Non-owner car insurance is special car insurance for drivers who don’t have their own vehicle.
You may need non-owner insurance if you have to file an SR-22 after a DUI and you don’t own a car.
Non-owner insurance may also be a good idea if you regularly borrow someone else's car or use rental or car-sharing services.
Most insurance companies offer non-owner coverage for less than a standard car insurance policy, but you usually can’t get quotes online.
What does non-owner insurance cover?
Non-owner car insurance is a special policy for people who drive but don’t own a vehicle, and it usually only covers the damage you’re responsible for in an accident.
Unlike a regular policy, non-owners insurance only includes basic, required coverage. There’s no physical damage coverage (comprehensive and collision coverage) because there’s no vehicle to worry about — that’s one of the reasons non-owner car insurance can be so cheap.
Non-owner auto insurance can include:
Like regular car insurance, your policy limits for each coverage show you the max amount 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.
What doesn’t non-owner car insurance cover?
Non-owner car insurance is different from a regular policy because it doesn’t cover anything related to the car itself, since there’s no vehicle to protect. That means non-owner car insurance won’t cover:
Damage to the car you’re driving: You can’t add comprehensive or collision coverage to a non-owners policy because you don’t own a vehicle to protect.
Roadside emergencies: Roadside assistance, which covers things like jump starts or tire changes, usually isn’t an option with non-owner car insurance.
An interrupted trip: Non-owners insurance doesn’t cover a hotel stay, food, and roadside assistance if you’re stranded on a road trip.
Transportation after an accident: You won’t get money for a rental car, taxi, or other transportation from non-owners insurance.
How does non-owner car insurance work?
Non-owner car insurance works like a normal policy. The difference is that if you borrow or rent a car and have an accident, your non-owners insurance would only kick in if the costs from the accident go past the car’s existing coverage.
So let’s say you crash into another driver’s car while driving your friend’s sedan. The accident was your fault and that you caused $40,000 worth of damage to the other cars. Your friend has car insurance, but their policy only covers up to $25,000 in property damage.
In this situation, you’d be on the hook for the remaining $15,000 yourself. But since you’ve got a non-owners policy with up to $50,000 in property damage liability coverage, your policy will cover the remaining costs.
Cost of the accident
What your friend's insurance covers
What non-owner insurance would cover
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Who needs non-owner car insurance?
You usually don’t need insurance if you don’t own a car. Since most cars you borrow or rent will already be insured, you could rely on that coverage and not get non-owner insurance — but for some people, a non-owner policy is a good idea.
You might need a non-owner car insurance if:
You need SR-22 insurance
It’s possible for your license to be suspended even if you don’t own a car. If this happens, you’ll have to get non-owner SR-22 insurance to reinstate it. States may require you to get SR-22 insurance after a violation like a DUI, it’s basically just car insurance with an attached form that proves to the state that you have insurance.
Once you have non-owner SR-22 insurance, you’ll have to keep it on your record for at least three years (though it might be longer depending on where you live). During this time, your insurance rates will be higher than average, but lower than the cost of SR-22 insurance for people who actually own cars.
You borrow another person’s car a lot
You should consider non-owners insurance if you regularly borrow other people’s cars. Even though you’d be covered by their insurance, your friend or relative’s policy may have lower limits for when other people are driving.
They may also just have liability limits in general that wouldn’t fully cover the damage you cause in an accident.
In either of these situations, non-owners insurance would step in to cover the cost of any crash that exceeded the car’s limits. Without it, you would be stuck paying out of pocket for any injuries or property damage not covered by your friend’s policy.
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 rental should come with its own insurance, but it might not be enough to cover you after an accident. And while rental car companies usually offer extra insurance, it often comes at a steep price.
But with a non-owners insurance policy, you can add more protection to the basic coverage that comes with a rental vehicle, usually for less than it would cost if you added it through the rental car company.
Remember that non-owners insurance doesn't cover damage to your rental vehicle. You would have to pair your non-owners car insurance with a collision or loss damage waiver from the rental car company or coverage through your credit card to avoid being on the hook for a totaled or stolen rental.
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, even if they rent or drive other people’s cars. If you have a license but not a car, you don’t need non-owner insurance if:
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 also be on their policy (car insurance companies usually require every licensed driver in a household to be listed on a policy).
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.
You occasionally rent cars or use car-sharing services
You don’t need non-owners insurance if you only rent cars or use car-sharing apps from time to time or 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 of non-owner insurance, consider getting extra liability insurance from the rental car company or coverage through a secondary insurance carrier that specializes in covering rental cars if you want more than the built-in rental coverage while you drive.
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.
This doesn’t mean you can never drive again. 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 regular car insurance, you won’t be able to get non-owner insurance by getting quotes online. Instead, you’ll have to:
Call an insurance company or a broker: Even companies that have lots of convenient online tools will want to get more details from you before you can get non-owner insurance.
Provide basic information: You will have to give a few personal details before you can get non-owner car insurance, like your name and address, contact information, and driver’s license number.
Let insurers know if you need an SR-22: Drivers who need non-owner SR-22 insurance need to tell carriers while shopping for coverage, since not every company will cover you if you have a high-risk driving record.
Compare rates from different companies: It’s easy to find the best rates when you compare quotes before buying. Although non-owners insurance is cheaper than regular auto insurance, you still don’t want to pay more than you have to for coverage.
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-owner insurance to people who they already cover, while others only offer non-owner policies 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):
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How much does non-owner car insurance cost?
Non-owner car insurance is cheaper than the average cost of a full-coverage policy, since it doesn’t include any of the types of car insurance that cover the car itself.
Drivers who don’t own their vehicles also get behind the wheel less often, which reduces the chance of an accident and lowers the cost of non-owners insurance.
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.
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Frequently asked questions
Can you get car insurance without a car?
Yes, non-owners insurance is a way for you to get insurance without a car of your own. You can use non-owners insurance to bolster the coverage for a rental car or a friend’s car that you borrow.
If you own a car do you need insurance?
Yes, if you own a car you have to get car insurance to drive in every state except for New Hampshire and Virginia (where residents can pay $500 to stay uninsured). You need at least as much car insurance as is required in your state, but most drivers need more than that to be fully protected.
Who has to be insured on a car insurance policy?
Everyone who lives in the same household and regularly drives the vehicle should be included on a car insurance policy. If a driver lives in the same household as the car's owner and primary driver, they typically must be named on the policy, or risk not being eligible for coverage.