Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers Insurance CSR 4 Years

UPDATED: Dec 4, 2015

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Even though insurers have limitations on when they can cancel coverage, policyholders are free to cancel their auto at any time
  • If you cancel a standard auto insurance policy early, it’s possible that you’ll be charged an early termination fee or short-rate fee
  • Some specialty insurers offer short-term of temporary auto insurance that provides coverage for days or weeks as requested
  • Underwriting guidelines for standard policies differ from underwriting guidelines for temporary auto insurance
  • Make sure not to cancel insurance while you still own the vehicle and have an insurable interest in it or you can be fined

When you’re shopping for a standard auto insurance policy, you’ll find that you can either select a 6-month term or a 12-month term. Start comparing car insurnace rates now by using our FREE tool above! If you need just one month’s worth of coverage, it can leave you wondering how you can find a policy that works for your unique case. What you should know is that the term represents not how long you’re required to keep your coverage, but how long the insurance company is obligated to keep your rates level without raising them. Because of this, you’ll have more than one option when it comes to buying car insurance for a month. Read this guide and determine which option makes the most sense for you.

Why do standard auto insurers offer only 6 and 12-month terms?

You might wonder why insurers only offer two different term options when you’re shopping for coverage in the standard market. To understand why, you’ll need to first understand how the market works. When a policyholder buys insurance, their application is reviewed by an underwriter. After it’s reviewed and all of the risks have been assessed, the rate is finalized and the policy is issued.

After issuance, the insurance company can’t legally raise the policyholder’s rates until the next renewal comes.

If there’s a rate revision or something occurs that makes the household more risky to cover, it’s at the insurance renewal when the account is reviewed and the price is adjusted. Since all policies are underwritten right before their renewal, it doesn’t make sense for standard insurers to offer shorter terms. It would cost too much money in labor and would make the average policyholder feel uneasy that their rates could go up in just months.

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Reasons Drivers May Require Insurance For Only One Month

The average consumer is looking for the best auto insurance rates that will remain fixed for as long as possible. Even though most people would prefer to buy an annual policy to guarantee rates and for easy budgeting, some consumers know from the beginning that they won’t need coverage for more than a month. There’s a long list of reasons why you might need coverage for just a short term. Here are just some examples:

  • You’re planning on selling your vehicle within the month and need coverage while it’s for sale
  • You need coverage to drive or tow a vehicle that’s not driven to a repair shop
  • You’re registering your vehicle but later plan to move out of state or out of the country
  • You’re planning to surrender your driver license within the next month
  • You need non-owned insurance to drive a friend’s car or a rental for the next month only
  • You’ll only own a vehicle temporarily
  • Relatives will be driving your car for a short period of time
  • You need immediate coverage to drive off the lot but don’t have existing insurance
  • You need storage protection for your vehicle

Can you cancel your auto insurance after one month?

One option for getting insurance for just a month is to apply for a standard car insurance policy just as if you were going to need the coverage for the entire term. Auto insurance carriers can’t cancel your coverage mid-term without a valid reason, but you can cancel your policy for any reason by simply making a request.

The rules concerning cancellation are in place to protect you as a consumer and to keep the market competitive. If you apply for coverage, you can decide to pay for just the first month plus whatever down payment is charged. After the month has ended, you’ll need to send a written request to the insurer stating the effective date and the reason you want your insurance cancelled the carrier will process it.

Some of the Drawbacks of Buying Standard Insurance for One Month

Buying a standard policy might be the most familiar option, but it does come with its drawbacks. One of the biggest drawbacks is that many companies require you to pay a down payment at policy inception.

This means that you’ll need to pay more out of pocket for the temporary coverage.

Another drawback is that companies often charge cancellation fees when policyholders end their contracts early. Whether or not these fees can be charged depends on the state. Some states will allow companies to charge a flat fee or a short-rate percentage of the balance owed to help the insurer balance their projected books. It’s important to check into the fees charged by each insurer before you choose any type of standard plan.

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What are alternatives to cancelling standard plans early?

You are probably thinking that there has to be a better option when it comes to getting coverage for a month. You may be more comfortable applying for a short-term or temporary auto insurance policy that provides you with the protection you need for just days or weeks at a time. Instead of requiring you to buy coverage for 6 or 12 months, temporary insurers will let you choose how many days you want coverage. These plans tend to be a bit more expensive because of how quickly they are underwritten.

Underwriting Guidelines for Temporary Car Insurance

Only some drivers are eligible for temporary insurance. Before you can apply for this type of specialty plan, you’ll need to meet the following underwriting guidelines:

  1. Be at least 21 years old
  2. Have a valid license with 12 months of experience
  3. Have no more than 6 points on your driving record
  4. Have no more than one at-fault claim in 3 years

Now that you know your options, you can start to solicit quotes. Decide if short-term coverage or standard coverage is best and then start comparing price. You can easily generate quotes for yourself and your household drivers by using an online auto insurance quote comparison tool. See how much the leading insurers will charge you and then bind coverage for a month. Start comparing car insurance rates now by entering your zip code in our FREE tool below!