Short-Term Auto Insurance in California

Explore our guide to finding the best deal on a six-month car insurance policy in the Golden State.

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If you're seeking some flexibility, you might be interested in a temporary auto insurance contract. Unfortunately, short-term car insurance is hard to come by for a few reasons.

Some many insurance underwriters don't provide contracts shorter than six months. Since auto insurance is required by law in most US states, swapping policies by the month can be risky. Additionally, you risk creating gaps in your auto insurance record by frequently changing policies, leading to higher premiums down the road.

Fortunately, car insurance policies typically last for just six months. This allows auto insurance companies to “re-rate” — or re-price — your premiums with your present driving profile and personal profile.

It also gives you a perfect chance to improve your insurance by requesting quotes from other companies. Shopping prices online costs nothing, and there isn't a penalty for switching car insurance companies when your policy ends — or even mid-policy, as long as you never let your insurance lapse.

The flexible nature of car insurance makes it relatively simple to acquire with almost no notice. If you're asked to purchase a policy to drive a new car away, attempting to get coverage for a relatively long-term auto rental or searching for coverage on a car you don't own but regularly drive, think about purchasing a six-month policy and removing coverage as needed.


Get free quotes for a six-month policy today!

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Short-term auto insurance in California

Below are normal car insurance costs in California, organized by top auto insurance companies and the most populous cities. If you're paying more than the rates listed below, consider other options.

Temporary Car Insurance Rates by Insurance Company in California.png
Insurance CompanyAverage 6-Month RateAverage Monthly Rate
California State Average — All Companies$934$156
Century National$667$111
California Capital$811$135


The most budget-friendly option for temporary auto insurance in California is Esurance, which can save you $14 per month, compared to the next cheapest option, Century National. In California, the average monthly price of auto insurance is $156, or $934 over a biannual term.

The place in which you drive has just as large an influence on your car insurance rates as the insurance company you choose. Auto insurance companies take into account the frequency of claims in a given area when pricing policies by ZIP code. Check out insurance rates in the largest California cities and compare them against what you’re paying.

CityAverage 6-Month RateAverage Monthly Rate
Los Angeles$1,316$219
San Diego$886$148
San Jose$932$155
San Francisco$1,129$131


Because of the myriad factors involved in setting insurance rates, your quotes may not match the totals displayed above. If your current costs don't match those listed above, take the time to shop around. The short-term duration of a car insurance policy enhances the importance of remaining informed and willing to shop.

Learn more about temporary car insurance or use The Zebra to compare policies for free online.


Compare auto insurance quotes now to get insured in California today!

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Ava Lynch
Ava Lynch LinkedIn

Ava worked in the insurance industry as an agent for four-plus years. Currently providing insights and analysis as one of The Zebra’s resident property insurance experts, Ava has been featured in publications such as U.S. News & World Report, GasBuddy, and Yahoo! Finance.