If you drive a car that you don’t own, you may be wondering whether you need insurance to operate the vehicle. Learning about non-owner car insurance can help you make the right coverage choice for your driving situation. Keep reading to find out more about this insurance type:
What Is Non-Owner Car Insurance?
Non-owner car insurance plans cover drivers who regularly operate vehicles that don’t belong to them or their employer, like rental cars or vehicles from a car-sharing service. These plans provide coverage in case of a collision or other incident. While these plans typically cost less than insurance on a car you own, applying for non-owner car insurance can be more complicated than other plans.
What Does Non-Owner Car Insurance Include?
While insurance companies may offer different coverage levels, most non-owner car insurance plans focus on liability coverage. Liability coverage is a component of almost all automobile insurance plans. By paying a set amount of money every month, you’re protected from lawsuits and other claims after an accident if you cause bodily harm to the other driver or damage their property.
Full coverage insurance plans, which are appropriate for car owners, also feature collision coverage, which can help a car owner repair or replace their vehicle after an accident. Since a non-owner doesn’t have a car to replace or repair, their insurance doesn’t cover those costs. That’s one reason that non-owner car insurance tends to be less expensive than other options.
When Do I Need Non-Owner Car Insurance?
If you drive a car belonging to your spouse or another family member, they can usually add you to their policy as an additional driver at a low cost. Non-owner car insurance is appropriate when you don’t have access to a car at home, but you often drive cars belonging to a third party and you can’t be added to their insurance policy. Here are some situations where you might choose a non-owner car insurance policy:
Reinstating Your License
In most states, you can lose your license for a certain amount of time after committing a serious driving infraction, like a DUI. After your penalty time ends, you can reapply for your driver’s license by filing an SR-22 form, which requires proof of insurance. If you don’t currently own a car but want to get your license reinstated, you can apply for non-owner car insurance to meet the requirements of the SR-22 form. Drivers who use non-owner car insurance might use a special type of SR-22 called an operator’s certificate or non-owner SR-22.
Driving a Company Car
While companies are required to have insurance coverage for fleet cars and other business vehicles, these policies may only have minimal liability coverage or only apply during work hours. If you frequently drive a company vehicle, especially across state lines, check your company’s insurance policy to find out what coverage it offers in case of a collision while you’re behind the wheel. If the coverage is minimal or only applies during business hours, you might get non-owner car insurance to offer more protection.
Using a Car-Sharing Service
Car-sharing services, like Zipcar and Turo, allow members to use vehicles at a low cost and can be a budget-friendly alternative to owning a car. These companies typically provide the minimum required insurance on their cars, which varies by state. This means that the driver might still be liable for some damages if they’re found at fault in a collision or other traffic incident. If you use a car-sharing service often, you can get non-owner insurance to supplement the insurance provided by the company, which can keep you safe from unexpected costs.
Using Rental Cars Frequently
When you rent a car, you can add additional coverage to your rental to keep you safe from lawsuits and other claims. If you only rent a car a few times a year, then you might just get rental insurance each time, since it’s usually quicker to add the coverage to your existing rental agreement. However, if you’re a frequent car renter, then getting non-owner car insurance might be cheaper in the long run, since you’ll be using the same policy every time.
Maintaining Continuous Coverage
If you spend several months or years without a car but plan to purchase another one, you might get non-owner car insurance to ensure that you’re continuously covered by your insurance provider. Letting your insurance lapse, even if you don’t own a car, can make your rates higher when you eventually insure a new vehicle. Since non-owner car insurance is usually cheaper than most other coverage types, it might make financial sense for you to stay with your current insurance provider and switch your coverage type when you buy a new vehicle.
How Much Does Non-Owner Car Insurance Cost?
According to MarketWatch, the average cost of a non-owner car insurance policy is between $200 and $600 a year. Non-owner car insurance tends to be much cheaper than other types of coverage because drivers who don’t own a vehicle usually drive less, which means they’re less likely to be involved in accidents. Your non-owner car insurance policy costs might depend on a variety of factors, including:
- State liability requirements
- Your age
- Your driving history, including any tickets or license suspensions
- Your credit score
- The type of coverage you choose
What Companies Offer Non-Owner Car Insurance?
Many large insurance companies offer non-owner car insurance, but each company has its own requirements for its policies. While you can apply for non-owner car insurance on some companies’ websites, others will only provide quotes over the phone. Here are some top companies for non-owner car insurance:
- Direct Auto Insurance
- State Farm
To find the best non-owner car insurance option for your driving needs, consider calling a few insurance companies to get quotes. Then you can compare rates and features. That way, you can choose the plan that provides the right amount of coverage at a cost that fits your budget.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.