverage if you need it temporarily or if you’re in the process of changing your insurance carrier. Before jumping into getting a temporary policy, you may want to look into whether or not it’s required by the state you live in. You may not be required to carry insurance yourself until you have your license or even a car.

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The Availability of Temporary Car Insurance for Young Drivers

Drivers under 21 are a high-risk group. This is a time when energy levels and a sense of adventure are high. It’s also a time in life when drivers may not make the best and most responsible decisions.

Insurance carriers base their rates on the level of risk they perceive a driver to be based on extensive research. Although short-term car insurance for under 21-year-olds is available, it can be expensive.

Many carriers don’t even offer short-term car insurance for this age group. Some of the major car insurance providers are in the position to accept the risk, but they only offer it at rates that protect them as well.

Other insurers find this risk to be more than it’s worth in expenses. A high-risk driver is going to have a higher potential for claims, even with short-term insurance or a temporary policy. This is why the price tag is so high for this specific age bracket.

The Purpose of Temporary Car Insurance for Young Drivers

There are many young drivers who do not own a car. They may intend to borrow or rent a vehicle, choosing to go without more often in order to cut down on gas usage and other costs. In this case, short-term car insurance would be a good choice.

They may also ask to be added to their friend or relative’s policy to save money. Whichever temporary car insurance company is being utilized should be notified of the intent to lend a car to anyone not currently on the existing policy.

If a parent’s policy will be too expensive with a young driver on it, a non-owner’s car insurance policy will be a lot cheaper for those specific times of need.

How to Qualify for Temporary Car Insurance

To qualify for a policy, a person must prove they have a clean driving record. There are quite a few ways that a young driver can prove that they’re capable of handling such a policy. Good grades can help, since there are often a lot of discounts offered for students with clean records. Avoiding things such as a DUI or other reckless driving habits can be massively beneficial, as any infraction may tarnish an otherwise clean driving record.

However, there are some things out of a driver’s control that are used to determine how much an auto policy will cost:

  • ZIP code
  • Age
  • Make and model of the car
  • Where the driver intends to drive
  • The duration of the term (one to 28 days)

The type of car driven also makes a difference in what the premium will be. The premium for a young male driver behind the wheel of a red Ford Mustang is going to cost more than one behind the wheel of a white Ford Taurus.

Most short-term policies will cover liability if nothing more. If there’s a lien on the car, the lender may require full coverage anyway. In this case, collision and comprehensive may be included in the amount required by the state.

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Cost and Conversion

The cost to buy short-term car insurance for under-21 drivers can be a little or quite a bit more than regular car insurance. However, there are benefits:

  • The flexibility of converting to a long-term policy
  • Fewer obligations to long-term premiums
  • The ability to cancel and pick it back up at a later time
  • Modification capabilities

A short-term car insurance policy for under-21-year-old drivers usually lasts one to 28 days.

If there are no incidents and you’re interested in converting the short-term car insurance policy to a long-term one, you may be entitled to discounted rates.

Most companies will offer a conversion without a deposit or with a less expensive one.

Why would a driver need to change their insurance?

There are some specific reasons as to why a driver may need to change their insurance.

Moving Away

If you are under 21 but in the process of moving from your parents’ house to your own home, you may need temporary coverage.

Chances are, you’ve probably been under your parents’ insurance up until this point, but now you feel the need to have your own insurance.

Having temporary insurance can satisfy the need to be covered while you’re shopping for permanent insurance.

Changing State of Residency

If you’re in the process of changing your state of residence, you might need to use temporary insurance while you’re shopping around for a more permanent solution.

During this time, you will want to look for permanent insurance that reflects the mandates of the state that you plan to move to as soon as possible.

You Don’t Own a Car

If you do not yet own a car and are under 21 years of age, you may be in a position where you sometimes drive your parent or another family member’s car, for example.

You Lease a Vehicle

If you’re leasing a car, you will be under the jurisdiction of the lease company’s insurance. But if you have an accident while driving the leased vehicle, they may only have basic coverage.

Gap coverage may be a temporary solution to cover unforeseen circumstances while you’re renting a car.

Transition Period

If you’re under 21 and in transition between residences, jobs, or vehicles, temporary insurance may temporarily solve your problem of not having insurance while you shop for something permanent.

A Temporary Solution

Keep in mind that, no matter how good gap insurance or temporary insurance may seem to be, your goal should be to get full coverage as soon as you have left your parents’ house or turn 21 and are on your own.

While you are under 21, you may be living in your parents’ house and may be covered by their insurance. However, thinking of long term solutions can prove to be beneficial, since there will be less stress once the time comes to look into your own policy.

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Types of People Who May Want Temporary Insurance

Below is a list of the types of individuals who may want to get some temporary insurance coverage to handle the state requirements for insurance while looking for permanent insurance.

Young Drivers

As mentioned above, drivers under 21 may need temporary or gap coverage to cover the costs of minimal insurance while shopping for a more permanent solution.

These type of drivers include people moving out of their parents’ home and coming off of their parents’ insurance plan.

Classic Car Enthusiasts

Classic car owners who only take their car to special car shows or cruise around town occasionally may want temporary coverage since they won’t be driving enough to necessitate a full policy.

Learning Drivers (Permit)

Drivers who are still driving under a permit may only need temporary insurance to satisfy the state’s mandatory requirements for insurance as they make the transition to full-time driver.

Check with your parents’ insurance company to see if it covers drivers during the learning period.

One-Day Insurance

Some people get insurance to cover them for only one day due to special circumstances such as moving home with a car or taking care of an emergency situation.

Such people need not get full coverage just for one day, but they do need to make sure they’re covered with the state mandatory insurance.

Good News for Young Drivers

There is some good news for young drivers who either still have their learner’s permit or are now licensed drivers.

You may qualify for a variety of discounts.

Some of the discounts you could qualify for include:

  • Good student discount – If you maintain around a “B” average at school, you may be rewarded by some insurance companies for your efforts. Check to see if the insurance companies you’re considering have this discount.
  • Good driver discount – The best thing you can do if you want to save money on your insurance premium is to have a clean driving record. A clean driving record is the single most important factor that you can control regarding your insurance premium.
  • Moving out of state – If you are relocating to a school or college in another location away from home, you may qualify for an insurance discount on your premium.

Naturally discounts are optional extras you can add, but they’re more of a benefit that should be heavily considered.

In Conclusion

This is an exciting time for young drivers, being able to branch out on their own, and learn responsibilities that they’ll take with them into adulthood. All the more reason to take even a short-term policy seriously. Auto insurance companies will look at a young driver’s record when calculating what they’ll pay, and they’re going to want a customer who will be a low-risk investment.

So keep your driving record clean by observing safe and defensive driving, shop and compare many companies before deciding, and keep your eyes on the road at all times.

Start comparison shopping today for temporary car insurance quotes and better auto insurance rates by entering your ZIP code below.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

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