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What Drivers Need to Know About Non-Owner Car Insurance

Oct. 10, 2017
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Don’t own a car? You still might need your own auto insurance coverage.

Non-owner car insurance is a special policy designed for people who don’t have a car. It provides liability coverage when you rent or borrow someone’s vehicle. Liability insurance pays if you cause injuries to others or property damage in a car accident.

When to get non-owner car insurance

Consider non-owner car insurance if you:

  • Were convicted of a DUI or other serious violation: Your state might require you to file an SR-22 form — known as FR-44 in some states — to get your driver’s license reinstated. These forms prove that you have car insurance. A non-owner car insurance policy suffices if you don’t own a car.
  • Rent cars frequently: Non-owner insurance can serve as rental car insurance and might be cheaper than paying for liability coverage at the rental counter. Remember that liability insurance pays if you cause property damage or injure others in a car accident. Non-owner insurance generally doesn’t cover damage to the car you’re driving. Check whether you have insurance for damage to the rental through a credit card or buy the collision-damage waiver from the rental car company.
  • Use a car-sharing service such as Zipcar: A non-owner policy supplements the liability coverage the car-sharing service provides. It’s helpful in case an accident victim sues you.
  • Borrow other people’s cars: If there’s an accident, the car owner’s insurance normally pays out. But if the costs exceed the owner’s liability limits, you could be on the hook for the remainder. Non-owner car insurance would supplement the owner’s coverage.
  • Want to maintain continuous auto insurance coverage: This can help save money on car insurance later. Going without coverage — even when between cars — can make you look risky in the eyes of insurers, which can lead to higher rates when you buy a vehicle.

Non-owner car insurance isn’t the right choice if you live with people — say your parents — and drive their cars. Instead, you should be listed as a driver on their policies because you have regular access to their vehicles.

How to buy non-owner car insurance

Many of the largest insurers offer the non-owner coverage for personal vehicles, at least in some states, but Allstate and Progressive do not. Generally, price quotes aren’t available online.

Which companies offer non-owner car insurance?
Insurers that offer the non-owner car coverage may not sell it in every state.

*USAA sells insurance only to active military members, veterans and their families.
Acceptance Insurance
American Family
Dairyland Insurance
Direct Auto Insurance
Liberty Mutual
State Farm

What non-owner car insurance covers

In addition to liability insurance, a non-owner policy can include medical coverage for yourself and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, in some states, depending on the insurer. Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance covers medical bills if you’re injured in an accident caused by a driver without any or enough liability insurance.

Non-owner insurance generally doesn’t include collision or comprehensive insurance. In a standard auto policy, that coverage pays for repairs or replacement of the vehicle you own.

Cost of a non-owner policy

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.

The price depends on your age, driving record and how often you plan to drive.

» MORE: Minimum car insurance requirements by state