Non-owner car insurance provides liability coverage to drivers who have a license but don't own a vehicle. If you borrow or rent cars frequently, use car-sharing services like Zipcar or need to file an SR-22 or FR-44 without a car, non-owner auto insurance might be right for you.
Here's what we'll breakdown:
What is non-owner car insurance?
Non-owner auto insurance is an insurance policy for people without a car. It provides liability coverage similar to a standard auto insurance policy. In the scenario that you injure other people or damage cars or property in an accident, a non-owner policy can protect you from owing thousands of dollars out of pocket.
Be aware, however, that non-owner car insurance does not reimburse you for damages to your borrowed or rented vehicle, nor any injuries you sustain in an at-fault accident.
What does non-owner car insurance cover?
Non-owner car insurance liability coverage covers injury to others and property damage. You also have the option to include add-on coverage such as:
Because non-owner car insurance policies do not cover a specific vehicle, they do not provide collision, comprehensive, rental reimbursement, towing and labor, or custom parts and equipment coverage. They typically comply with the state-minimum coverage, but we recommend purchasing higher coverage limits.
Unlike traditional car insurance, non-owner policies only cover the person who buys it. You can't add other drivers to the policy.
How does non-owner car insurance work?
Non-owner auto insurance works as a secondary insurance policy. It pays for damages above and beyond what a vehicle’s primary insurance covers.
Non-owner car insurance policies only cover damage if the primary policy’s coverage limit is less than the secondary coverage. Non-owner policies only apply if the primary policy’s coverage limit has already been met.
You borrow a friend’s car and cause $60,000 of property damage in an accident. Your friend only has $25,000 of property damage coverage, meaning you are responsible for the remaining $35,000. Your non-owner policy applies, but only if you have at least $25,000 of property damage coverage on it.
You borrow a friend’s car and cause $60,000 of property damage in an accident. If your friend has $60,000 of property damage coverage or more, your non-owner policy does not apply.
Non-owner car insurance usually doesn’t carry a deductible, meaning you won’t pay anything out of pocket after an accident.
Where to buy non-owner car insurance
Many companies that sell traditional car insurance also sell non-owner car insurance, but just don't advertise it online. Some insurers, like Progressive, only sell non-owner car insurance to you if you are already an existing customer. And some only offer it in certain states.
If you're interested in receiving a quote for non-owner car insurance, the best course of action would be to directly call an agent. The following companies are just a few that offer non-owner auto insurance policies:
- American Family
- Liberty Mutual
- State Farm
Because a non-owner policy is not written for a particular vehicle, the type of car you borrow isn’t factored into your rate. However, information like your age, gender, driving history and location still matters. To find your cheapest auto insurance company, we recommend comparing quotes from a handful of companies.
Connect with an agent today to get a non-owners policy
After signing up for a policy, you should receive either physical or electronic proof of coverage.
How much does non-owner car insurance cost?
Non-owner car insurance typically costs $400 to 600 a year, or about the same as auto liability coverage. On the other hand, when you compare it with the rates of a full-coverage plan, a non-owner liability policy is significantly cheaper.
However, rates can be higher or lower depending on your unique profile. Rates may depend on:
- Where you buy it
- How much coverage you want
- How often you plan on driving a car
- Your driving history
For instance, drivers purchasing non-owner car insurance after being required to file for an SR-22 or FR-44 will likely see higher rates than their non-filing counterparts. This is because drivers who are required to file for an SR-22 or FR-44 have typically committed a serious traffic violation.
Who should get non-owner car insurance?
Non-owner auto insurance policies are a good option if you:
- Borrow or rent cars frequently
- Regularly use car-sharing services like Car2go and Zipcar
- Don’t have a car but need insurance to get or keep your driver’s license
- Have to file an SR-22 or FR-44
You rent or borrow cars often
Think about getting a non-owner car insurance policy if you rent or borrow vehicles regularly.
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. Rental companies usually charge a few tens of dollars each day for insurance. If you're renting a car for several days out of the year, it can add up.
If you borrow a car from a family member or friend, the vehicle should have its own primary insurance. But it can be easy to go over the owner’s liability limits of coverage if you cause an accident, so having additional coverage is a good idea.
You use car-sharing services
A non-owner car insurance policy can protect your assets should you cause an accident while using services like Zipcar. Though most car-sharing companies offer drivers some liability protection, it may not be enough for you.
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. When you speak to an agent, you should mention if you're required to file for an SR-22 or FR-44.
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
Our research shows that car insurance lapses 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.
In the scope of things, it might be cheaper to be continuously covered under non-owner car insurance rather than leaving a gap in your 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 you don’t rent or borrow cars often, or if you plan to borrow a car for a while.
You’re borrowing 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.
Rarely borrow or rent cars
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.
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