What Is Non-Owner Car Insurance?
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Non-owner car insurance is a specialized policy designed for people who don't own a car but occasionally drive. Unlike standard auto insurance, which offers a range of coverage options, non-owner insurance is limited to liability coverage based on state minimums.
This type of policy is unique because, unlike standard auto insurance, it follows the driver, not the car, providing financial protection for those driving vehicles they don't own. It's ideal for those who frequently rent or borrow cars, use car-sharing services or need proof of insurance to reinstate their license.
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Non-owner car insurance is a specialized form of liability coverage designed for people who don't own a car but still drive occasionally. It's ideal for those who rent or borrow cars, use car-sharing services or need SR-22 or FR-44 insurance.
Non-owner insurance doesn't cover frequent use of the same vehicle, cars owned by household members or business use. It also acts as secondary coverage, supplementing the car owner's insurance.
On average, a non-owner car insurance policy costs $414 per year. It can increase by 39% if you have an accident on your record but remains over $200 cheaper than a standard liability-only policy.
What Is Non-Owner Car Insurance?
Non-owner car insurance is a specialized type of auto insurance designed for people who don't own a vehicle but still find themselves behind the wheel sometimes.
Unlike standard auto insurance, which can offer a range of coverage options, including collision insurance and comprehensive insurance, non-owner car insurance is more limited. It typically only provides basic car insurance coverage according to your state's minimum car insurance requirements.
Non-Owner vs. Standard Auto Insurance
Non-Owner Car Insurance
Standard Car Insurance
Primarily offers liability-only car insurance and may include optional uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage or medical payments, but doesn't offer collision or comprehensive insurance because there's no specific car to insure.
Offers a comprehensive range of coverage options, including liability, collision and comprehensive insurance, and is designed to cover both the driver and the vehicle.
Follows the driver, not the car, and will cover the insured driver in whatever vehicle they drive, offering a layer of financial protection beyond the car owner's insurance.
This policy is tied to a specific vehicle and covers the car for various types of damage as well as provides liability coverage for the driver.
Provides the flexibility to drive different vehicles without needing to update your insurance policy each time, as long as you're not the owner of the car and don't use it frequently.
Generally, you need to update your policy if you change vehicles or if another driver will be using your car regularly.
What Non-Owner Car Insurance Covers
Like standard liability insurance, non-owner car insurance covers bodily injury and property damage liability. However, because there's no designated car to insure, it doesn't offer collision or comprehensive coverage.
Depending on your state and insurance provider, you may also get additional coverages like uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, personal injury protection and medical payments coverage.
What It Covers
Bodily Injury Liability
Covers the medical expenses of the other party if you're at fault in an accident.
Property Damage Liability
Pays for damage to another person's property, such as their car or fence, when you're at fault.
Provides financial protection if you're in an accident with a driver who lacks sufficient insurance or has none at all.
Offers limited coverage for your own medical expenses after an accident.
Covers a broader range of your own medical expenses and related costs, regardless of fault.
When Non-Owner Car Insurance Doesn’t Apply
Here are some situations where non-owner car insurance should not be used or doesn't apply:
You frequently borrow the same relative or housemate’s car
This type of insurance is not intended for frequent use of the same vehicle, especially one owned by a household member. If you regularly drive the same car, you may need to be listed on that car's insurance policy.
You drive the car for business use
Non-owner policies generally don't cover use of vehicles for business purposes.
You drive in another country
Coverage may not extend to driving outside the country.
Car owner's insurance provides adequate coverage
Non-owner car insurance acts as secondary coverage, meaning it only kicks in after the car owner's insurance has been exhausted. If the car owner's insurance covers all damages, the non-owner policy won't apply.
Permissive use is a provision in many standard auto insurance policies that extends coverage to occasional drivers not listed on the policy. If you don't own a car and only borrow someone else's vehicle occasionally — say, around once a month — you might not need to invest in non-owner car insurance.
However, confirm this with the car owner and their insurance provider to ensure you're adequately covered.
How Non-Owner Car Insurance Works
Non-owner car insurance is designed to provide liability coverage when you're driving a car you don't own. And if you’re driving an insured car, it acts as secondary coverage.
Driving a Rental Car
When you're driving a rental car, non-owner car insurance serves as your primary liability coverage. It covers bodily injury and property damage that you may cause to others in an accident and can be a cost-effective alternative to purchasing the rental company's insurance if you frequently rent cars.
Driving an Insured Car
If you're driving a car that's already insured by its owner, your non-owner car insurance acts as secondary coverage. If you're at fault in an accident, the car owner's insurance will be used first to cover the damages. Once those policy limits are reached, your non-owner insurance kicks in to cover any remaining costs.
Who Should Get Non-Owner Car Insurance
Non-owner car insurance is ideal for people who frequently rent or borrow cars, use car-sharing services or are between vehicles and want to avoid a lapse in coverage. It's also a good fit for those who occasionally drive cars outside their household or need to fulfill SR-22 insurance requirements without owning a car.
You rent or borrow cars regularly
If you often find yourself renting cars or borrowing vehicles from friends and family who don't live with you, non-owner car insurance can provide the liability coverage you need.
You use car-sharing services
Frequent users of car-sharing services like Zipcar can benefit from the supplementary coverage provided by non-owner insurance.
You're between cars and want to maintain coverage
If you're without a car but still want a low-cost way to stay insured, a non-owner car insurance policy can bridge the gap until you're ready for standard car insurance. Avoiding a lapse in your insurance history is crucial, as a lapse can raise your premiums by $167 to $277 a year on average.
You're required to get SR-22 insurance but have no car
If you're mandated to carry SR-22 insurance but don't own a vehicle, non-owner insurance can get you the required coverage.
Who Shouldn’t Get Non-Owner Car Insurance
Non-owner car insurance isn't suitable for people who own a car, frequently drive the same borrowed vehicle or often use a household member's car; in these cases, a standard policy or being added to the owner's policy is more appropriate.
You have a car
If you own your car, get a standard car insurance policy instead. Non-owner auto insurance won’t give you added protection for your car.
You frequently drive the same borrowed car
Non-owner insurance isn't designed for those who regularly drive the same borrowed vehicle. In such cases, it's better to be added to the car owner's policy.
You drive a household member's car often
If you frequently drive cars owned by people in your household, you should be added to their existing policy. Car insurance companies usually require all household members to be added to the policy. Ask the owner if you’ve been listed as a driver.
You don’t drive a lot
If you rarely operate a car or have no plans to drive, non-owner car insurance may be unnecessary. In the rare occasion you do borrow a car, the permissive use clause of the owner’s policy may cover you.
You use the car for business purposes
Non-owner car insurance generally doesn't cover you if you're driving for business.
You're looking for comprehensive or collision coverage
Non-owner insurance doesn't offer comprehensive or collision coverage. If you need robust coverage, borrow a car insured with full coverage car insurance instead.
How Much Non-Owner Car Insurance Costs
A non-owner car insurance policy costs, on average, $414 per year, which is around 15% less than the average cost of $488 for a standard liability-only policy. However, if you have an accident on your record, the cost of a non-owner policy jumps to $576 per year. That's a 39% increase, but it's still over $200 cheaper than a standard liability-only car insurance policy.
Like standard policies, how much you pay for non-owner car insurance will depend on your usual factors, like your age and driving history.
How to Get Non-Owner Car Insurance
Getting a non-owner car insurance policy is similar to the process of securing a standard auto insurance policy but with a few nuances. If you're legally required to file an SR-22 form, your chosen company will need to take care of it for you, adding an extra step to the process. Additionally, finding a provider that offers non-owner policies may require more effort, as not all companies provide this specialized coverage.
Start by contacting insurance agents or making phone calls, as online quotes for non-owner policies are often unavailable. Check both major and local providers to see if they offer what you need, including specialized coverages like SR-22 or FR-44. If you require SR-22 insurance, note that you can't file an SR-22 form yourself — your chosen insurance company will need to handle it for you.
Provide Necessary Documents
To proceed, you'll need to submit personal information and your insurance history, much like you would for a standard auto insurance policy.
Select Coverage Limits
Tailor your policy to your needs by choosing your coverage limits. For added financial protection, you might consider opting for limits higher than the state minimums.
Review and Finalize
Before committing, carefully read through all the policy details. Make sure you understand all the terms and conditions, and don't hesitate to ask questions if anything is unclear.
Purchase and Confirm
Once you're satisfied, complete the purchase. You'll typically receive a confirmation along with your policy documents, which you should keep for your records.
No, you can't insure someone else's car with non-owner insurance. If you borrow a friend's car, their standard insurance is the primary coverage. If you're at fault in an accident, your non-owner policy acts as secondary coverage, kicking in only if the owner's limits are reached.
If you frequently drive the same car or a car owned by someone in your household, ask to be added to that person's existing policy instead of buying non-owner insurance.
Where to Buy Non-Owner Car Insurance
Car insurance companies don't heavily advertise non-owner policies, making them a bit of a hidden gem in the insurance world.
To find the best cheap non-owner car insurance, start with the companies below:
- GEICO: $463 per year, $39 per month
- Travelers: $511 per year, $43 per month
Your best options can vary by state, so shop around and consult multiple providers for the most competitive rates and coverage that suits your needs. Always consult your insurance provider for personalized guidance.
Non-Owner Car Insurance FAQ
We've compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help clarify what specialized non-owner coverage entails.
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