It can be frustrating to pay for full time car insurance coverage if you only drive your car on the weekends. Some drivers may be tempted to find coverage that only covers you when you are actually driving your car, but weekend-only coverage isn’t actually available from most car insurance companies.
Even though weekend-only car insurance isn’t a real product, drivers who don’t use their car much can save money on car insurance by purchasing pay-per-mile coverage, while drivers who regularly borrow a vehicle on weekends may be able to take advantage of some types of temporary car insurance coverage.
Can you get car insurance for the weekend only?
There is a good reason for car insurance companies to sell coverage in six or 12-month increments — if you own a car, it needs to be insured all the time, not just when it is on the road. Just because you only drive on the weekend doesn’t mean your car can be left unprotected the rest of the time.
For example, your car can be damaged by hail, fire, and vandalism even if it isn’t moving, or worse, your parked car could be sideswiped by a hit-and-run driver. If your coverage is only active two days per week, you wouldn’t be covered for any of that damage the rest of the time.
If you see an advertisement for weekend-only car insurance, the odds are good it is a scam or, at the very least, provides insufficient coverage.
Options for temporary car insurance
Sometimes you may legitimately only need a car for a single weekend, which means you may need some type of temporary car insurance coverage. Here are a few examples of options for temporary coverage::
1. Car sharing coverage
If you use a car-sharing service, like Zipcar or Turo, you may need to purchase a protection plan through the company to make sure you are fully protected, whether you’re borrowing someone else’s vehicle or sharing out your own car.
2. Rental car coverage
If you are renting a car from a standard car rental agency, like Enterprise, Avis, or Hertz, the vehicle you rent is usually covered under your personal car insurance coverage assuming you already have a policy. You can purchase additional car insurance coverage from the rental agency, but it usually isn’t necessary for drivers who have full coverage on their personal auto insurance policy.
You may need to purchase rental car coverage if you don’t have your own car insurance policy, but you can also get extra liability insurance for a rental car from a third-party company, like Allianz or Bonzah, at lower rates than you’ll get through your car rental company. Any rental car insurance you buy will cover just the rental period, so if you’re only renting a car for a weekend, it will function as weekend-only coverage.
3. Non-owner coverage
Non-owner car insurance provides coverage for people who don’t own a vehicle but drive regularly. Non-owner car insurance usually only includes liability coverage, which covers the damage you’re responsible for in an accident.
Unlike a standard policy, non-owners insurance only includes basic coverage, which is generally the coverage required by law in your state. Non-owner car insurance does not include comprehensive and collision coverage. But non-owner coverage is similar to regular car insurance in that you have to get it for a full policy term, so not just for a weekend.
4. Permissive use driver
Permissive use just means that when you borrow someone else’s car (with their permission), their policy extends to cover you. For example, if you regularly borrow your mother’s car to run errands on the weekend, you’ll be covered by her insurance under permissive use.
You would not need to purchase any type of temporary car insurance as a permissive driver because you would be covered under the owner’s car insurance policy, but you could buy a non-owner policy if you wanted additional liability coverage.
When would you need temporary auto insurance?
Temporary car insurance isn’t enough for someone who owns a vehicle, but there are some situations where drivers may benefit from having temporary insurance coverage, like:
You're renting or borrowing a car for a short time.
You'll have intermittent access to a friend or family member’s car while staying with them.
You are only going to be driving for a brief period because you’re from another country or a place where you have access to high quality public transit.
You put your car in storage for part of the year.
You are planning to sell your car soon.
In all of these situations, your best bet is to work with an insurance expert to find a policy that meets your specific needs, since insurance companies don’t actually sell temporary or weekend-only policies.