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Non-owner car insurance

A non-owner car insurance policy allows people who don’t own a vehicle to get basic insurance coverage.

Andrew Hurst

By

Andrew Hurst

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

Updated|8 min read

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Non-owner car insurance is a policy specifically for people who don’t own their own cars. It usually only includes liability coverage and any other forms of insurance that your state requires.

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Not everyone needs non-owners insurance, but you might need a non-owners policy if you frequently borrow or rent cars, or if you just want to maintain your coverage. You can also get non-owners car insurance if you don’t have your own car but you need an SR-22.

Key takeaways

  • Non-owner car insurance provides basic coverage to drivers who don't own a vehicle, but drive often.

  • If you don’t own a car but you have to file an SR-22 because of a DUI or another kind of violation, you may need non-owner car insurance.

  • You also may want to consider getting non-owner insurance if you frequently borrow someone else's car or use rental or car-sharing services.

  • Most insurance companies offer non-owner coverage for cheaper than a standard car insurance policy, but you can’t get quotes online.

What is non-owners car insurance?

Non-owner car insurance is a way for drivers to have car insurance without owning a car. A non-owners policy still includes all of the required amounts of insurance coverage and usually costs less than a standard insurance policy.

Unlike car insurance for drivers who have their own vehicle, non-owners insurance never includes comprehensive or collision coverage. Ordinarily, this type of car insurance covers damage to your car. But it’s not a part of a non-owners insurance policy because you don’t own a vehicle to protect.

How does non-owner car insurance work?

Non-owner car insurance basically works just like the policy that someone who owns their own car would have. If you’re responsible for a car accident, your non-owners insurance would cover the other driver’s injuries and damaged property (and your medical expenses if you have personal injury protection) up to your policy’s limits. 

Non-owners car insurance is often just liability coverage, but it can include a few types of car insurance coverage depending on where you live, like:

  • Bodily injury and property damage liability coverage (BIPDL) : Covers another driver’s injuries and vehicle repairs after an accident you cause.

  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM): Covers the cost of damage to your own car if you’re hit by someone without (or without enough) insurance.

  • Personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments coverage (MedPay): Covers your injuries, medical bills, doctor’s visits, and funeral expenses after an accident, regardless of fault.

Like insurance for car owners, your policy’s limits represent the maximum amount that your insurance will pay out after an accident. You can tell how much non-owners coverage you have by checking the limits on your declarations page.

Non-owner car insurance in action

Non-owners insurance usually serves as what’s called secondary insurance. This means that if you borrow a friend’s car and have an accident, their policy would be the primary insurance, and your non-owners insurance would only kick in if the costs from the accident exceed your friend’s policy.

Let’s say you crash into another driver’s car while driving your friend’s sedan, causing a pileup that leads to $40,000 worth of damage to the other cars. Your friend’s insurance policy only covers up to $25,000 in damage, which means you’d be on the hook for the remaining $15,000 yourself.

Fortunately, you’ve got a non-owners policy with up to $50,000 in property damage liability coverage, so your policy will cover the remaining costs. If you didn’t have non-owners insurance in this situation, you’d be paying out of pocket.

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Who needs non-owner car insurance?

Non-owner car insurance it may be a good idea for drivers who:

  • Need an SR-22

  • Borrow other people’s cars a lot

  • Often use rental or car-sharing services

  • Don’t plan on owning a car for a while (but will again)

1. You need an SR-22 form

An SR-22 form is a way of proving to your state that you have car insurance, and it’s usually required after a DUI or another serious violation.

Drivers who don’t own a car but have to get SR-22 insurance can buy non-owners insurance to prove to their state that they’re covered. 

If you’re required to have car insurance in order to reinstate a suspended license, getting non-owners auto insurance with an SR-22 is one of the cheapest ways to do it.

2. You borrow another person’s car a lot

You should get non-owners insurance if you use someone else’s car regularly, especially if they have low amounts of liability coverage, or if you’re specifically excluded from coverage on their policy.

Car insurance generally follows the car, not the driver, so if you frequently borrow your friend’s car you’ll be covered by their insurance if you get into an accident. 

But their policy may have special limits for when other people are driving, or they may have low amounts of liability coverage that don’t fully cover the damage you cause in an accident.

Your non-owners insurance would step in to cover the cost of any crash that exceeded the car’s limits. Otherwise, you would be stuck paying out of pocket for any injuries or property damage that cost more than what your friend’s policy covered.

3. You often rent cars or use car-sharing services

Non-owner car insurance can also provide extra protection if you regularly use rental cars or car-sharing services (like Zipcar or Turo). Any car you rent should come with enough insurance to legally drive, but that amount might not be enough to cover you after an accident.

Normally rental car companies offer extra insurance, but it often comes at a steep price. But with a non-owners insurance policy, you can add more protection to the basic policies that come with a rented vehicle, usually for less than it would cost to add through the rental car company. 

While non-owner insurance is a great way to upgrade insurance coverage for a rental car, it still might not be enough. Non-owner car insurance doesn't cover damage to your rental vehicle because it doesn’t come with comprehensive or collision coverage.

Instead, you would have to pair your non-owners car insurance with a collision or loss damage waiver from the rental car company to avoid being on the hook for a totaled or stolen rental. Some credit cards also provide this coverage for free.

4. You don’t plan on owning a car for a while

If you don’t own your own car right now but plan to own one later, getting non-owners insurance can help you avoid paying more for insurance in the long run.

When a driver who was previously insured goes without coverage (for even a short period), it’s called a lapse in coverage. Drivers who have insurance lapses on their records will see higher insurance rates in the future.

Since you don’t need a car to get non-owners insurance, you can get a policy when you’re in between cars for a while. When you’re ready to buy a car again, you can set your coverage back to normal.

Who doesn’t need non-owner car insurance?

Not everyone needs to get non-owner insurance. If you have a license but not a car, you don’t need non-owner insurance if:

1. You only borrow cars that belong to people in your household

You don’t need to get non-owners car insurance if you only borrow cars from people in your household, since you should already be listed on their policy. Most car insurance companies require that every licensed driver in a home be listed on car insurance policies.

This also means that if you’re a parent of a newly licensed driver, your teen doesn’t need to get their own non-owners insurance policy to drive your car. Just be sure to list them as a permitted driver on your existing policy once they get their license.

2. You rarely use rentals or car-sharing services

You don’t need non-owners insurance if you rent cars or use car-sharing apps from time to time for short periods. You can still get non-owners insurance if you want, but the cost is probably greater than it’s worth for only a few rentals per year.

Instead, consider getting extra liability insurance from the rental car company or a secondary insurance carrier that specializes in covering rental cars if you want more than the built-in rental coverage while you drive.

3. You don’t plan to own a vehicle

Non-owners insurance isn’t necessary if you no longer own a vehicle and don’t plan to again. Unlike drivers who get rid of their cars temporarily, you won’t have to worry about a lapse in coverage if you never plan to own another car.

As long as you have a valid license, you would still be able to rent vehicles, use car-sharing services, and borrow other people’s cars from time to time without having to get your own non-owners policy.

How to get non-owner insurance

Unlike car insurance for a vehicle owner, you won’t be able to get non-owner car insurance by getting quotes online. Instead, you’ll have to contact an insurance company or a broker over the phone to get covered.

You will have to provide some basic information before you can get non-owner car insurance, like your name and address, contact information, and your driver’s license number.

If you don’t already have car insurance, it’s a good idea to compare rates from more than one company before you purchase a non-owners policy. Although non-owners insurance is cheaper than regular auto insurance, you still don’t want to pay more than you have to for coverage.

Drivers who need non-owners insurance to get their suspended license reinstated need to tell their insurance company before they purchase coverage. You will also have to pay the filing fee for an SR-22 or FR-44 form.

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Best companies for non-owner car insurance

You can’t get non-owner car insurance from every company that sells regular policies. Some companies (like Progressive) only offer non-owners insurance to people who they already cover, while others only offer coverage for non-owners in certain states.

That said, you can get non-owner car insurance from many of the top companies for most drivers, including GEICO, our best pick for most people. The following companies offer non-owners insurance (or named non-owner insurance):

Company

Policygenius rating

Claims phone number

GEICO

4.6 /5 ★

800-207-7847

Travelers

4.3 /5 ★

800-252-4633

American Family

4.2 /5 ★

800-692-6326

Farm Bureau

4.2 /5 ★

866-399-3237

Progressive

4.1 /5 ★

888-671-4405

Allstate

4.0 /5 ★

800-669-2214

USAA

4.0 /5 ★

800-531-8722

Farmers Insurance

3.9 /5 ★

800-435-7764

Erie

3.9 /5 ★

800-458-0811

State Farm

3.8 /5 ★

800-732-5246

Nationwide

3.8 /5 ★

800-421-3535

Companies sorted by Policygenius rating.

How much is non-owner car insurance?

Non-owner car insurance costs less than the average full-coverage policy from the same company. That’s because non-owner insurance has lower limits than a standard policy (and doesn’t have the protection of full coverage).

Drivers who don’t own their vehicles also get behind the wheel less often, which reduces the chance of an accident.

Like with any type of car insurance, the cost of non-owner car insurance depends on your coverage limits and driving history. For example, your rates will be more expensive if you’re considered a high-risk driver or if you have to get non-owner insurance with an SR-22.

Frequently asked questions

If you own a car do you need insurance?

Yes, car owners have to get insurance to drive in every state except for New Hampshire and Virginia (where residents can pay $500 to stay uninsured). Even drivers who own a car that they don’t drive should still get insurance to guard against damage that can happen while the vehicle is in storage.

Who has to be insured on a car insurance policy?

Everyone who regularly drives a vehicle should be included on a vehicle's insurance policy. If a driver lives in the same house as the car's owner and primary driver, they typically must be named on the policy, or risk not being eligible for coverage.

Can someone who doesn’t own a car insure it?

You can’t get car insurance for a vehicle that you don’t own. But if you’re listed on that car’s policy as an insured driver, then you’re still covered if you drive it. You can also get non-owners insurance if you regularly drive another vehicle that you don’t own.

Author

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

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Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

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