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What Drivers Need to Know About Non-Owner Car Insurance
Even if you don’t own a car, you might need your own auto insurance coverage. A special kind of policy called non-owner car insurance should fit the bill.
Non-owner car insurance provides liability coverage when you’re renting a vehicle or borrowing someone else’s car. Liability insurance pays for injuries and property damage that you cause to other drivers and their passengers.
A non-owner auto insurance policy might be right for you if:
- You’ve been convicted of a DUI or other serious violation and your state requires you to file an SR-22 form — called a FR-44 form in some states — to get a driver’s license or to get yours reinstated. These forms prove that you have car insurance. A non-owner policy will suffice if you don’t own a car.
- You rent cars frequently. A non-owner policy might be cheaper than paying for the rental car company’s liability insurance every time.
- You use a car-sharing service such as Zipcar, which lets members rent cars for as little as an hour or as long as seven days. A non-owner policy supplements the liability coverage the car-sharing service provides. You might want this extra layer of protection if you have savings or other assets to protect in case an accident victim sues you in addition to the car-sharing service.
- You borrow others’ cars frequently. Normally, if you caused an accident while driving a friend’s car, his or her insurance would pay. But if the costs exceed your friend’s liability limits, you could be on the hook for the remaining bills. Non-owner car insurance would supplement your friend’s coverage in this case.
A non-owner policy can also establish continuous auto insurance coverage. Having periods when you’re uninsured — even if you’re between vehicles — could make you look “risky” in the eyes of some auto insurers and lead to high rates down the road when you buy a car and apply for a standard insurance policy.
When not to bother
You’re not a good candidate for non-owner car insurance if you have regular access to a car and are covered by the owner’s policy. You don’t need a non-owner policy, for instance, if you live with your parents and use their cars. In most cases, you’ll be listed as a driver on their policy.
Non-owner insurance coverage details
In addition to liability insurance, a non-owner policy can include medical coverage for yourself and uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, in some states. Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance covers your medical bills if you’re injured in an accident caused by a driver without any or enough liability insurance.
Non-owner insurance does not include collision or comprehensive insurance. In a standard auto policy, these cover repairs or replacement of the vehicle you own. That means you’ll still have to take some precautions at the rental car counter. Use a credit card that offers rental car coverage or buy the rental car company’s collision-damage waiver, which removes your financial responsibility for damage to the car.
Cost of a non-owner policy
Typically, you can buy a non-owner car insurance policy for less than you’d spend for the same level of liability coverage on a standard car insurance policy. The cost is lower because you don’t have regular access to a car.
The price depends on your age and driving record, where you live and how often you plan to drive.
While you can get car insurance quotes online for standard car insurance, you should call agents or companies to buy a non-owner car insurance policy.