How do I get car insurance without a car?
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UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020
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- If you want to buy a standard auto insurance policy, you must have a vehicle that you own, lease, or finance to add to your policy
- If you don’t have a financial interest in a vehicle, you’re still eligible to purchase insurance
- If you live in a home with friends or family members who own their own cars, you should be added as a driver to their policies so that claims made while driving these cars are covered
- When a car-free driver wants their own coverage, they are typically eligible to purchase their own liability protection by buying a non-owner’s car insurance policy
- Non-owner’s car insurance is a specialty product offered to drivers who don’t own cars but who frequently drive. Borrowed, loaners, and rented cars are eligible for coverage
When you buy a car, one of the first things that you do is buy auto insurance. If you’ve decided to become a part of the growing car-free population in the United States, your decision doesn’t eliminate the need for insurance. Instead of buying a standard insurance policy, you’ll need to do your research to find the alternative that works best for you.
Anyone who is licensed to drive and has access to vehicles needs the protection that’s afforded by an auto insurance policy; otherwise, you are placing yourself at risk.
Owning a car doesn’t create a risk, operating one does. If you’re not sure how to go about getting financial protection when you’re driving a non-owned car, here’s what you should know before you shop for insurance.
If you’re operating a vehicle without insurance, use our FREE comparison tool by entering your zip code to make you’re protected!
Why can’t you buy a standard policy if you don’t own a car?
You must meet certain requirements to buy auto insurance from a licensed property and casualty insurer. While underwriting requirements vary from company to company, there are universal requirements that all carriers enforce.
If you want to buy a standard personal auto insurance policy, one of these universal requirements is that you must have a private passenger car to insure.
It might sound like a good idea to ask a friend of family member to allow you to cover one of their cars in your name, but this can lead to trouble if you ever need to file a claim. Insurance companies require the named insured on the policy to have an insurable interest in the car.
Insurable interest is a broad term that’s used to describe a financial interest in the property that’s being insured. If you stand to lose money if the property is damaged, you may be eligible to insure it. An insurable interest means that you are the registered owner of the vehicle and legally liable for damages caused while the car is being operated.
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When should a driver consider being added to an existing plan?
If you aren’t the registered owner of the vehicle, it’s going to be tough to find a company that’s willing to write a policy in your name. Another alternative would be to be added as a driver to a family member or friend’s policy. It might raise the cost of the policy, but it will afford you some protection.
One of the advantages of being listed as a rated driver is that you’ll have coverage to drive the covered vehicles on the policy without any worry.
Another advantage is that liability coverage will follow you as a driver if you’re borrowing another vehicle as long as it’s a vehicle that you don’t own or drive regularly. It’s a great way to get peace of mind.
What type of coverage is available under a non-owner’s policy?
If you don’t have a car, and you can’t be added as a driver to a policy, the next alternative is to purchase a policy designed just for drivers who don’t own cars.
Car-free drivers with valid licenses are eligible to purchase specialty non-owner’s car insurance policies. These policies are sold by larger insurers and some that only sell insurance in the sub-standard marketplace.
One of the things that makes non-owner’s insurance a specialty product is the types of coverage options that are available to you.
You can’t purchase the same types of coverage you can when you have standard insurance because you don’t have property to insure.
Here’s what’s available to you:
- Bodily Injury Liability
- Property Damage Liability
- Personal Injury Protection (when required in the state)
- Medical Payments (some companies)
- Uninsured Motorist (some companies)
Non-owners Versus Supplemental Coverage
You don’t always need non-owner’s insurance, but if you frequently drive borrowed or rented cars, it’s best to buy the protection. Make sure that you don’t have regular access to a vehicle in your household or you won’t be covered. The policy is only designed to cover you while you drive cars that you have access to for short periods of time.
If you’re still not sure if you need non-owner’s insurance, you should review your supplemental coverage options. When you rent a car, one of the first things the rental agency asks is if you want insurance. You’re not legally obligated to purchase the coverage since you don’t own the car, but declining it can be dangerous and risky.
Buying the rental car coverage through the agency is smart when you rarely rent. By having the liability coverage and the damage waivers, you don’t have to worry about the financial hardship that could happen after a loss.
If, however, you rent regularly, it is more affordable to buy a non-owner’s policy that will pay for liability claims, but you’ll still need the damage waiver to protect the car.
One of the biggest benefits of having a non-owner’s policy is that you’re establishing an insurance history. Since insurance companies like to see your claims history before offering coverage, you can get a credit for having prior insurance. This will bring your rates down, especially if you’re a younger driver.
If you’re curious to see how much non-owner’s insurance will cost you, start comparing quotes today.