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Even if you don’t have your own car, you may still spend plenty of time in one if you borrow a car from friends or family. In this situation, it’s important to make sure you’re protected in case a car accident or other damage occurs.

The good news is you can get coverage for yourself by purchasing non-owner car insurance — a car insurance policy that specifically protects people who don’t own cars.

Here’s what you need to know about non-owner car insurance:

What is non-owner car insurance?

Non-owner car insurance is exactly what it sounds like. It’s car insurance for people who don’t own cars. If you find yourself driving someone else’s car regularly, using a car-sharing service, or renting a car, getting non-owner car insurance may be a good idea.

At a minimum, non-owner car insurance is liability insurance for property damage and bodily injury you may cause while driving. This means that if you’re out driving and injure someone or damage their vehicle, you have insurance to help cover the amount you’re responsible for.

In addition to basic liability, you may also have other coverages in your non-owner policy depending on your state. These include uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, medical payments, and personal injury protection. Non-owner insurance policies are generally cheaper than owner policies, which have higher rates. But keep in mind that the more coverage you have, the more you’ll pay in policy premiums.

Good to know: Non-owner car insurance is a form of secondary insurance coverage. This means that your non-owner policy coverage and limits will only come into play after the owner’s car insurance policy has paid out for a claim.

Can I get car insurance without a car?

Yes, you can get car insurance without a car. If you don’t have a car, non-owner insurance is the specific type of policy you’ll likely want. If you’re driving a friend or family’s car and want to make sure you’re financially protected from liability if you’re in an accident, it’s wise to have it.

Instead of a full non-owner car insurance policy, you could get temporary car insurance until you have a car, or even a policy if you don’t have a driver’s license yet, like if you’re a teen driving a relative’s car with your learner’s permit.

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What does non-owner car insurance cover?

Non-owner car insurance includes the following coverages:

  • Liability coverage for property damage: Property damage liability coverage is included in most non-owner car insurance and covers the cost of repairs for damage you cause to another vehicle or property, like a mailbox.
  • Liability coverage for bodily injury: Bodily injury liability coverage is also typically included in most non-owner car insurance and helps pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and potentially even legal fees if you injure someone in a car accident.
  • Underinsured and uninsured motorist (depending on where you live): Underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage may be part of a non-owner car insurance policy, depending on your state. This coverage helps if another driver is at fault in an accident and doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have sufficient coverage for the damage they’ve caused.
  • Medical payments (depending on where you live): Medical payments coverage may also be part of your non-owner car insurance policy (depending on your state) and can help pay for your medical expenses, or those of your passengers, regardless of who’s at fault in an accident.
  • Personal injury protection (depending on where you live): Personal injury protection is another type of coverage you might have in your non-owner car insurance policy, depending on your state. It covers your medical payments and may cover lost wages, no matter who’s at fault for an accident.

Non-owner car insurance limits

Standard non-owner car insurance limits usually match whatever the minimum coverage requirement is for your state. This means that you’ll be liable for anything above that limit after an accident.

Some states have extremely low minimum coverage requirements, so the default level coverage limit you’re offered for non-owner car insurance may not be enough. If you’d like a higher limit than the minimum coverage level for your state, you can opt for higher limits with your insurance carrier.

Learn More: Can I Insure a Car That’s Not in My Name?

What does non-owner car insurance exclude?

Non-owner car insurance doesn’t include the following coverages:

  • Collision insurance: Non-owner car insurance doesn’t include collision coverage, which helps pay for damage to the car you’re driving. The person or company that owns the car should have insurance to cover damage to the vehicle itself. This means that if you’re in an accident, the damage to the car you’ve rented or borrowed will be covered by the insurance of whoever owns the car.
  • Comprehensive insurance: Non-owner car insurance also won’t have comprehensive coverage for the car you’re driving because the non-owner insurance is tied to you as the driver, not the vehicle itself. Comprehensive insurance would cover non-collision damage to the car like hail, vandalism, or a tree falling on the vehicle.
  • Medical coverage for you: Unless you specifically add it or it’s required in your state, most non-owner car insurance policies will exclude medical coverage for you when you’re driving the vehicle.

Other coverages to consider

Here are some other coverages you can take advantage of:

  • Credit cards with rental insurance: If you have a premium credit card, it may come with premium rental car coverage. Some credit cards include coverage for damage to or theft of your rental car, as well as medical expenses. It’s important to note that this doesn’t include liability coverage — you’d need a non-owner policy for that. Check with your card’s issuer for details. If you rent cars frequently, this extra coverage and its other perks may be a good idea.
  • Rental car insurance: In addition to any coverage you get through a credit card, the company you rent a car from is legally required to offer you the state-mandated minimum liability coverage. The rental company may also offer you other coverage options, like roadside assistance, collision coverage, medical bills for you and your passengers, and personal effects coverage. If you only rent cars occasionally, this can be a good choice. But if you rent cars frequently, your own non-owner policy will likely give you a lower rate than ponying up for insurance every time you rent a car.
  • Temporary coverage: Temporary car insurance coverage can be very difficult to get. Your best bet is to contact your previous insurance carrier (if you have one) and see if they have any way for you to extend your previous coverage. If you can’t, then a non-owner policy may be your only option to get car insurance for a short period of time.
  • Additional driver coverage: If you borrow the same person’s car regularly, then you may be able to save money by being added as an additional driver on their policy. This will increase their existing car insurance premium, so you may want to offer to pay the difference. Doing this may give you better coverage for a lower price than you can get on your own. Many insurance carriers offer multi-car, multi-driver, or multi-policy discounts that you simply can’t access with a non-owner policy by yourself.

How much is non-owner car insurance?

The average yearly premium for non-owner car insurance is $474, according to Freeway Insurance. But the amount you pay for non-owner car insurance will depend on where you live, your driving history, and any upgrades you make to the policy, including increased coverage limits and additional coverages like medical payments or uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage.

You can easily compare quotes from dozens of insurers with Credible to make sure you’re getting the lowest rate possible.

Do I need non-owner car insurance?

If you frequently drive friends’ or family members’ cars, rent cars, or use car-sharing services, you should strongly consider a non-owner car insurance policy to protect yourself in the event of an accident.

If you only ever drive a specific family member’s or friend’s car, then getting added onto their insurance policy as an additional driver may be cheaper and give you better coverage than a non-owner car insurance policy.


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Disclaimer: All insurance-related services are offered through Young Alfred.

About the author
Rae Hartley Beck
Rae Hartley Beck

Rae Hartley Beck is a Credible authority on personal finance. Her work has been featured in Bankrate, MoneyWise, and Investopedia.

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