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Last updated: July 3, 2023

Short-Term Car Insurance in Arizona

You can buy insurance policies for one, three or six months — but we don’t recommend it.

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Maybe you’re renting a car so you can tour Arizona from Sedona to Flagstaff or perhaps you’re borrowing a friend’s car and passing through the state on a cross-country drive. No matter the reason, some people only need car insurance for a short period of time, typically one, three or six months. But can you buy a car insurance policy for that short of time and is it worth it?

Temporary Coverage in Arizona

The first thing you should know is that when it comes to temporary car insurance in Arizona and beyond, short-term policies under six months only include liability coverage. That means they’ll only apply to property damages and medical expenses you cause to people outside of your car.


In Arizona, you’re required to have $25,000 of bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 per accident and $15,000 of property damage liability to drive legally.


Despite it being the minimum coverage Arizona requires, temporary car insurance tends to cost twice as much as regular insurance. Here are the average prices for one-, three- and six-month policies from various auto insurance companies.

Average annual cost of temporary car insurance in Arizona by term length in months 1 3 6
Overall average across all providers $123 $321 $717
Allstate $115 $346 $692
American Family/CONNECT $95 $285 $517
Country Financial $89 $301 $601
CSAA $119 $356 $711
Esurance $104 $312 $625
GEICO $90 $192 $540
Hartford $106 $286 $571
Mercury $125 $375 $749
Nationwide $91 $274 $548
Progressive $84 $252 $503
State Farm $104 $313 $674
Travelers $112 $308 $617
USAA $66 $198 $525

These prices are much higher than what you’d pay for a more typical term length, such as 12 months.

How to Get It

There are two options for getting temporary car insurance:

  1. Compare quotes from multiple providers in Arizona that offer short-term car insurance. Buy a policy and expect to pay exorbitant prices.
  2. Alternatively, buy a regular policy and cancel it before the expiration date, but note that you may have to pay a cancellation fee or lose the money you paid in advance.

Temporary Auto Insurance Alternatives

Aside from the high cost, we don’t recommend temporary car insurance because most reputable auto insurance companies don’t offer it. It’s best to go with an alternative solution.

Permissive Use

If you’re borrowing someone else’s car on an irregular basis, most likely their auto insurance policy already covers you as a permissive user — in other words, someone using the vehicle with permission. If that’s the case, it’s not necessary to duplicate coverage by getting your own as insurance follows the car, not the driver.

Nonowner Insurance

But if you do borrow someone else’s car regularly, it may make sense to get nonowner car insurance. This is insurance on a car that you don’t own. Of course, the owner’s car insurance policy will still cover their vehicle, but nonowner car insurance can act as secondary coverage to pay for any damages you cause.

How much does nonowner insurance cost? Typically, it’s cheaper than regular car insurance and, like temporary car insurance, only includes liability coverage. Essentially, it offers the same coverage as a normal policy but for a much lower price.

Rental Car Insurance

If you’re renting a car and wondering how to insure it, you should know that the rental car company has already insured the vehicle to the state’s requirements at a minimum. However, the salesperson at the rental car counter may offer you more insurance. Should you buy it?

If you already have collision, comprehensive or medical payments coverage, also known as personal injury protection (PIP) for another car, health insurance, and/or renters or homeowners insurance, the answer is likely no as those policies may apply to your rental vehicle. One of your credit cards may offer insurance for a rental car as well. However, if you lack these other forms of insurance, you might want to consider the following types of coverage when renting a car:

  • Collision/loss damage waiver: The damage waiver could help cover the cost of repairs if you damage the car.
  • Personal effects coverage: If some of your personal possessions are stolen from the car, personal effects coverage would reimburse you up to a percentage of their value. In  2020, the last time the Arizona Department of Public Safety published a report on this, there were 15,806 reported auto thefts in Arizona, amounting to a dollar loss of nearly $79 million.1
  • Personal accident insurance: Personal accident insurance would cover your and your passengers’ medical bills if injured in a rental car accident. However, it’s unnecessary to get if you have other health coverage, either from your personal car insurance policy or from a separate health insurance policy.
  • Supplemental liability protection: Supplemental liability protection acts as umbrella insurance, raising your combined liability limit to $300,000 for third-party claims.
  • Roadside assistance: You can add roadside assistance if your existing program doesn’t cover the area you’re driving in Arizona. Roadside assistance offers fuel deliveries, locksmith services and other life-savers if you’re stuck on the side of the road.


Among 75,000 miles of roadway in Arizona, 73 percent are local roads, 16 percent are collector roads and 9 percent are arterial roads. Less than 3 percent of the state’s roads are interstate, freeways or expressways.2

Stored Vehicles Coverage

You may want insurance for a vehicle in storage. For example, let’s say you’re a military member being deployed overseas so you’ll be keeping your car in storage. In that case, USAA offers insurance built specifically for deployed members, with discounts as high as 60 percent.3 Letting your insurance lapse in your absence will lead to higher prices in the future, so it’s best to get stored vehicle coverage or keep your current policy active, even if you have to lower the limits or drop certain coverages.

Pay-Per-Mile Insurance

Another option is pay-per-mile insurance. You may be wondering: If you drive zero miles, is the insurance free? The answer is no, as you’ll still have to pay a flat daily rate regardless of your mileage. However, beyond that daily rate, you’ll pay a low per-mile rate. So if you’re only using your car for a short commute, pay-per-mile insurance could save you money.


More than a quarter of Arizona drivers have commutes less than 15 minutes long.4 If this is you, consider pay-per-mile companies like Metromile or Root when you’re shopping for car insurance.

Why You Might Need Temporary Car Insurance

Why would someone need car insurance for such a short period of time? Great question. Here are some common reasons:

  • You are a college student leaving your car at home while you attend school.
  • Your car is in storage.
  • You borrow or rent a car frequently.


If you can avoid it, don’t buy car insurance in Arizona with a term that’s less than six months. Rather, use the alternatives highlighted above. Whatever you do, keep your insurance policy active. Driving without insurance is not only illegal, but if you cause an accident, it could also cost you thousands.

To find the best short-term or temporary car insurance coverage, get auto insurance quotes from multiple providers with the same coverage options selected. Sure, you won’t see auto insurance rates as low as you would with standard car insurance but, for some, one- or three-month car insurance could be a viable option.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the minimum auto insurance requirements in Arizona?

The minimum auto insurance requirements in Arizona are as follows.

  • Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability: $15,000 per accident

How long can you drive without insurance after buying a car in Arizona?

You must have insurance to drive at all in Arizona, even directly after buying a car. You should not drive a car off the lot or be allowed to if you’re not insured.

Is Arizona a no-fault state?

No, Arizona is an at-fault state, meaning the at-fault party is responsible for the other party’s property damage and medical costs.

Does Arizona require PIP coverage?

Arizona does not require PIP coverage. Rather, it only requires bodily injury liability coverage for the other party’s medical costs.


  1. Crime in Arizona 2020. Arizona Department of Public Safety. (2021).

  2. Fast Facts from ADOT. ADOT. (2023).

  3. Here’s what you need to know about storing your car while on duty. USAA. (2023, Mar 15).

  4. COMMUTING CHARACTERISTICS BY SEX. United States Census. (2021).