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Temporary car insurance in the US?

Old 03-19-13, 10:21 AM
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Rob_E
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Temporary car insurance in the US?

Been living car-free-ish for a couple of years now. My wife has a car, but I never drive it. It means I can get by without insurance, usually.

But next month I'm going on a week long road trip and it'd be nice if I was able to help out with the driving. Anyone have any experience with temporary car insurance? I can find web sites telling me why I might need it, but not where I can buy it. At least not in the US.
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Old 03-19-13, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
Been living car-free-ish for a couple of years now. My wife has a car, but I never drive it. It means I can get by without insurance, usually.

But next month I'm going on a week long road trip and it'd be nice if I was able to help out with the driving. Anyone have any experience with temporary car insurance? I can find web sites telling me why I might need it, but not where I can buy it. At least not in the US.
Will you be driving your wife's car? If so she should be able to add you to the policy without much problem unless you have a bad driving record.

A rental car? If you have a valid driver's license you can probably get minimum coverage of liability and collision coverage from the rental car agency. If you use the right credit cards, the collision coverage will be already covered.

Someone else's car? Their car insurance should/might cover you, if you have a valid DL up to whatever limits there are on the owner's coverage.

Note: Your reference to yourself as "living car-free-ish" points out again that are numerous definitions of living car-free on this Forum.

Last edited by I-Like-To-Bike; 03-19-13 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 03-19-13, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Will you be driving your wife's car? If so she should be able to add you to the policy without much problem unless you have a bad driving record.

A rental car? If you have a valid driver's license you can probably get minimum coverage of liability and collision coverage from the rental car agency. If you use the right credit cards, the collision coverage will be already covered.

Someone else's car? Their car insurance should/might cover you, if you have a valid DL up to whatever limits there are on the owner's coverage.
Neither a rental, nor my wife's car. In another state, I might be covered by the owner's policy. In my state, every driver needs to be insured. It's my sister's car, and I don't live near her. I'm afraid that for me to be temporarily added to her policy would be more trouble than it's worth. There are many references to temporary insurance covering this very type of situation. What's missing is any mention of what companies offer such policies.
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Old 03-19-13, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Will you be driving your wife's car? If so she should be able to add you to the policy without much problem unless you have a bad driving record.

A rental car? If you have a valid driver's license you can probably get minimum coverage of liability and collision coverage from the rental car agency. If you use the right credit cards, the collision coverage will be already covered.

Someone else's car? Their car insurance should/might cover you, if you have a valid DL up to whatever limits there are on the owner's coverage.

Note: Your reference to yourself as "living car-free-ish" points out again that are numerous definitions of living car-free on this Forum.
North Carolina laws about auto insurance are pretty wacky, as we've discussed here before. Every state is different. Here in Michigan we hav no-fault. It goes with the car instead of the driver, and eliminates a lot of the law suits filed in states where the driver who is responsible for a collision is liable for damages to both parties.
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Old 03-19-13, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
Neither a rental, nor my wife's car. In another state, I might be covered by the owner's policy. In my state, every driver needs to be insured. It's my sister's car, ...
Are you sure of this? According to the consumer booklet put out by the North Carolina Dept. of Insurance:
https://www.ncdoi.com/_Publications/C...rance_CAU1.pdf
on page 3 it states:
"The Personal Automobile Policy
will cover you or any family member while
using any automobile or trailer, and any
person using your covered automobile with
permission."

So if your sister has given you permission to operate her car then her policy should cover you for any liability claims up to the policy limits.
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Old 03-19-13, 12:05 PM
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Check with your wife's insurance company. They should know the laws and be able for you to be included into family policies. At worst, sign up for the new policy and drop it later.
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Old 03-19-13, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
Check with your wife's insurance company. They should know the laws and be able for you to be included into family policies. At worst, sign up for the new policy and drop it later.
I am reluctant to go through my wife's policy simply because I suspect that once on the policy, it will be difficult to remove me. Then instead of paying for insurance for the length of the trip, we will be paying insurance from this point forward. Still, it is an option. But I was hoping for a solution that wouldn't affect anyone else's policy. It seems like something I should be able to do, but I don't know what company offers it.

I had also considered just signing up and cancelling. I suspect it would be too expensive to be worthwhile. I believe I would have to pay for a minimum of one month's coverage. I contacted my previous insurer, and they said the minimum policy length is 6 months, but I do believe I could arrange monthly payments and cancel at the end of the first month. It would also come with a penalty for a lapse of insurance. So I would be paying for a whole month at an inflated rate to cover the 6 days that I might be driving. Still a possibility, but I suspect that if it came to that, I'd just let my sister do the driving. I suspect that while she'd appreciate some help with the driving, she would appreciate help with gas more, so I could funnel that same inflated insurance bill into her gas tank. So I guess what I'm really looking for is the most affordable way to make myself a legal driver for a week, so I can figure out if it would be worthwhile.
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Old 03-19-13, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
Are you sure of this? According to the consumer booklet put out by the North Carolina Dept. of Insurance:
https://www.ncdoi.com/_Publications/C...rance_CAU1.pdf
on page 3 it states:
"The Personal Automobile Policy
will cover you or any family member while
using any automobile or trailer, and any
person using your covered automobile with
permission."

So if your sister has given you permission to operate her car then her policy should cover you for any liability claims up to the policy limits.
That is an interesting find. It does not jibe with my understanding of NC law. I believe that in NC you have to have proof of insurance in order to legally drive. In fact, to get a driver's licence you need to provide proof of insurance or get a "fleet vehicle only" license that does not allow you to drive personal vehicles. The only reason I'm currently licensed is because I had insurance when I first got my license. I'm fairly certain that if I were found driving and there was no policy with my name on it, that would be illegal in this state. Even though that's an NC document, the wording sounds much more like what Roody describes in Michigan, and what I am familiar with in Ohio. Problem being that without coverage that specifically names me, I don't think I'm a legal driver, so the fact that I might have my sister's permission will probably not be enough.
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Old 03-19-13, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
Neither a rental, nor my wife's car. In another state, I might be covered by the owner's policy. In my state, every driver needs to be insured. It's my sister's car, and I don't live near her. I'm afraid that for me to be temporarily added to her policy would be more trouble than it's worth. There are many references to temporary insurance covering this very type of situation. What's missing is any mention of what companies offer such policies.
Have the owner (your sister?) contact the insurance rep they deal with and pose an innocuous question like "I was wondering if the need ever arises, say like a medical procedure that precludes me driving myself afterwards, if it was okay for me to authorize someone outside of the household to operate the vehicle, assuming they have a valid DL?" Don't mention the out of state part nor the lack of insurance currently.

Of note, OK law doesn't require insurance to obtain a DL. Insurance is required to register the vehicle or transfer title. To combat uninsured motorists, the State now requires the insurance companies to report anyone that cancels their policies. Failure to insure can result in loss of DL.
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Old 03-19-13, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
Have the owner (your sister?) contact the insurance rep they deal with and pose an innocuous question like "I was wondering if the need ever arises, say like a medical procedure that precludes me driving myself afterwards, if it was okay for me to authorize someone outside of the household to operate the vehicle, assuming they have a valid DL?" Don't mention the out of state part nor the lack of insurance currently.
That might work if my sister lived in another state where each driver was not required to carry liability insurance. In this state, I'm fairly certain my lack of insurance makes it illegal for me to drive in North Carolina. Having my sister grant me permission to drive her car does not gain me the documentation that I need to be a legal driver in this state.
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Old 03-19-13, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
I am reluctant to go through my wife's policy simply because I suspect that once on the policy, it will be difficult to remove me. Then instead of paying for insurance for the length of the trip, we will be paying insurance from this point forward. Still, it is an option. But I was hoping for a solution that wouldn't affect anyone else's policy. It seems like something I should be able to do, but I don't know what company offers it.

I had also considered just signing up and cancelling. I suspect it would be too expensive to be worthwhile. I believe I would have to pay for a minimum of one month's coverage. I contacted my previous insurer, and they said the minimum policy length is 6 months, but I do believe I could arrange monthly payments and cancel at the end of the first month. It would also come with a penalty for a lapse of insurance. So I would be paying for a whole month at an inflated rate to cover the 6 days that I might be driving. Still a possibility, but I suspect that if it came to that, I'd just let my sister do the driving. I suspect that while she'd appreciate some help with the driving, she would appreciate help with gas more, so I could funnel that same inflated insurance bill into her gas tank. So I guess what I'm really looking for is the most affordable way to make myself a legal driver for a week, so I can figure out if it would be worthwhile.
Well, I'd ask your wife's company, asking doesn't obligate you to sign up.

When I sold my car, I decided to keep my liability insurance just to cover situations like this and should I need to drive in the future.
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Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 03-19-13, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
I am reluctant to go through my wife's policy simply because I suspect that once on the policy, it will be difficult to remove me. Then instead of paying for insurance for the length of the trip, we will be paying insurance from this point forward. Still, it is an option. But I was hoping for a solution that wouldn't affect anyone else's policy. It seems like something I should be able to do, but I don't know what company offers it.
Can't say about your insurance company or the correct interpretation of NC law, but I've had car insurance in IA, IL, PA and OR and it never cost an additional dime to have a spouse added to a policy as long there were no DUI or other bad driving citations against either party.
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Old 03-19-13, 05:52 PM
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If you haven't had auto insurance for several years, my guess is it will be rather expensive.
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Old 03-19-13, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Northwestrider View Post
If you haven't had auto insurance for several years, my guess is it will be rather expensive.
That's why to check with his wife's company. Get included with the wife's policy.
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Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 03-19-13, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Northwestrider View Post
If you haven't had auto insurance for several years, my guess is it will be rather expensive.
That's what we had heard. Then we asked our insurance agent, a man who seems to constantly perform insurance miracles, and he said there is no significant penalty for a lapse of coverage. Of course, that will vary by state and company, so that's worth zip to most everyone else. Still, it's not written in stone that a lapse is going to cost you.
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Old 03-19-13, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Can't say about your insurance company or the correct interpretation of NC law, but I've had car insurance in IA, IL, PA and OR and it never cost an additional dime to have a spouse added to a policy as long there were no DUI or other bad driving citations against either party.
That is my take on it too and I live in NC. The only time it cost more was to add a teen driver.

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Old 03-19-13, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
That is an interesting find. It does not jibe with my understanding of NC law. I believe that in NC you have to have proof of insurance in order to legally drive. In fact, to get a driver's licence you need to provide proof of insurance or get a "fleet vehicle only" license that does not allow you to drive personal vehicles.
I'm not sure why you're so distrusting of an official document put out by your state's Department of Insurance. But if you are, why not confirm it with either your wife's insurance carrier or that of your sister? Those insurance agents should be very familiar with your state's laws regarding auto insurance - certainly more so than random people on an internet bicycle-related forum. Based on the statements in the NC DoI booklet you may well already be considered covered under your wife's policy assuming you're living in the same household.

And note that this situation is different from the NC requirement to have proof of insurance when you initially get a driver's license.
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