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Most car insurance companies in Texas sell policies that stay in effect for either six or 12 months. After that period, you renew your policy or switch to a different carrier. Policies that offer coverage for less than six months may only be available if there are special circumstances—for example, if you are renting a car for a short time period. Although there are exceptions, short-term car insurance generally refers to a six-month policy.
What is temporary auto insurance?
Most providers offer policy terms of six and 12 months, although some carriers may only offer six-month policies. At the end of the term, you can usually renew your policy, switch to another carrier or make changes to your policy if necessary. Your rate may change at the end of your term, depending on your driving record and other factors.
It can be helpful to understand the pros and cons of six-month and 12-month policies if you’re trying to figure out which term length you want. Your rate is locked in for a shorter period with a six-month policy, which may be good or bad, depending on whether the rate is at the lower or higher end. While the flexibility certainly makes six-month policies more appealing to some drivers, others prefer to lock in a competitive rate for a longer period. Here are some of the primary advantages and disadvantages of choosing a longer- vs. shorter- term insurance policy in Texas.
Pros and cons of short-term insurance in Texas
|6-month policies||12-month policies|
Premium may be cheaper or improve at renewal sooner, based on positive life changes
Competitive rates can be locked in for the entire 12-month period
Longer renewal periods provide time to mitigate against negative life impacts, such as improving a drop in credit standing.
Negative life circumstances, such as an accident or claim, can lead to a rate increase sooner at renewal
Premium may be more expensive
Average cost of short-term car insurance
The average annual car insurance rate in the U.S. is $2,014 for full coverage, which includes optional collision and comprehensive coverage. In Texas, the average annual 12-month rate is slightly higher, at $2,019. A short-term, six-month policy will be roughly half of that, although your own rate may differ from the average, depending on your situation and the car insurance company. Below are sample rates for six-month insurance from Texas carriers.
|Average 6-month car insurance premium|
Temporary car insurance options
While most car insurance providers do not sell short-term car insurance, there are a few forms of what might be considered temporary auto insurance in Texas. These types of coverage may benefit some drivers, but it depends on the unique circumstances. Also, keep in mind that not all car insurance providers offer these policies, and the terms of coverage and duration will vary.
Non-owner insurance policy
If you do not own a registered vehicle, but you occasionally borrow a car from a friend or family member, non-owner auto insurance might fit your needs. Non-owner insurance only includes liability insurance, so the coverage is fairly limited. However, it may be cheaper than a standard minimum coverage policy for those who do not own a registered vehicle. Non-owner insurance is generally sold in six-month increments.
Rental car insurance
In most cases, traditional car insurance policies extend coverage to rented vehicles. But if you need to rent a car and require more coverage than your personal auto insurance policy provides, you can purchase additional temporary insurance through the rental car agency. A rental car policy only lasts for as long as you have the car. It typically covers liability, but may also offer collision coverage for an additional charge.
Student driver insurance
Student drivers, and specifically their parents, may benefit from having a six-month car insurance policy. Because the policy will renew more frequently, changes to your student’s grades or location can impact rates or qualifying discounts. For example, if your child goes to college more than 100 miles away and does not expect to drive your vehicle, you could ask your insurer about a student away at school discount. If their grades improve over the course of 6 months, they could be eligible for a good student discount at the time of renewal as well.
Short-term insurance for stored vehicles
If you own a registered vehicle that is stored and not in use, you may qualify for short-term car insurance savings. Your insurance company may charge lower rates for reduced coverage limits or types on a vehicle in storage, though some restrictions typically apply. You might have to prove that you do not have access to the car, or it may need to be kept away from your home.
Although rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft provide some coverage to their drivers, there are limits, and you may have periods at work when you are not covered. For example, you may be ineligible for coverage during periods of waiting for a ride assignment while on the job. With this in mind, it makes sense to consider a rideshare insurance endorsement for your personal car policy. This add-on provides more robust coverage for when you are on the clock.
How to get short-term car insurance
Purchasing short-term car insurance in Texas is much like purchasing a 12-month policy. Here are the steps you may want to follow so the process goes smoothly.
- Determine if temporary car insurance is right for you. There are cases where six-month insurance policies might suit your situation: for those who are in the military, moving to another state soon, shopping for a new vehicle or soon looking to add another driver to their policy. A short renewal time may make sense in these circumstances.
- Find the right insurer. Not all companies offer six-month policies, so you may need to look around to find the best insurer. It’s a good idea to gather quotes from several companies to see who gives you the best rate for your coverage.
- Evaluate your choices. Once you’ve received several quotes, you can choose a company based on what’s important to you. If cost is your primary consideration, the cheapest car insurance company may be one good option. If customer service is a priority, consider going with an insurer with high customer satisfaction ratings. You may also want to consider financial strength and other factors that help make a company one of the best car insurance options in Texas.
Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2023 rates for ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:
- $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $50,000 property damage liability per accident
- $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
- $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
- $500 collision deductible
- $500 comprehensive deductible
To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverage that meets each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2021 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.
These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.