Simply put, a non-owner car insurance policy provides liability coverage for drivers who don't own a vehicle. If you rent or borrow a car, or need to file an SR-22 or FR-44, a non-owner policy may be a good option. Most states require you to carry at least a minimum amount of car insurance when driving. A non-owner car insurance policy fulfills this requirement if you drive but don't own a car.
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How does non-owner car insurance work?
Non-owner car insurance provides liability coverage if you drive but don't own a car. Car insurance is usually connected to the car, not the driver. For instance, if you borrow a friend's car and cause an accident, your friend's car insurance would provide coverage for damages and injuries to others involved, up to their policy limits. Once their coverage limits are hit, your non-owner car insurance would pay for the rest, up to your policy limits.
What does non-owner car insurance cover?
Your non-owner insurance covers liability expenses that exceed the car owner's policy limits, and possibly expenses otherwise excluded by their policy. Some insurance companies allow you to add uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, as well as medical payments and personal injury protection.
Non-owner car insurance exclusions
Damage to or theft of the car you're driving isn't covered by non-owner car insurance. The car owner's collision or comprehensive insurance would take care of those scenarios.
Any damages or injuries you or others in the car suffer are typically not covered by a non-owner insurance policy either. Other common exclusions are your personal property and damages or injuries that occur while you're driving for business purposes.
How much does non-owner car insurance cost?
A non-owner car insurance policy tends to cost less than a standard car insurance policy for the same coverage for an owned car. This does not, however, mean that all non-owner policies are cheap.
Car insurance companies weigh risk factors differently when calculating a quote. For example, one company could consider the model of your car to be a greater risk than another provider, and apply a higher rate accordingly. Common factors used to calculate your rate include:
- Your age
- ZIP code
- Car make and model
- Coverage limits
If you are charged with a DUI or another driving offense that requires you to file an SR-22 or FR-44 in order to reinstate your driving privileges, a non-owner car insurance policy will probably have a higher rate. On average, most states only require you to carry an SR-22 or FR-44 (the latter is only needed in Florida and Virginia) for around three years, so the higher rate shouldn't last long.
When you should get non-owner car insurance
A non-owner car insurance policy may be a good idea if you:
- Borrow cars frequently
- Rent cars for non-business use
- Need to fulfill the insurance requirement for an SR-22 or FR-44
- Want to avoid a lapse in coverage if you're between cars
Frequently borrow cars
If you don't own a car but frequently borrow one for personal use, a non-owner car insurance policy may make sense for you.
Most states have minimum requirements for liability insurance that drivers need to carry. These limits may seem like a considerable amount, but most state-mandated liability limits can be easily surpassed if a serious accident results in a long hospital stay or court case. If the car owner's liability coverage limits are exceeded, you may be held responsible for the excess costs over their policy's limits.
Rent vehicles often
A non-owner car insurance policy can help reduce your costs if you rent cars regularly, or if you use car-sharing services a lot.
In many states, rental vehicles come with the state-required liability insurance limits. In some states however, such as California, no liability coverage is offered at the time of rental. A non-owner policy can provide excellent financial protection in such cases. Supplemental liability insurance coverage is often available through rental car companies, but if you rent vehicles frequently, it can actually save you money to invest in a non-owner car insurance policy.
Fulfilling SR-22 or FR-44 requirements
If you have committed a driving offense, such as a DUI, that results in a license suspension, you may have to file an SR-22 or FR-44 form to get your license back. This mandate stands even if you don't own a car and want to reinstate your license. These forms are filed with your state's DMV to show you carry the required minimum auto liability coverage. A non-owner car insurance policy can be a relatively affordable way to maintain coverage if you choose not to own a car during the time the form is in effect.
Avoid a lapse in coverage
A new car insurance policy after a lapse in coverage usually results in higher premiums, even if it's just lapsed for a couple days. If you are selling your old car and won't have a new one right away, non-owner car insurance can keep your coverage status active until you get a new car and a standard auto insurance policy.
How do I get a non-owner car insurance policy?
Many car insurance companies offer non-owner policies, but there may be some differences in the purchase process from a standard policy. Most companies do not offer non-owner car insurance quotes online, and instead require you to call the insurer directly.
There may be other restrictions, too. Some insurance providers only offer non-owner policies in certain states, and others only offer the option to existing policyholders. If you are actively looking for a non-owner car insurance quote, you should call insurers directly to find the best, cheapest option. A few car insurance companies that offer non-owner policies include:
- Allstate: 800-726-6033
- American Family: 800-692-6326
- Bristol West: 888-888-0080
- Dairyland: 888-344-4357
- Farmers: 888-327-6335
- GEICO: 800-207-7847
- Nationwide: 877-669-6877
- Progressive: 888-671-4405
- State Farm: 800-782-8332
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