You’re not alone if you are without a driver’s license and need car insurance. There are many instances in which someone owns or regularly uses a car and doesn’t have a license. But since auto insurance primarily bases the price of your policy on the information obtained from your license, it can be confusing how this might work and how much you can expect to pay if you don’t have one. Luckily, we have the answers. Keep reading for ways to find affordable insurance without a driver’s license.
Can You Get Car Insurance Without a License?
In general, if you have a permit, suspended license, or a foreign or international driver’s license, it is still possible to get car insurance in the U.S. You can get coverage even if someone else drives you, or if you have a valuable car you just want to insure against theft or other damage.
Here are some common scenarios where you may not have a license but need car insurance.
You Have a Permit
Perhaps you are in the process of getting your driver’s license, but you haven’t met all the requirements yet. To obtain your license, you often need to pass a road test, which requires the usage of a car. And most states have mandatory insurance requirements. This puts you in a tricky scenario as you need insurance on your vehicle to get your driver’s license, but you need your driver’s license to get insurance.
Fortunately, you have a couple of options:
1. Have a relative help you out – Some companies allow relatives who live in the same home to insure their cars on the same policy. Depending on your age and whether you still live with your parents, you may be able to add your vehicle to their car insurance. This is the easiest and often most economical option, especially if you’re under 18. Not only do you benefit from multi-car discounts and any other discounts already on the policy, but it’s also a simple change rather than a whole new application process.
2. Find an insurance company that will let you get coverage with a permit – Another option for those who may not be able to get help from a relative would be to research which companies allow drivers with permits to purchase their own policies. Not all insurance companies are comfortable with taking on the risk of insuring an inexperienced driver, and the ones that do will charge much higher rates. While there are some ways you can save money on car insurance, you can expect to pay more overall, at least until you gain more driving experience.
Here is a list of some companies that will allow permitted drivers to purchase their own policies:
- Liberty Mutual
- State Farm
Your License is Suspended
You may think you don’t need to continue your car insurance when you have a suspended license. But to get your license reinstated, most states will require you to provide proof of insurance. So if your suspension happens after you have already purchased insurance, you’ll want to keep your policy active, if possible. This will make it easier for you when you wish to reinstate your driver’s license. Be sure to inform your insurer that your license is suspended, especially if you need an SR-22 so they can provide the required documentation to the state.
But what if you don’t currently have insurance or if your existing carrier cancels you for the suspension? In these cases, you will have to search for a company that is willing to insure you with a suspended license. There are a few standard companies that will insure drivers with suspended licenses such as State Farm, Travelers, and Geico. Some others may allow you to purchase a policy on the condition that your license will become active within a certain period, such as 30 days, as long as you have a restricted license. Either way, you will pay more for car insurance than you would with an active license. Your price may be even higher, depending on the reason for the suspension, such as a DUI or reckless driving charge. But the best way to determine who has the best price for you is to shop around for car insurance and get a few quotes.
The best companies to reach out to regarding insuring suspended licenses are as follows:
- State Farm
You Have a Foreign or International Driver’s License
It can be difficult to find car insurance if you have immigrated to the United States and more than likely, do not have a valid U.S driver’s license yet. Insurance companies determine your likelihood to file claims by reviewing your prior driving history through motor vehicle reports. They can’t do this with a driver’s license outside of the United States. There’s also the possibility that you will not be familiar with the rules of the road, which means that you’re more likely to get into an accident.
As such, companies often decline to offer insurance to those without U.S licenses. However, some will insure you with an international or a foreign license if you provide a translated copy of your driving record from your country of origin. There are some online services that can help with the translation such as Universal Translation Services or Rush Translate. Drivers in either of these scenarios will be rated similarly to inexperienced operators and can expect to pay around the same amount.
The following companies allow drivers with foreign or international licenses:
- The General
You Don’t Drive
This scenario can occur if you have surrendered your license due to a disability or illness or if you just never had one in the first place. You may own a car to allow a caretaker to take you back and forth to appointments or for your children to use. Most states don’t require you to have an active license to register a car, but they will almost always require proof of insurance. In these cases, there are a couple of things you can do.
1. Transfer ownership of the vehicle – The simplest option would be for you to transfer ownership of the car to the person who routinely drives it, and they can insure it on their own policy. This is usually a relatively straightforward process if you own the car outright. But if you took out a loan or lease your vehicle, this may not be an option.
Insurance companies will often require that the car’s legal owner be the primary policyholder. This is because only the owner has an insurable interest, meaning they would suffer a financial loss if something happened to the car.
2. Get yourself excluded as a driver – Most insurance companies will handle this by listing you as the policy owner but excluding you as a driver. This means you aren’t covered for driving the car, but the claims check will be in your name if there is an accident. Any individuals who regularly use your car should then be listed on the policy as rated drivers to ensure there is coverage for accidents. Not all states or insurance companies allow driver exclusions, so it’s best to check with your specific carrier. How much you will pay for your insurance will depend on the carrier and the driving history of the drivers listed. For this reason, it’s imperative only to let safe drivers use your car.
You Have a Classic/Antique Car
Suppose you own a classic or antique car that is in storage. You will still want to insure the classic car, whether driving it or not. Even cars not being driven are subject to insurable losses, like fire, theft, vandalism, or weather damage. An option in these scenarios is to talk to your insurance company about insuring the car for comprehensive only. This will ensure that your car is covered for the perils that could potentially occur, and you’re not paying for the other coverages that aren’t needed. Just be sure to inform your insurer once the car is out of storage so you can add the proper coverage that is required for driving. Antique car insurance can be more expensive than a standard policy because it’s insuring the car for its agreed value, but you can save money with the limited comprehensive coverage while it’s in storage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to insure my car while my license is suspended?
If your car remains registered, most states will require you to carry insurance, whether you are driving or not. You may also be required to show proof of insurance to reinstate your driver’s license, so it’s a good idea to keep it active.
Will my insurance be more expensive without a driver’s license?
It depends on why you don’t have a license. If you are an inexperienced driver with a permit or your license is suspended, you can expect your insurance to be more expensive. If you are the owner of a car you don’t drive, the price of your policy shouldn’t cost you any more than it would otherwise.
What if I can’t find an insurance company to insure me?
Finding car insurance without having a license might be hard, but it’s not impossible. Most states have non standard auto insurance for drivers who can’t find insurance in the standard market. If you’re having trouble, contact a local independent agent who can help you apply for this coverage.
Can I Insure a Car I don’t Own?
To insure a car, you must have insurable interest. This means that you would suffer financially if there were an accident or loss. You don’t have an insurable interest if you don’t legally own the car, so insurance companies will require the owner to be the one to insure it.
Can Insurance Companies Decline to Insure Me?
Every insurance company has a certain set of guidelines they use to determine acceptability. These guidelines are filed and approved by the state to ensure they are not unfairly discriminatory. If you do not meet the insurance company’s acceptability criteria, they can refuse to insure you.
Do All Insurance Companies Ask for Drivers Licenses?
In general, all insurance companies will ask for your drivers license if you are listed as a driver on a policy. This is because they base your price on your driving experience and history. The only time they may not is if you are strictly the owner of a car and not the driver.
Can I Buy a Car With a Suspended License?
Yes, you can buy a car with a suspended license. However, in order to register the car, you will need to show proof of insurance, unless insurance is not mandatory in your state (like New Hampshire.) Be sure to purchase insurance through a company that insures drivers with suspended licenses.
Can I Get a License Plate Without a License?
You may be able to get a license plate without having a driver’s license as long as you can provide proof of insurance if it’s required by your state. To obtain insurance without a license, you must add the driver who regularly uses your car onto the policy.
Cara Carlone has been in the Insurance Industry for over 15 years with experience in both personal and commercial lines. She has an Underwriting background and holds her CPCU, API and AINS designations from The Institutes. She lives in Rhode Island with her husband and 3 daughters.