#temporary auto insurance
Short-term auto insurance companies: a survey of leading providers
If you find yourself in need of short-term auto insurance, companies like these will be a great place to start your search
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If you find yourself looking for short-term auto insurance and you conduct a quick Internet search, you may find a host of local or regional insurance companies you’ve never heard of. While many of those firms may be perfectly capable of selling and servicing your short-term car insurance needs, you should know that all major car insurance companies offer some form of short-term coverage option. When it comes to evaluating short-term auto insurance companies, it’s no surprise that some of the leading companies with some of the highest ratings are also among the highest rated companies for all forms of car insurance.
Before you shop, determine if you need this coverage
Before selecting one of the following companies for your short-term car insurance coverage needs, you may want to understand a little bit more about short-term auto insurance and when and why you might need it.
Short-term or temporary car insurance is coverage that you can purchase when you just need auto insurance for a few days or weeks or even a couple months. Standard car insurance policies run for six months and will also typcially self-renew unless you have issues relative to claims or changes to rates and options.
Most people turn to short-term auto insurance when they rent or borrow cars for a more extended period of time. Short-term policies also can be useful if you experience a short gap in coverage or if you are substantially changing your circumstances (such as a move to another country or a military deployment.) If you buy a new car, you may also be issued a short-term policy to protect you on the drive home before you can add the new car to your more traditional car insurance policy.
If you truly are in need of this type of policy, you may want to give first consideration to these providers:
According to customer satisfaction surveys and rankings from organizations ranging from JD Power Associates to A.M. Best rankings, USAA offers the best customer service and some of the easiest claims processing in the country. If you have an insurance policy from USAA, your primary policy may cover you when you rent or borrow a vehicle. However, if you do not have any insurance and you are renting a vehicle, USAA suggests talking to the rental company about getting temporary coverage for your rental vehicle. This may be more cost advantageous than getting a policy directly from USAA.
If you do need a full-fledged short-term car insurance plan, USAA can build one for you that includes the legal requirements for your state, any contractual obligations you may have relative to car insurance coverage, as well as any additional coverage options you may need to fit the unique elements of your short-term insurance need.
Erie Insurance Group
This is another insurer that you may find while searching for short-term auto insurance companies. It offers clients great benefits such as accident forgiveness and pet-injury coverage. It also routinely ranks high in industry and consumer survey rankings for customer satisfaction, speed and efficiency in claims handling, and overall value. Perhaps its only drawback is that it is a regional carrier and it currently doesn’t serve all 50 states. If you are not currently living and driving in a state where this company does not offer its products and services, you may need to investigate further.
This nationally-recognized financial services company got its start in the insurance field. Founded in 1925 to offer fire and lightning protection for famers and rural households, the company has grown to become a leading provider of car and other insurance products. The company consistently earns A.M. Best Company’s highest ranking (A+ Superior ) for car insurance customer satisfaction, claims handling and affordability. It is also a car insurance provider with one of the lowest rates of consumer complaints among state insurance commissions and oversight offices. In addition to full term, full coverage car insurance policies, it can put together single use, short-term and temporary car insurance coverage packages to suit any situation.
The tenth largest car insurance company in the country distinguishes iself by service more than size. They rank well nationally for value and affordability and consistently receive high marks for customer service and claims handling. It routinely has one of the lowest complaint rates of any leading insurance provider. In addition to a full range of coverage options and limits, it offers numerous discounts, including:
- Bundling auto, home, life discount
- Air bag discount
- Multiple vehicle discount
- Accident free discount
- Good student discount
While short-term auto insurance policies rarely offer any discounts, American Family extends a surprising number of discounts to customers who need short-term car insurance plans. The options and full range of discounts will vary from state to state, so be sure you ask your representative if you are eligible for any discounts.
The country’s eighth largest car insurance company is no stranger to putting together unique and innovative policy packages for its customers. The company routinely ranks well for price, value and customer service, and high for availability and for its network of agents. The company offers numerous discounts for qualifying drivers, including:
- Multi-policy (bundling) discounts
- Family discounts (for having one or more driver from the same family covered)
- Accident free discounts (if you go at least five years without an accident)
- Good student discounts (for teen students with a B or better grade average)
- Defensive driving training discounts
- Anti-theft device discount
- Farm Bureau discount (offered if you join the Farm Bureau)
The availability of discounts will depend on the state where you live and drive, so be sure you consult with your representative to see if you qualifty for any discounts on a short-term policy. Nationwide also offers a unique family pricing plan that extends coverage options, rates and discounts to all insured drivers living under the same roof.
If you’re looking for the gecko or your good neighbor or a pair of good hands, they do offer short-term car insurance, but getting it from one of the largest companies in the country will likely cost you substantially more. As with many products and services, you will pay for the “convenience” of only needing car insurance coverage for a short period of time. But with these featured firms, there are some opportunities for disounts and reduced rates you might not find with competing carriers.
If you are borrowing or renting a car, or if you find yourself with lapsed coverage or a unique situation warranting a custom solution, short-term auto insurance might be it. To know for sure, it might help if you spend some time with a local and licensed car insurance agent with access to some of these leading companies. An agent will be able to help you determine if a short-term policy is your best option and can even show you some sample policy options to compare before you buy. Reply! can help by putting you in touch with car insurance professionals in your area familiar with short-term auto insurance policies and companies.
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Jeffrey Davidson is the Auto Insurance content editor at Reply! with more than 25 years of market research, PR, insurance sales and consulting experience. To share his insurance ideas, find him on Google+ .