Short-Term Auto Insurance in California

If you want flexibility, you could consider a temporary car insurance policy. In truth, short-term auto insurance agreements are uncommon for several reasons.

First, major insurers don't offer contract terms for fewer than half a year. Since car coverage is a legal requirement in every state but one, it can be risky to jump between policies. You also risk having holes in your auto insurance history by changing policies frequently, leading to more expensive prices down the road.

The good news is auto insurance contracts typically last for just six months. This quick turnaround allows insurers to re-rate — or re-price — your bill based on your recent driving history and demographic info.

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It is also a perfect chance to assess your situation by exploring other insurers. Finding rates online is quick, and there isn't necessarily a penalty for changing car insurance companies when your policy expires — or even mid-term, as long as you never let your insurance lapse.

The flexible nature of car insurance makes it relatively simple to buy with little advance notice. If you require a policy to drive a new car off of the lot, attempting to get insurance for a longer-term rental, or seeking insurance for a vehicle you don't own but drive more than occasionally, think about purchasing a six-month policy and cutting the term short as needed.

Temporary auto insurance in California

Below are average car insurance rates for drivers in California, organized by popular auto insurance companies and cities. If you’re paying substantially more than what you see below, consider making a change.

Insurance CompanyAverage 6-Month RateAverage Monthly Rate
California State Average — All Companies$853$142
United Financial$701$117
California Automobile$813$135

The cheapest option for temporary auto insurance in California is USAA, which can save you $45 per month, compared to the next-cheapest option, Mercury. In California, the average monthly cost of car insurance is $142, or $853 over a six-month term.

Where you live can have just as large an impact on your insurance premiums as the insurance company you choose. Car insurance companies take into account the density and likelihood of a claim being filed when drafting prices by ZIP. View insurance prices in the biggest cities in California and compare against what you’re paying.

Insurance CompanyAverage 6-Month RateAverage Monthly Rate
Los Angeles$1,063$177
San Diego$677$113
San Jose$705$117
San Francisco$864$119

If your costs exceed those listed above, take a moment to shop around. The temporary nature of an auto insurance contract adds to the importance of remaining informed and willing to shop.

Find out more about temporary auto insurance or use The Zebra to compare rates today.

Additional resources

Is it possible to get car insurance with no credit history?

Learn more about weekend-only car insurance.

Check out the best car insurance options for teen drivers.

Find cheap auto insurance for new drivers.

Find an affordable policy today!

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Ava Lynch LinkedIn

Based in Austin, TX, Ava has been in the insurance industry as a licensed agent for 4-plus years. Ava is currently one of The Zebra’s resident property insurance experts and has been featured in publications such as US News Report, GasBuddy, and Yahoo! Finance.