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Ava Lynch

Insurance Analyst

  • 7+ years of Experience in the Insurance Industry

Ava joined The Zebra as a writer and licensed insurance agent in 2016. She now works as a senior insurance contributor, providing insights and data a…

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Renata Balasco

Senior Content Strategist

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Renata joined The Zebra in 2020 as a Customer Experience Agent. Since 2021, she has worked as licensed insurance professional and content strategist.…

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 Company Average 6-Month Rate Average Monthly Rate
California State Average — All Companies $934 $156
Esurance $582 $97
Century National $667 $111
GEICO $679 $113
Progressive $784 $131
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.

City Average 6-Month Rate Average Monthly Rate
Los Angeles $1,316 $219
San Diego $886 $148
San Jose $932 $155
San Francisco $1,129 $131
Fresno $938 $156


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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About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance editorial content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.