Non-owner car insurance is a liability policy for those who drive but don't own a car. Whether you rent or borrow a car often, or need to file for an SR-22 without a vehicle, a non-owner policy is a relatively inexpensive option to purchase auto insurance liability coverage. Non-owner auto insurance rates are often 5% to 15% cheaper than those for a standard policy. However, non-owner insurance isn’t the right choice for many people, including those who cohabit with a car owner or would otherwise be required to be listed on a car’s primary policy.
What is Non-Owner Car Insurance?
Non-owner insurance, also called non-drivers insurance, provides liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage when you are driving a vehicle you do not personally own. So, should you be in an accident with another driver and found to be at-fault, your non-owners insurance policy would shield you from lawsuits, just as a normal liability policy would.
Aside from liability coverage, which pays for injuries and property damage to the other party if you’re in an accident, a non-owner auto insurance policy can also include:
- Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection Coverage
- Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Liability Insurance
- Rental Car Liability Coverage
Since there’s no specific vehicle assigned to a non-owner auto insurance policy, it won’t include comprehensive or collision coverage. Therefore, it won’t cover damage to the car you’re driving, medical bills or other costs from injuries you sustain if you’re in a collision.
How Does Non-Owners Auto Insurance Work?
Non-owner car insurance is purchased on a per-person basis, so only you will be covered by a policy, not your spouse or anyone else.
Typically, non-owner policies have no deductible, meaning you don’t have to pay any money yourself before coverage kicks in. This is because non-owner insurance is generally secondary coverage, utilized only if the car owner’s primary coverage isn’t sufficient to cover all damages.
For example, let’s say you got into an accident while driving your friend’s car, and your friend’s insurance had a $25,000 limit for property damage liability. If you had caused $40,000 of damage, you would be responsible for the excess $15,000 in damages. This amount would be covered by your non-owners policy, but only if it included at least $40,000 of property damage liability coverage. Unless your non-owners liability limits are greater than those of the person whose car you’re driving, your non-owners insurance won’t come into play.
How to Get a Cheap Non-Owner Policy
To get a quote for non-owner insurance, you'll need to pick up the phone. Though most major auto insurance companies offer non-owner policies, none offer non-owner insurance quotes online. Even Geico, renowned for the ease of its online process, requires you to call an agent to get a quote.
Best companies for non-owner car insurance
To purchase coverage, you'll need to provide some basic personal information, along with your driver’s license number and a method of payment, like a credit card.
Your best car insurance company for non-owner auto insurance depends on your driving history and personal information, as these factors will determine your premium. In addition, some insurers do not provide non-owner insurance in certain states.
To ensure you pay the cheapest rate, call multiple insurers and get free car insurance quotes before you make a purchase. If you also need an SR-22 or FR-44, ask if the company can file this form for you.
Once you’ve purchased a non-driver insurance policy, your insurer will usually email you an ID card and mail you a physical card as proof of coverage.
Compare non-owner car insurance quotes
Do You Need Non-Owner Auto Insurance?
You’re not legally required to have auto insurance if you don’t own a car. But there are several reasons why you might choose non-owners car insurance:
- You regularly rent cars
- You regularly borrow other people’s cars
- You sold your car or won’t drive it for an extended period of time, such as while deployed overseas
- You need an SR-22 or FR-44 because of a DUI or serious traffic infraction
You Regularly Rent Cars
If you rent vehicles often, a non-owner policy could easily be cheaper in the long run than repeatedly buying rental car insurance. Insurance from the rental company usually costs at least $20 a day, so if you're renting a car for, say, 50 or more days a year, it will likely add up to more than the annual cost of a non-owner auto insurance policy. Just make sure to:
- Confirm with the insurer that the non-owner policy will provide liability coverage when you’re driving a rental car.
- Check if damage to a rental car would be covered by your credit card’s rental car insurance. If not, you may want to purchase a collision-damage waiver from the rental company.
Rental car insurance from a credit card actually won't cover you should someone sue you for damages. This free card perk only covers damage to the rental car. Combining your credit card rental insurance with the liability portion of a non-owners policy would actually provide you with the most comprehensive coverage, outside of carrying a policy for a vehicle you own, since the insurance on your car also affords some coverage for a rental car.
You Regularly Borrow Cars From Others
If you find yourself borrowing cars frequently from friends or other people, non-drivers insurance may also be a good choice. It ensures a certain level of coverage every time you drive, so you don’t have to worry whether the car owner’s insurance policy will cover you or if its liability limits will be too low.
Just note that if the car you borrow belongs to someone you live with, or if you borrow the same car consistently, you probably need to be added to the car owner’s insurance policy for primary coverage. Otherwise, even if you have a non-owner policy in place, the company that issued it may not cover you at all in the event of an accident.
You Sold Your Car or Won’t Drive for an Extended Period of Time
Nearly every insurer raises rates for drivers that have had a "lapse in coverage," meaning policyholders with no auto insurance for a period of time following a period of having insurance. Even if you never operated a vehicle during your time without insurance, you will be considered a higher risk, and will not qualify for the best rates.
Since non-owner auto insurance is less expensive than traditional coverage, it can be a good idea to stay covered with a non-owner policy, especially if you expect that you’ll need insurance later on. This is particularly true if you have an expensive vehicle. Also, if you are in the military and being deployed overseas, a non-owner policy may be your cheapest option, even though some companies like USAA and Geico offer discounts for periods in which you leave the country. If that is your situation, compare quotes across the different insurers to be sure.
Non-Owner SR-22 Insurance
If you’ve received a DUI or committed a serious traffic violation, you may need SR-22 or FR-44 insurance to get your license reinstated. Depending on the SR-22 requirements, you may also need higher limits and have to maintain this coverage for a period of two to five years to maintain your license.
Since you can’t file an SR-22 yourself, and it needs to be done by your insurer, a non-owner SR-22 policy can come in handy, particularly if you don’t have a car. The company from which you purchase the non-owners policy can file the SR-22 on your behalf and get you on your way to a license reinstatement.
A key benefit of using non-owners insurance for an SR-22 is that it’s less expensive. You’ll still likely face higher rates than others, due to whatever reason the SR-22 was required, but premiums won’t be as steep as they might have been with a traditional auto insurance policy.
Keep in mind that not every insurance company, especially smaller ones, will sponsor an SR-22 or FR-44. If yours doesn’t, you can get a non-owner policy through another company and have them file the SR-22 on your behalf.
Who Shouldn't Get a Non-Owner Policy?
You should not get a non-owner auto insurance policy if:
- You own a car
- You borrow the car of someone you live with
- You rarely borrow someone’s car
- You use a company car, but only for business
You Own a Car or Live With Someone Whose Car Your Borrow
If you own a car, you do not need non-owner car insurance, since your liability coverage will generally cover you if you borrow or rent another person’s vehicle. This isn’t always the case, though, so it’s wise to confirm your policy’s details with your insurer (you’ll typically enjoy at least some level of coverage). If you want additional liability protection, an umbrella policy is a better solution.
On the other hand, if you don’t own a car, but do sometimes borrow the car of a parent, spouse or other person you live with, you should get your name added to their auto insurance policy. Even if you use the car only occasionally, their insurer should be made aware that you live together, and may require you to be named as a driver. Failing to do this may result in the insurer not covering certain, or any, costs should an incident occur.
You Rarely Borrow Someone’s Car
You don't technically need non-owner insurance if you're driving someone else's car with their permission. If you get into an accident with that car, the owner’s insurance will typically be considered the primary coverage and cover the damages associated with the accident. Just keep in mind that:
- If a claim is made, your friend’s rates may rise, even though you were the driver at fault.
- If the damages exceed the limits of the owner’s insurance policy, any excess costs will be your responsibility.
- Not every insurer provides coverage when someone other than the owner is driving the car. Make sure to check you are covered before you take the wheel.
You Drive a Company Car
If you drive a company car—that is, the car you drive regularly is owned by your employer—the situation can be a little complicated. Typically, when the car is being driven for business purposes at the request of your employer, the company, or its insurance, will cover you in any accidents. However, if you use a company car for personal activities on a consistent basis, you’ll likely be liable for any damage that occurs during personal use, and should consider getting non-owners insurance.
How Much Does Non-Owner Car Insurance Cost?
It’s hard to compare quotes for a non-owner policy, as compared with a traditional auto insurance policy, since you have to call up each insurer individually to comparison shop. Overall, rates for a non-owner policy are 5% to 15% less expensive than for a standard policy with similar coverage. However, the savings can be significantly larger when comparing a non-owner policy to a policy with full coverage, or if you were to insure an expensive car.
The cost of a non-owners insurance policy can vary depending upon:
- Your coverage limits
- Your driving history
- Where you live
- How often you expect to drive
If you are getting a non-owner policy for an SR-22, remember that any DUIs or incidents on your record will still negatively affect your rates, even with a non-owner policy. Your premiums with a non-owner policy will likely be greater than what you paid before the incident associated with the SR-22, but less expensive than if you still had a car, along with your flawed driving record.
Frequently asked questions
Can you get car insurance without a car?
Yes, if you want to get a car insurance policy but do not own your own car, you can purchase a non-owner auto insurance policy.
What is non-owner car insurance?
A non-owner policy covers you for basic liability on your own policy instead of someone else's. Rental car insurance can be expensive, and if you borrow a friend's car and get in an accident, you'd risk raising their insurance rates.
Who should get non-owner car insurance?
There are several different situations in which you might want to get non-owner insurance. One of the most common is if you don't own a car but often rent or drive cars that don't belong to you and want to ensure you're protected. Another is if you need a non-owner SR-22 because of a DUI or another serious driving infraction.
Is non-owner car insurance expensive?
Non-owner car insurance is somewhat cheaper than regular car insurance. It may cost between 5% and 15% less than an equivalent policy connected to a car.
Where can I get nonowner car insurance?
Major insurers including State Farm, Geico, Progressive and The General offer nonowner insurance. While most major auto insurance companies offer non-owner auto insurance, you must call the insurer directly to get a quote.