What is non-owner car insurance?
Non-owners car insurance is a liability-only coverage for those who don't own a car but still need car insurance. This means it only covers damage you cause to other drivers (bodily injury) and their property. It offers no collision or comprehensive coverage for your vehicle or bodily injury coverage for you or your passengers.
How and where to buy non-owners insurance
Although much cheaper than a traditional car insurance policy, non-owners policies can be difficult to find. You will typically have to look at a non-standard or smaller insurance company to find coverage. Furthermore, you typically have to purchase a non-owners policy over the phone.
Here at The Zebra, we work with companies that will write a non-owners policy for you! We can quote you over the phone from different insurance companies in order to find you the right coverage at the right price. Give us a call at 888-444-2833 to get spam-free non-owners quotes. Below are some other companies you can get a quote for a non-owners policy.
*Partner of The Zebra
**Must have an existing policy with Progressive to qualify
What does non-owners insurance cover?
This policy works like a traditional car insurance policy with one major exception: with a non-owners car insurance policy, you’re limited to liability coverage. Meaning, you won't have comprehensive or collision coverage (also known as full coverage).
The reason for this is simple: the insurance company through which you receive non-owners insurance doesn’t know the specifics of the vehicle you'll be driving — thus they have no way to price a premium to cover it. The value of the vehicle they would need to replace could range from an affordable pre-owned vehicle to a brand new Mercedes Benz G-Class. Without such restrictions, a non-owners policy would be the best “insurance hack” of all time.
Non-owner liability coverage (coverage for other drivers/vehicles):
Liability insurance covers the damage you cause in an at-fault auto accident. While it doesn't cover physical damage to your vehicle, it does give you coverage for another driver's property damage.
Like a traditional liability policy, non-owners liability will break down into the following coverage types:
Non-owner uninsured motorist coverage (coverage for you):
If you are struck by a driver who does not have auto insurance, this coverage would kick in to cover your damages. While coverage details may depend on the individual policy, this typically covers any bodily injury costs suffered by you or your passenger(s), as well as property damage to your vehicle.
Medical coverage/Personal Injury Protection (coverage for you):
This provides coverage for medical expenses and associated fees for you and your passengers. This may include lost wages, medical expenses, and ambulance rides, up to a certain percent.
Who Needs a Non Owner Policy?
There are a number of reasons you might need a non-owners policy. These may include the following:
- You need an SR-22 but don’t own a car
- You’re an occasional driver that doesn’t own a vehicle
- You’re between vehicles
- You rent vehicles frequently
- You use car-sharing services like Car2Go or Zipcar-type often
- You don’t own a vehicle but want to avoid a lapse in car insurance coverage
1. Non owner car insurance for an SR-22
Basically, an SR-22 is a certificate that states you are carrying at least the state’s minimum liability insurance. You'll typically only need an SR-22 insurance if your drivers license has been suspended or you've been cited after an accident or violation.
To be clear, an SR-22 is not insurance. It's simply a form stating you have liability coverage in place. If you don't own a vehicle but still need to show proof of insurance, you might find yourself needing a non-owner policy. A non-owner insurance policy will help fill the gap between needing to show proof of liability protection without having to purchase and insure a car.
If you need an SR-22 and your current company will not provide it, consider a non-owners policy.
Moreover, you might find yourself in a situation in which your current company doesn’t offer an SR-22. Not every company provides SR-22s simply because of their inherent risk. If you need an SR-22 and your current company will not provide it, consider a non-owners policy. This would require paying for a second policy, but premiums on non-owners' policies are normally cheaper than are traditional auto insurance policies. Carrying non-owner insurance could be more affordable than switching all of your coverage to a different carrier. This would also keep you compliant with state regulations, avoiding fees and insurance suspensions.
For more information on SR-22s and what they mean for your car insurance, see our in-depth guide to SR-22 insurance.
2. Non-owner insurance for occasional drivers who don't own a car
Depending on your friend’s car insurance policy, they might have a permissive use policy. Permissive use extends coverage to drivers who infrequently drive the insured’s vehicle and do not live in the insured’s home. Typically, a permissive user can count as someone who uses the vehicle less than 12 times a year.
A non-owners policy can be a good idea if your friend’s liability policy isn’t sufficient in the event of an at-fault accident. For example, your friend lives in California and has state liability limits (15/30/5). You cause over $5,000 in property damage and thus exceed your friend’s liability limits. In most cases, you would be liable for the remaining damage. With a non-owners policy, you would have supplementary coverage.
If you rent often enough, a non-owners policy might be cheaper than paying for the liability coverage offered by a rental company. Bear in mind, non-owners coverage offers no coverage for the physical protection of your rental car — aka, your collision and comprehensive coverage.
Like using your friend’s vehicle and potentially exceeding their coverage, non-owners coverage provides supplementary coverage for ZipCar and car2go-like services. In the event of a costly at-fault accident in which you exceed the liability limits of car2go or ZipCar, you can use your non-owners policy to avoid paying for the damage yourself.
3. You don’t own a vehicle but want to maintain insurance coverage.
Having gaps in your car insurance history — even without a vehicle registered to you — can be a red flag once you start shopping for car insurance. Insurance companies, regardless of what your reason for not having insurance, see you as more likely to be driving uninsured. Naturally, an uninsured driver is a major risk factor for insurance companies and they will charge accordingly for them.
Historical data shows that drivers without an insurance history are more likely to get cited or file a claim, thus the higher premium. Depending on the insurer you choose, you could either be denied coverage or face higher auto insurance rates.
In 2019, the average difference between a 30-year-old driver who has continuous coverage and a 30-year-old driver without any insurance coverage was $265 (or $132 per 6-month policy period).
So, if you’ve sold your vehicle and don't plan on driving regularly for a period of time, a non-owners policy might be a good option. This can help keep your future premiums low by keeping you in the good graces of potential insurers.
Non-owner car insurance cost
Insurance rates for non-owners policies vary from one company to another. High-risk drivers — like those with a DUI on their driving record — will always face higher rates. Along with your driving history, there are a number of other factors that inform what you pay, including your age, where you live, and how often you plan to drive. In general, most non-owner policies typically cost less than you'd pay for standard car insurance coverage.
*Non-owner car insurance policy availability will vary by state and situation. Some direct carriers do not offer non-owner coverage over the phone and require that you set up coverage through a local agent or broker. If you are in the market for this coverage, call us at 888-444-2833 to get car insurance quotes and find the policy you need.
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About The Zebra
The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.
- The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
- The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
- The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
- The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.