Temporary Car Insurance In New Jersey For 2024

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Written by Cara Carlone
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Have you ever needed to borrow a car from a friend or family member or had to lend one yourself? When sorting insurance for such situations, a standard insurance policy seems like too much insurance, doesn’t it? That’s where temporary car insurance comes in.

A temporary car insurance policy provides short-term coverage at a fraction of the cost of a traditional auto policy. The only problem is most insurers in the U.S. don’t sell temporary car insurance policies. Fortunately, there are other ways drivers can get coverage for a short duration, depending on your needs.

As an insurance industry veteran with decades of experience, I have advised many drivers on the best auto insurance options for their circumstances. In this article, I provide the same guidance to New Jersey drivers by discussing potential reasons for buying temporary car insurance and suggesting alternative options.

Read on to learn how to be adequately covered without paying full price for that coverage.

What Is Temporary Car Insurance?

Temporary car insurance policies have terms that are less than six months. However, standard auto policies in the U.S. typically come with 6- or 12-month policy terms. If you only need coverage for a few months, weeks, or even days, consider alternatives like buying a standard six-month policy and canceling it early.

Can You Get Temporary Car Insurance In New Jersey?

Insurance companies generally don’t offer temporary car insurance in New Jersey (and the rest of the United States). Nonetheless, drivers can still get short-term coverage by finding existing coverage options that match their needs.

Alternative Solutions To Temporary Car Insurance

There are alternative solutions to temporary car insurance if you need it. The various solutions will depend on the reason you need insurance. Let’s look at some examples.

Rental Car Insurance In New Jersey

Most drivers mistakenly believe they need to buy temporary car insurance when they rent a car. But you can purchase car insurance directly from the rental car company, eliminating the need for a personal policy. Getting coverage through the rental company is recommended since most insurers don’t cover loss of use of rental cars, which can be pricey.

Rideshare Car Insurance

Uber employs roughly 1.5 million drivers in the United States, and since its launch in New Jersey in 2013, more than 13,000 drivers had signed up to drive for the ride-share service by 2017. Most ride-share companies maintain commercial auto insurance on behalf of their drivers. By New Jersey law, this should include at least $1.5 million in underinsured motorists coverage for each trip.

If you drive for a transport network company (TNC), you should also maintain personal auto insurance to protect you while off the clock. Additional insurance may be necessary to cover any gaps between the TNC commercial policy and your personal auto policy. You can get a rideshare endorsement on your policy or a separate rideshare insurance policy.

Non-Owner Car Insurance In New Jersey

Do you have regular access to a car you don’t own? A non-owner policy can provide you with liability coverage whenever you operate it. Non-owner car insurance is tied to the person named in the policy rather than a specific vehicle. So when you get behind the wheel of a rented or borrowed car, you can have peace of mind knowing you’re protected.

Note: A non-owner car insurance policy can also prevent lapses in your insurance coverage when you’re between cars, preventing your insurance premiums from increasing in the future.

New Jersey Pay-Per-Mile Insurance

If you work remotely or just don’t drive very often, pay-per-mile car insurance may be the solution you’re looking for. While traditional auto insurance doesn’t factor in how regularly you drive, premiums for a pay-per-mile policy are based primarily on how many miles you drive. Therefore, low-mileage drivers pay less for the same coverage a standard car insurance policy offers.

Buying A Six-Month New Jersey Insurance Policy And Canceling It Early

Insurance companies generally offer six or twelve-month car insurance policies, so you’re not likely to find policies with shorter terms. However, there’s no law against purchasing a six-month auto policy and canceling it early.

Note: Some insurance companies may charge you a penalty for canceling your policy before the end of its term. Read and understand the cancellation section of a policy before you commit to buying it.

New Jersey's Top Car Insurance Companies for Short-Term Car Insurance


Cheapest Liability Only

Overall Rating
4.5

Key Statistics

7/10 Affordability
8/10 Customer Satisfaction
9/10 Claims
10/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

If you’re looking for short-term car insurance, you’re also likely looking for the most affordable options. You can save on your auto insurance by forgoing comprehensive and collision coverage and getting liability coverage only. However, this may not be possible if your vehicle is financed or leased.

My research shows Geico to be the cheapest provider for liability-only policies. Famous for its commercials, Geico is also making waves with its affordable prices. Anyone looking to drive legally on the streets of New Jersey with only liability coverage should consider Geico.

Customers can reach Geico any time, owing to their 24/7 customer service. The company has also made it easy for policyholders to manage their policies and make payments.

Benefits & Drawbacks

Benefits
  • Satisfying claims process
  • Multiple communication lines, including phone, chat, and app
Drawbacks
  • Few local agencies
  • Rates may be pricey for some driver profiles

Average Cost Of Minimum Coverage, Short-Term Car Insurance

Company Six-Month Premium With Liability Only
CSAA $234
Geico $198
Kemper $294
Mercury $270
State Farm $408

Note: As of January 1, 2023, drivers in New Jersey must carry at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for injuries and $25,000 in property damage per accident for a standard policy. But remember, the higher the limits you can afford, the better because you will be responsible for paying for any damages exceeding your policy’s limits.


Cheapest For Drivers With An Accident

Overall Rating
4.5

Key Statistics

9/10 Affordability
10/10 Customer Satisfaction
9/10 Claims
9/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

Having an accident on your driving record will almost certainly increase your insurance premiums. The extent of the increase varies from insurer to insurer. A New Jersey driver with one accident on their driving record can expect to pay around $1,455 for a policy with a six-month term. The same policy from USAA will cost that same driver around $1,043.

The main drawback of USAA is that it’s not available to anyone other than military members and their eligible families. But for those that qualify to get car insurance from USAA, in addition to affordable rates, they also have USAA’s reputable customer service to look forward to. It’s no wonder the provider ranks highly for customer loyalty.

Benefits & Drawbacks

Benefits
  • Specialized coverage for military families
  • Top-rated customer service and claims handling
  • Offerings include banking products
Drawbacks
  • Serves only the military community
  • Doesn't have local agents

Average Cost Of Temporary Car Insurance After An Accident

Company Six-Month Premium for Full Coverage
Allstate $1,771
Geico $1,103
State Farm $1,560
Travelers $1,658
USAA $1,043

Cheapest For Young Drivers

Overall Rating
4.7

Key Statistics

10/10 Affordability
9/10 Customer Satisfaction
6/10 Claims
9/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

If you’re a young driver and don’t have much driving experience, consider buying short-term coverage from Progressive. Not only does the company offer the lowest rates for inexperienced drivers, but it also has discounts that further reduce your insurance costs. One such discount is the occasional operator discount.

On top of this, Progressive has a user-friendly app that allows customers to easily access their policy documents, make payments, file claims, and much more.

Progressive appeals to younger drivers by making it convenient to buy policies and make payments. However, some competitors have a better claims process score than them, meaning if you file a claim after an accident it may not be settled as fast as you’d like. That said, Progressive has been in business for almost ninety years and has a strong ability to pay claims by policyholders.

Benefits & Drawbacks

Benefits
  • Policies can be purchased through agents or directly online
  • Convenient, user-friendly app
  • Inexpensive policies
Drawbacks
  • Expensive for most driver profiles

Average Cost Of Short-Term Car Insurance For Young Drivers

Company Six-Month Premium for Full Coverage
Progressive $654
National General $741
Geico $900
Mercury $933
Wawanesa $955

New Jersey Temporary Car Insurance Rates By Policy Length

Geico is the No.1 insurer for private passenger auto in New Jersey, with a 23.57% market share, according to the 2022 NAIC market share report. Farmers came in at No. 10 for the same category with only 3.02% market share.

Company One Month Premium Three Month Premium Six Month Premium
State Farm $221 $663 $1,326
Geico $113 $340 $679
Allstate $108 $323 $648
Travelers $129 $387 $774
Farmers $101 $304 $609

New Jersey Short-Term Auto Insurance Rates By City

There were over 220,000 car crashes in New Jersey in 2021, with 24,497 happening in Essex County. Newark, the seat of Essex County, has the most expensive rates. After all, areas with higher accident rates tend to attract higher auto insurance rates.

City Average Six-Month Policy Premium Average Monthly Premium
Edison $933 $156
Elizabeth $981 $164
Jersey City $1,172 $195
Lakewood $943 $157
Newark $1,335 $223
Paterson $1,081 $180
Woodbridge $911 $152

New Jersey Temporary Car Insurance Rates By Insurance Company

Based on my findings, Progressive has the most expensive auto insurance in New Jersey, while Geico has the cheapest rates.

Company Average Annual Premium Average Monthly Premium
Clearcover $1,236 $103
Geico $1,032 $86
Progressive $1,380 $115
Safeco $1,308 $109
Sun Coast $1,080 $90

Adjusting New Jersey Car Insurance Temporarily To Suit Your Needs

Depending on why you need temporary car insurance, your insurer may allow you to alter your current auto policy such that your coverage better matches your needs. If you have no insurance at all, purchasing specialty car insurance with a term of six months may also be an option.

Here are examples of situations where you might consider short-term coverage.

To Let Someone Else Drive Your Car

There will be times when other people will operate your vehicle. The permissive use clause featured in most car insurance policies allows you to occasionally lend your car to someone not named on your policy as long as it’s for short-term use. It could be a friend borrowing your car for the weekend or a neighbor driving you to the hospital following an emergency.

However, if there’s someone you regularly allow to drive your vehicle, your insurance provider will likely require that you add them to your auto policy. The same goes for all licensed drivers in your household, regardless of how often they drive.

To Add A Teenage Driver To Your Policy

So your child has gotten their driver’s license, and you’re wondering whether you should add them to your car insurance policy. Well, most carriers require that you do, even if they will rarely drive. Failure to disclose a licensed driver living in your household or who has regular access to your car may have costly consequences like denial of claims and policy cancellation.

Adding a teen to your auto policy will almost certainly increase your premiums. If your child won’t be driving, excluding them from coverage may make more financial sense.

Student Has Left Home For College

More than half (56%) of undergraduate college students have a car with them at school. For insurance, they can either remain on their parent’s car insurance or buy their own standard auto policy. Students who don’t have a car at school but are licensed drivers also need insurance. The thinking behind this is they may sometimes drive friends’ cars while at school or use the family car whenever they’re home from college.

If your child was to cause an accident while driving someone else’s car and the damage caused exceeds the car owner’s policy limits, your child could be liable for the difference. To prevent such situations, consider keeping your child on your policy or getting them a non-owner insurance policy. In New Jersey, the minimum coverage requirements for a standard auto insurance policy are $25,000/$50,000/$25,000.

If you’re still unsure about letting your college student remain on your policy, consider this: 1,519 college-aged students die as a result of alcohol-related injuries annually, including fatal car crashes. You wouldn’t want your child hesitating to drive a friend who’s drunk home due to insurance concerns, would you?

You Have A Car In Storage

Drivers who store their cars for extended periods due to seasonal changes or other reasons can look into getting storage insurance. However, there’s no specific type of policy dedicated to vehicles in storage. Instead, it is reduced coverage.

You can drop collision and liability coverages for the duration your car remains in storage, maintaining comprehensive coverage only. This portion of your policy covers damage from non-collision incidents like theft, fire, and vandalism. When it’s time to get your vehicle out of storage, call your insurance company and have them reinstate suspended coverage before you start driving again.

Infrequent Drivers

If you seldom drive, you may get away with not having your own car insurance policy. Policyholders are generally required to list all licensed drivers living in the same address as them on their policy whether they frequently drive or not. So you can be added as a driver to the auto insurance of a parent, spouse, or other person you live with.

Alternatively, if you occasionally borrow someone else’s car for short, you will be covered under the permissive use clause in their policy. But bear in mind the permissive use provision is only for short-term and infrequent borrowing. If you regularly use other peoples’ cars, consider a non-owner policy, as it will cover you no matter whose car you drive.

International Drivers

International drivers have a range of coverage options depending on their intended length of stay in the U.S.. If it’s a brief trip, they can rent a car and purchase insurance through the rental car company. But if they plan on staying for a month or longer, a standard auto policy or non-owner insurance may be a better fit. They can then cancel the policy once they’re back home.

Note: Depending on the state and insurance provider, international drivers may be required to have an international driving permit (IDP), a recognized foreign driver’s license, or a United States driver’s license.

Finding out what documentation you’ll need to get auto insurance in the state you plan on visiting before leaving for your trip is crucial.

Note: If your insurer doesn’t offer car storage insurance, you can save money by reducing your coverage amounts to the state-required minimum. However, if you have a multi-car policy, this strategy would risk you being underinsured in case of an accident.

FAQs

What is temporary car insurance?

Temporary car insurance is any auto policy with a term of less than six months.

Can car owners use temporary car insurance permanently?

By definition, temporary car insurance is short-lived, lasting fewer than six months. If you need long-term car insurance, you should purchase a policy valid for a period longer than the standard six or twelve months

Does short-term car insurance exist?

Yes. In many countries, car insurance policies offering short-term coverage exist. However, such policies typically don’t exist in the U.S.. To get temporary coverage, drivers resort to alternatives like purchasing a standard six-month auto policy and canceling it early.

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