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What is non-owner car insurance?

Why would you want a non-owner policy?
What does a non-owner policy cover?
Who should not buy non-owner car insurance?
How much does non-owner car insurance cost?
How do I buy a non-owner policy?

You don’t own a car, but that doesn’t mean you don’t drive. Among the many types of car insurance, non-owner car insurance is the one for you.

To get quotes on a non-owner insurance policy, call our licensed agents at 1-844-252-4551.

Non-owner car insurance is often used by high-risk drivers who are required to buy a liability policy to keep a driver’s license. But it is also used by drivers who don’t own cars and rent frequently or are trying to keep continuous coverage.

A non-owner policy will generally cost much less than an owner’s policy -- in the range of $200 to $300 annually -- because the risk for an insurance company is lower than that of a car owner who drives on a daily basis. The premium amount is, however, dependent upon normal rating factors, such as your driving record and where you live, so you could pay much more than that.

[Let autoinsurancegeeks.com help you find affordable auto insurance now.]

Guidelines vary, but typically an insurer will require that:

  • You have a valid driver’s license.
  • You do not own a vehicle.
  • Some insurers also require that no one in your household owns a vehicle and that you do not have regular access to a vehicle.

Why would you want a non-owner policy?

As a car renter, the policy serves as primary liability coverage, though you would still need to buy the collision damage waiver (CDW) to pay for repairs to the rental car if your credit card company does not automatically do so.

As someone trying to maintain continuous coverage, you are avoiding a gap in your insurance history that would get you labeled as a high-risk driver and result in higher rates when you do buy your next car (and insurance policy).

As a high-risk driver, the policy is typically needed to satisfy conditions to receive or reinstate a driver’s license. If you are required to file an SR-22 or FR-44 with the state -- an insurance company’s guarantee that your coverage is current -- a non-owner SR-22 insurance policy can satisfy that mandate even if you don’t own a car.

You may own a car, but want to buy non-owner insurance to fulfill state obligations for SR-22 or FR-44 filings. For example, let's say you have a car and you're satisfied with your current insurer, but you need to file an SR-22 or FR-44 and your current car insurance company does not provide this service. You can purchase a separate non-owner policy with another carrier to meet your filing requirements. The extra cost is typically very low because the supplemental non-owner policy isn't covering your car.

What does a non-owner policy cover?

Coverage under a non-owner policy includes:

  • Bodily injury liability
  • Property damage liability

Some insurers also offer as part of a non-owner policy:

  • Medical payments coverage
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage
  • Underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage

Because a car is not attached to a non-owner policy, you will NOT be offered the following types of coverage:

  • Collision
  • Comprehensive
  • Rental reimbursement
  • Towing and labor
  • Custom parts and equipment coverage

A non-owner policy will not pay for repairs to a car that you borrow. In fact, if you borrow a friend’s car, you need to verify that the owner has a policy that will extend to you as primary coverage. Your non-owner coverage would pay only in the event that the owner’s coverage limits are reached, and then, only to cover the damages inflicted on the person or vehicle you hit.

Who should not buy non-owner car insurance?

A non-owner personal auto insurance policy isn’t for you if:

  • You own a car. In this case, purchase a standard owner’s policy.
  • There is a vehicle in your household. Normally, in this situation you would be required to be placed on the car owner’s policy as a driver to be covered instead of obtaining a non-owner policy of your own. This is especially true if your spouse owns a vehicle, since an insurer may consider that vehicle your property to insure as well.
  • You drive a car on a regular basis. If you don’t own a car but drive someone else’s on a frequent basis, you should be added to that person’s policy as a driver. If you're in full possession of the vehicle, find an insurer that will allow you to place a regular auto insurance policy on that vehicle.
  • You are using a vehicle for business use. A commercial non-owner policy, offered by companies such as Progressive, may be better suited for this need.
  • You don’t have a driver’s license and cannot obtain one within 30 days of starting a non-owner policy.

How much does non-owner car insurance cost?

Non-owner car insurance is cheaper than normal insurance, but the costs vary from company to company. Costs tend to range from 10 percent to 80 percent of the price you'd pay for a standard auto policy, says Jarrett Dunbar, a spokesman for Nationwide. Dunbar points out that "much depends on how often the customer has access to a car, how that car will be used and what age the operator is."

autoinsurancegeeks.com's sister site, Insurance.com, recently ran sample rates in California, comparing the cheapest liability-only policy available for drivers who own a car with a similar policy available to drivers who don't. The policy quotes don't cover damage to the car itself, only damage the driver causes to people and property, and that doesn't include any injuries suffered by the driver himself or his passengers.

Using a 25-year-old single male who rents and has a clean driving record as an example, the study found that he'd pay $438 a year for a non-owner policy, compared to $470 if he bought coverage for a vehicle he owned. A single woman, 40, who rents and has a pristine driving history would pay $368 a year for non-owner coverage, compared to $424 for an owner policy.

How do I buy a non-owner policy?

Currently the best way to obtain a non-owner policy with us is by contacting our call center toll-free at 1-844-252-4551.

You apply for a non-owner policy in the same manner you would for an owner’s policy. Not all auto insurance providers offer non-owner policies because this is considered a non-standard policy. We work with insurers such as Progressive and Infinity to provide non-owner policies. Not all insurance companies do business in all states, though.

If you have been unable to find a carrier thus far, and we are unable to offer you coverage in your area, then contact local independent agents who have access to multiple non-standard carriers or contact your state’s insurance regulator for consumer information on companies offering non-owner policies.

If you have a non-owner policy and you purchase a vehicle, you will need to let your insurer know immediately to change your policy over to an owner’s policy that will cover your new car -- or else you’ll be without coverage on the vehicle.