Temporary car insurance is exactly what you think it is: short-term coverage that gives drivers an insurance policy for a short period of time. Policy lengths range from just a few weeks, up to six months.
Traditional auto insurance policies provide coverage for a 12-month period, but there are some circumstances where a driver may need a shorter policy.
Two common reasons are:
If you have a personal car insurance policy, you may already be covered. Credit cards often provide rental car insurance to their customers. For these reasons, many drivers opt out of the insurance offered at the rental counter.
But what if you don’t have a personal insurance policy, or insurance through your credit card? If this is the case, it is important you do pay for coverage through the rental company. At a minimum, your rental car needs coverage for damage, theft and liability – otherwise you are taking on a huge financial risk.
This insurance is different from personal temporary car insurance, as you are just leasing insurance from the rental company’s group policy, rather than taking out your own.
The same rules apply when you are renting a moving truck, or even test-driving a new car.
If you’re thinking about getting temporary car insurance, or have it already, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Temporary insurance is available in most Canadian provinces. You can check with the Facility Association to see which companies offer it.
Some Ontario providers offer six-month coverage, but they are few and far between. In theory, you could opt for a 12-month policy and then cancel it before the end of the agreement, but the cancellation fees are costly.
Just like regular insurance, the cost of temporary insurance varies based on your driving needs, car type and driving history, among other factors.
Keep in mind that not all provinces offer temporary car insurance, so it’s best to check with your insurance company to make sure it’s available.
If a student driver is home for the summer and needs insurance, or a young driver will be moving away from home soon, they can be added to their parent’s policy as an occasional driver. This saves the hassle of trying to get temporary insurance, and you won’t risk having to pay hefty cancellation fees, should your child need to be taken off the policy sooner than expected. But, if the vehicle is registered in the child’s name, they will need their own policy.