Buying auto insurance when you don’t own a car might not seem like the most straightforward thing to do, but choosing to forgo insurance can pose serious risks both on the road and when you want to get coverage later. This is when non-owner car insurance comes into play.
Non-owner car insurance is one way to make sure you’re meeting your state’s requirements for insurance, and it usually costs less than the coverage you’d purchase while owning a vehicle. In this article, we’ll discuss when you need a non-owner policy, the amount of liability protection it offers, and the best car insurance companies that provide non-owner coverage.
If you want to find the cheapest non-owner car insurance, you’ll need to compare rates from multiple companies. You can enter your zip code below to get free quotes from top insurers in your area.
In this article:
- What Is Non-Owner Car Insurance?
- What Does A Non-Owner Car Insurance Policy Cover?
- Non-Owner Car Insurance Cost
- When Do You Need Non-Owner Car Insurance?
- Our Recommendations For Car Insurance
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Non-Owner Car Insurance?
Non-owner car insurance is a policy that provides liability coverage for drivers who need car insurance but don’t own a car. The people who benefit from this type of insurance include drivers that regularly rent cars, borrow vehicles, or have major vehicle infractions on their driving record. Usually, the only requirements to purchase this type of insurance are having a valid driver’s license and being unable to regularly access a vehicle.
Non-owner car insurance typically kicks in as secondary coverage when the car owner’s auto insurance doesn’t cover the full cost of medical bills or property repairs after an accident. Here’s an example scenario: Say you’re driving your friend’s car and cause an accident that results in $50,000 in property damage. If your friend has a $30,000 property damage liability limit, you’ll be on the hook for the remaining $20,000. However, if you have a $25,000 non-owner car insurance policy, your insurer will cover the rest of the damages.
Keep in mind that damage to your friend’s car wouldn’t be covered by a non-owner policy. If your friend has collision coverage, it may cover their repairs. If not, you’ll have to work it out between the two of you.
If you’re looking for non-owner car insurance, the typical baseline requirements are that you have a valid driver’s license and don’t have regular access to a vehicle. An insurance agency may also ask you to prove that you don’t live with anyone who owns a car. This type of coverage isn’t intended for people that could be listed on another person’s auto insurance policy.
What Does A Non-Owner Car Insurance Policy Cover?
Non-owner car insurance is meant to meet your state-mandated liability auto insurance requirements. It provides coverage for bodily injuries and property damage for other parties involved in an accident you cause. This could mean medical bills or damages to other vehicles, fences, buildings, or other property. As mentioned, it does not cover damages to the car you’re driving, and it also does not cover your own medical expenses.
Some states have insurance requirements beyond liability coverage, such as personal injury protection (PIP) or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). These may be included in your non-owner car insurance policy depending on where you live.
Unfortunately, you can’t purchase full coverage car insurance on a vehicle that you do not own, so there's no way to get comprehensive or collision insurance for a car you're borrowing or renting. However, if the owner of the vehicle has this type of coverage, it will cover damages no matter who is driving the car at the time of an accident.
Non-Owner Car Insurance Cost
Rates for non-owner car insurance are usually lower than typical insurance premiums, as the coverage is so bare-bones. However, there is no standard cost for this type of auto insurance. As with any standard policy, insurers will base the cost of non-owner car insurance on a number of personalized factors, including your driving record, credit score, location, age, and more.
One reason some people get non-owner car insurance is that they require an SR-22. If you are in this situation, you will pay significantly more for your coverage, as insurers will see you as a high-risk driver. You can start getting free quotes for non-owner car insurance by entering your zip code below.
When Do You Need Non-Owner Car Insurance?
While you don’t need auto insurance if you don’t own or regularly use a car, there are several scenarios in which it might be worth getting non-owner car insurance coverage. These include:
You Frequently Rent Cars
Buying non-owner car insurance can be helpful if you frequently rent cars, as it can prevent you from having to constantly purchase rental car insurance. Rental car insurance is usually charged by the day and may be especially expensive, so being able to skip that part of the transaction can help you save money in the long run.
You Frequently Borrow Cars
If you’re repeatedly finding yourself behind the wheel of a family member or friend's car, a non-owner policy might be worth the investment. The car owner’s insurance generally covers an accident, but secondary coverage is good to have if the damages are more than the primary policy limits.
It’s State Mandated
Some states require insurance to get or renew a driver’s license under what are commonly called “proof of financial responsibility” laws. Check your state DMV’s requirements for what it takes to get a license.
You’re Between Vehicles
Non-owner coverage can be good if you’re without a car but are planning on buying one soon. This prevents a lapse in coverage and can help you secure better rates in the future. If you get a new car, you’ll want to notify your insurer and change to an appropriate auto policy for the vehicle.
You Require An SR-22/FR-44 Form
If you’ve had your license suspended due to a DUI conviction or a major traffic offense, your state will need an SR-22 form, or FR-44 form for Virginia and Florida. These aren’t insurance policies but function as proof of insurance and have to be filed by an insurance agent.
Our Recommendations For Car Insurance
When it comes to buying car insurance, we recommend taking the time to compare quotes from several companies to find the best coverage for your budget. You can use the tool below to get free quotes from top providers in your area or read on to learn more about two of our highest-rated insurers.
Progressive: Best For High-Risk Drivers
Progressive offers non-owner auto insurance in addition to regular liability and full coverage options. We recognize the company as having the best high-risk car insurance, so it could be great if you’re dealing with a lapse in coverage or have a major traffic violation on your driving record. Read more in our complete Progressive auto insurance review.
Geico: Best Overall
With discounts that reward customers for things like bundling multiple policies, taking safe driver courses, and practicing good driving, Geico is a standout option for non-owner car insurance. The company boasts an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and offers accident forgiveness, but doesn’t have disappearing deductible options like some other providers. Learn more about the company’s coverage options in our Geico auto insurance review.
In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of auto insurance providers to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.
- Industry Standing: Insurers with strong financial ratings and customer-first business practices receive the highest scores in this category.
- Availability: We consider availability by state as well as exclusions for specific groups of drivers.
- Coverage: This rating is based on types of insurance available, maximum coverage limits, and add-on policies.
- Cost and Discounts: Our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of drivers in every state. Companies with lower prices and many car insurance discount opportunities receive the best scores.
- Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and consumer feedback studies from experts like J.D. Power.
- Technology: Auto insurers with mobile apps, advanced online services and telematics are more likely to meet consumer needs.