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No Car, But Still Drive? Get Non-Owner Car Insurance

What is non-owner car insurance? Where do you buy it? How much does it cost? Here are answers to those and other questions.

driver with non-owner car insurance

Non-owner car insurance provides liability coverage to drivers who don't own vehicles.

Why would someone who doesn’t own a vehicle want or need liability auto insurance? Because they borrow or rent cars frequently, or because they regularly use car-sharing services like Car2go and Zipcar.

Two other groups of people who can benefit from non-owner car insurance: those who don’t have a car but need liability coverage to get or keep a driver’s license, and those who need to file SR-22 or FR-44 forms and want to reinstate their license.

Keep reading to learn more about non-owner car insurance, including:

What is non-owner car insurance?

Non-owner car insurance is a lot like the liability coverage that's tied to a standard auto insurance policy. It protects drivers who cause accidents that injure people or damage cars or property.

Imagine you’re driving a vehicle you don't own and you cause an accident. If you have non-owner car insurance, it can help pay for injuries to other people and damages to their vehicles or property.

However, that’s all it will help pay for because it only covers liability. It won't pay for your injuries or damage to the car you're driving.

What does non-owner car insurance cover?

Non-owner car insurance covers only the person who buys it. You can't add other drivers to a non-owner policy like you can with most auto insurance policies.

Here are a few more examples of what non-owner car insurance covers and doesn’t cover:

  • Non-owner car insurance usually provides only bodily injury and property damage liability coverage. 
  • Some non-owner car insurance policies also provide medical payment and uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage for an added cost.
  • Non-owner car insurance policies don’t provide collision, comprehensive, rental reimbursement, towing and labor or custom parts and equipment coverage.

How does non-owner car insurance work?

The main thing you need to know about how non-owner car insurance works is that it’s secondary coverage. It pays for damages above and beyond what a vehicle’s primary insurance covers.

So, it doesn’t pay out until the coverage limits of a vehicle's primary insurance — the owner's policy — are reached. And even then, it only covers damage done to other cars you hit or people you injure.

Something else that’s important to know about how non-owner car insurance policies work is they typically don’t carry a deductible.

Where to buy non-owner car insurance

Many companies that sell other kinds of car insurance also sell non-owner car insurance. Here are some examples of companies that offer non-owner car insurance:

  • Acceptance
  • Dairyland
  • Direct
  • GEICO
  • Nationwide
  • Progressive

Don’t worry if your preferred insurance company, like State Farm or USAA, isn’t on this list. You may be able to get rental car coverage from them instead, or even minimum liability coverage. Both options provide coverage that’s similar to what non-owner car insurance offers.

How much does non-owner car insurance cost?

Non-owner car insurance typically costs $200 to $300 a year, or about the same as auto liability coverage.

What you pay for a non-owner policy may be higher or lower than this range. That’s because the cost of this kind of coverage depends on several factors, including:

  • Where you buy it.
  • How much coverage you want.
  • How often you plan on driving a car.
  • Your driving history.

To find your best price for non-owner car insurance, shop around and compare quotes from several companies.

Who should get non-owner car insurance?

You might benefit from non-owner car insurance if you often borrow or rent cars, use car-sharing services or fit into any of these other categories:

You rent cars frequently

Think about getting a non-owner car insurance policy if you rent vehicles regularly. Non-owner car insurance provides more extensive coverage than the policies rental car companies typically provide. Plus, if you rent cars often, a non-owner car insurance policy will likely be cheaper than always opting for the rental company's liability protection.

You often borrow cars

Consider buying non-owner car insurance if you borrow vehicles with any frequency. The person who owns the vehicle you’re borrowing may have insurance on it, but it can be easy to go over the owner’s liability limits of that coverage if you cause an accident.

You rent a car to drive for Uber or Lyft

People who use daily rentals like HyreCar to drive for a rideshare company should get non-owner coverage, too. A non-owner car insurance policy can fill insurance gaps and protect finances. Most rideshare insurance policies only cover certain parts of your trip, leaving you liable for accident damages.

You use car-sharing services

A non-owner car insurance policy can protect your assets should you cause an accident while using services like Car2go or Zipcar. Though most car-sharing companies offer some liability protection to drivers, it's not always enough.

You need an SR-22 or FR-44

If you need to file an FR-44 or SR-22 form with your state because of a DUI or other driving conviction, non-owner coverage could be a cheap way for you to meet your liability insurance requirements.

You want to reinstate a suspended license

Reinstating a suspended driver’s license sometimes requires proof of insurance or financial responsibility. A non-owner policy can help you meet that requirement.

Your insurance is going to lapse

A car insurance lapse may raise your rates by as much as 45%. You could pay various fees and fines as a result, too. To avoid all of that, consider buying non-owner coverage.

You sold your car but haven't replaced it

If you sold your vehicle and haven't bought a new one, non-owner car insurance can prevent a lapse in coverage. Plus, it can cover you when you test drive possible replacements.

Who shouldn’t get non-owner car insurance?

Getting non-owner car insurance may not be the best idea if don’t rent or borrow cars very often, or if you’re planning to borrow a car for a while.

You rarely borrow or rent a vehicle

Rather than buy non-owner car insurance in this situation, consider making use of:

  • The coverage the rental or car-sharing company provides.
  • The vehicle owner’s insurance coverage.
  • The coverage tied to your credit card.

You’re going to borrow a car for an extended period

Non-owner car insurance probably won’t cover you if you borrow a vehicle for an extended period of time.

You live with a parent, friend or roommate and use their car

Non-owner car insurance usually won’t cover you if the vehicle you borrow belongs to someone you live with, like a parent, friend or roommate. The best way to protect yourself in this situation is to have that person add you to their car insurance policy.

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