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Non-owner car insurance is a good option if you don’t own a vehicle but regularly borrow or rent other people’s cars.
Non-owner car insurance can also come in handy if you don’t have a car but need to file an SR-22 form with your state.
If you only borrow or rent a car a handful of times throughout the year, or if you borrow a car from someone you live with, you probably don’t need non-owner car insurance.
Not owning a car can be a blessing for your wallet. But while you might not have to worry about car payments or repairs, you may still be on the hook for car insurance if you rent or drive other people’s cars often enough. This is where non-owner car insurance comes in.
However, non-owner car insurance may not be completely necessary in some situations. For example, if you borrow a vehicle from someone in your home, you should be listed on the car owner’s policy. Depending on their insurer and your state, this might be required even if the car belongs to an unrelated roommate, and even if you don’t currently have a valid license.
In this article, we’ll explore:
What does non-owner car insurance cover?
Non-owner car insurance provides liability coverage for people who don’t have their own vehicle but occasionally drive someone else’s. Liability car insurance pays for injuries or property damage you cause others in a car accident. However, it doesn’t cover damage to the car you’ve borrowed or rented, or pay for any of your own injuries if you cause a crash.
A non-owner car insurance policy typically includes only the minimum required coverage in your state, though you can often select higher limits. Aside from liability coverage, a non-owner policy may include:
Non-owner insurance doesn’t include collision or comprehensive insurance. In a standard auto policy, that coverage pays for repairs or replacement of the vehicle you own. A non-owner policy also doesn’t extend coverage to anyone else living with you, like most standard policies do.
There’s typically no deductible on non-owner auto insurance.
Who needs non-owner car insurance?
Those who don’t have their own vehicle might want a non-owner insurance policy in the following situations.
You might need non-owner car insurance if you…
Borrow other people’s cars.
Rent cars frequently.
Use a car-sharing service.
Drive a company vehicle for both work and personal use.
Need to show proof of insurance.
Want to maintain coverage to avoid a gap in insurance.
You often borrow other people’s cars
The car owner’s insurance normally pays out for an accident. But if costs exceed their liability limits, you’d be on the hook for the remainder.
Say you’re at fault for an accident while driving a friend’s car, and the other driver needs $35,000 worth of medical care. If the friend who loaned you their car has only $25,000 of bodily injury liability coverage on the vehicle, you’d be responsible for the remaining $10,000. Your non-owner policy could cover that expense.
You rent cars frequently
Non-owner insurance might cost less than a rental companies’ liability coverage if you rent often enough. It can also offer peace of mind if you’re worried about getting in a rental car accident (after all, you're driving an unfamiliar car in an unfamiliar area). It typically won’t cover damage to the rental, but you may be able to get that coverage through a credit card or buy the collision-damage waiver from the rental car company.
» MORE: Rental car insurance explained
You frequently use a car-sharing service
Car-sharing services such as Zipcar and Turo offer some coverage for drivers, but it’s often just enough to meet your state’s minimum requirements. If you cause a bad wreck, costs could easily exceed the minimum limits, and you’d be responsible for them. A non-owner policy can supplement this coverage.
You drive a company car
If the company you work for loans you a car, you should be covered under its auto policy whenever you use it for work. But what if you need to pop into the grocery store in between jobs or pick up the kids after work? Unless your company’s auto policy includes coverage for personal use, you likely need non-owner car insurance to be covered for injuries and damage to property you might cause behind the wheel.
You need an SR-22 or FR-44 form
Your state may require these forms to reinstate your driver’s license after a serious conviction like a DUI. Insurers file them on your behalf to prove that you have at least the minimum amount of insurance coverage mandated by your state.
You want to maintain continuous coverage
Going without auto insurance — even in between cars — makes you look risky in the eyes of insurers, leading to higher rates next time you shop for insurance. For this reason, it may end up being cheaper to buy non-owner insurance than to skip coverage if you’re without a car for a short period of time.
Who shouldn’t buy non-owner car insurance
A non-owner insurance policy isn’t your best bet in these scenarios.
You typically borrow a car from someone in your household
If the vehicle you drive belongs to someone you live with, you should generally be listed as a covered driver on their car insurance policy and may not need non-owner insurance. That’s because, depending on where you live and which company insures the vehicle, coverage might be denied if every driving-age member of the household isn’t listed on the policy.
You regularly borrow the same car from someone you don’t live with
Car insurers also require customers to include anyone who regularly drives their vehicle on their policy, regardless if they live together or not. For example, if you frequently borrow your neighbor’s car or you’re a nanny who drives your client’s car to run errands, you’re likely already covered under their policy. To be safe, it’s best to check with the car owner.
You drive rarely or not at all
If the extent of your driving is renting a car once a year or occasionally borrowing a friend’s car, non-owner car insurance might not be worth the expense. It may be cheaper to simply buy insurance at the rental counter or rely on your friend’s insurance policy to cover you if the worst happens.
That said, it’s worth double-checking that you’re covered before getting behind the wheel. If your friend gives you permission to drive their vehicle and you get into an accident, not all insurance companies will cover the damage.
Where to buy non-owner car insurance
To get a quote, you’ll typically need to call an insurance company or agent. Insurers don’t typically provide non-owner car insurance quotes online.
We’ve verified that the following list of major car insurance companies offer non-owner car insurance (or named non-owner insurance, as some refer to it), but they don’t all offer information online. The best way to get a policy is to find an agent or call the company directly. You also may be able to find non-owner car insurance by calling smaller, local insurance companies near you.
How much is non-owner car insurance?
Typically, a non-owner car insurance policy costs less than what you would pay for the same level of liability coverage for a car you own. However, if you need the insurer to file an SR-22 or FR-44 form, costs will likely be high for any policy until you don’t need it anymore.
The price depends on your age, driving record and how often you plan to drive, in addition to other variables. Learn more about factors that affect car insurance rates.