Non-Owner Car Insurance: What Is It and Who Needs It?

Non-owner car insurance provides liability coverage for drivers who don’t own a car but still drive. This type of policy is often more affordable than a standard car insurance policy.

Margaret Wack
Written byMargaret Wack
Margaret Wack
Margaret WackPersonal Finance Writer
  • 8+ years writing about insurance and personal finance

  • Widely published insurance expert

Margaret has written extensively on personal finance topics, including insurance, taxes, budgeting, saving, and more. She’s also a marketing manager and an award-winning poet.

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Courtney Mikulski
Courtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
  • 3+ years producing insurance and personal finance content

  • Main architect of the Insurify Quality Score

Courtney’s deep personal finance knowledge extends beyond insurance to credit cards, consumer lending, and banking. She thrives on creating actionable content.

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Mark Friedlander
Reviewed byMark Friedlander
Mark Friedlander
Mark FriedlanderDirector, Corporate Communications
  • Corporate communications director for Insurance Information Institute

  • 20+ years in insurance and communications

As Director, Corporate Communications for Triple-I, Mark serves as the non-profit’s national spokesperson, sharing information and education on a wide array of insurance issues.

Konstantin Halachev
Data reviewed byKonstantin Halachev
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Konstantin HalachevVice President of Engineering
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  • Ph.D. in Computational Biology

Konstantin has led data teams across multiple industries, including insurance, travel, and biology. He’s led Insurify’s engineering team for more than three years.

Updated August 24, 2023 at 5:00 PM PDT

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If you regularly drive someone else’s car, you may want to consider purchasing non-owner car insurance. This type of insurance provides liability coverage in case you get into an accident while operating a vehicle you don’t own. Whether you need non-owner car insurance depends on a variety of factors, including the car owner’s insurance policy and how often you drive it.

Quick Facts
  • Non-owner car insurance only covers damage and injuries you cause.

  • If you frequently drive a car you don’t own, you may need non-owner car insurance.

  • Even if you don’t drive often, non-owner car insurance provides continuous coverage to avoid gaps in your insurance history.

What is non-owner car insurance?

Under certain circumstances, you might drive a car that you don’t own. For example, you might often borrow a friend’s car or you might drive rental cars frequently. In these cases, it could make sense to purchase a non-owner car insurance policy for yourself.

While the vehicle should come with its own insurance coverage, non-owner car insurance provides you liability coverage and can help protect you from financial risk after you cause an accident, even if you don’t own the car you’re driving.

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What does non-owner car insurance cover?

Non-owner car insurance covers injuries to other drivers and damages to their cars. This includes both bodily injury liability, which covers you in case someone else is hurt, and property damage liability, which covers you if you damage someone else’s car, home, or other property.

Coverage limits for non-owner insurance are usually set at a state’s minimum required thresholds. But depending on the insurance company, you may be able to purchase additional coverage, if desired.

What does non-owner car insurance exclude?

Non-owner insurance doesn’t cover any damage to the vehicle you’re driving if you cause an accident. The vehicle’s collision and comprehensive insurance covers damages to the car you’re driving, if the car’s owner included them on their policy. Non-owner car insurance also doesn’t cover any of your own injuries if you cause an accident.

Should you buy a non-owner car insurance policy?

Depending on your situation, non-owner car insurance could be a good idea, but it might not always be necessary. 

“It’s best suited for those who frequently rent cars or borrow others’ vehicles,” advises Jesse Cunningham, owner of Bauple. This type of coverage makes sense if:

  • You borrow vehicles frequently. If you often borrow cars from friends and family, it’s a good idea to purchase non-owner insurance coverage.

  • You often rent vehicles or use car-shares. Non-owner car insurance is also a good idea if you often rent cars or use car-share services like Zipcar.

  • You want additional coverage to protect yourself. If you drive a vehicle you don’t own, you don’t have as much control over the vehicle’s liability coverage limits. A non-owner car insurance policy can better protect your financial interests.

  • You have a driver’s license but don’t drive. Even if you have no plans to drive someone else’s car, a non-owner car insurance policy can prevent gaps in your insurance history by letting you maintain continuous coverage. If you get a car in the future and insure it, this continuous coverage will help keep your insurance costs lower than if you weren’t insured before.

    Editor's Experience

    Courtney Mikulski

    Courtney Mikulski

    Senior Editor, Auto, Insurify

    I didn't have a car for two years, and that lapse in coverage made my rates really high when I was ready to buy insurance again. I ended up having to stay on my parents' insurance and pay them the rate difference. If I'd bought non-owner car insurance, I could have avoided that situation.

    View less

When you don’t need a non-owner policy

While a non-owner car insurance policy can be useful in some cases, it’s not always necessary. You probably don’t need a non-owner policy if:

  • Someone in your household has insurance on their car. In this case, rather than purchasing a separate non-owner car insurance policy, the owner of the vehicle should list you on their car insurance policy as an insured driver.

  • You own your own car. If you own and insure your own vehicle, a non-owner car insurance policy isn’t necessary and won’t give you any additional coverage.

  • You don’t have a driver’s license. If you don’t have a driver’s license, you don’t need non-owner car insurance since you won’t be behind the wheel.

Best companies for non-owner auto insurance

If you need non-owner auto insurance, you have plenty of options. Many of the top-rated car insurance companies offer car insurance for people who don’t own a car but still drive others’.

Progressive

Progressive is a national auto insurer that offers car insurance to people who don’t own a car. While Progressive ranked low in terms of customer satisfaction in many regions in J.D. Power’s study, it has a highly rated mobile app and a lower-than-expected number of complaints filed with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.[1] Furthermore, Progressive’s average rates are on par with national averages, so it’s a solid option for affordability.

GEICO

GEICO is a household name thanks to its catchy car insurance commercials and affordable auto insurance policies. It had a slightly above-average J.D. Power rating across regions in the most recent auto insurance study, and unlike some other national insurers, GEICO doesn’t require you to work with an agent to purchase a policy. You can do the entire process online or through its mobile app.[1] It has a robust website and mobile app, which make the claims process easy and convenient.

Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual is another good choice if you need to purchase a non-owner car insurance policy. Filing a claim online with Liberty Mutual takes just a few minutes. The insurer also makes it easier to save on auto insurance with a variety of discounts, like claims-free driving and good student discounts. However, it scored slightly below average in J.D. Power’s satisfaction study, earning an average of 819 out of 1,000 points across regions.[1]

Nationwide

If you only drive others’ cars occasionally but still want extra coverage when you do, Nationwide’s non-owner insurance policy could be a good fit. The insurer offers a variety of other insurance types, including homeowners insurance, life insurance, pet insurance, dental insurance, and more.

State Farm

State Farm is another good choice if you’re looking for a non-owner car insurance policy. It offers discounts for safe driving and good grades, as well as the option to bundle auto insurance with other policy types. State Farm’s average satisfaction rating was above the national average in J.D. Power’s study, signaling its strong customer service.[1]

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Non-owner car insurance FAQs

If you have more questions about non-owner car insurance, check out Insurify’s guides on liability insurance and how to get car insurance without a driver’s license.

  • Can you insure a car that’s not in your name?

    In theory, it’s sometimes possible to insure a vehicle that’s not in your name. However, in practice, it depends on your specific insurer, and not all insurers allow drivers to do so. In most cases, the car’s owner must purchase an insurance policy for the vehicle to register and operate it. As a nonowner, you can purchase a nonowner insurance policy if you infrequently drive the car.

  • How much does a non-owner car insurance policy cost?

    The average monthly cost of a liability-only policy is $170, but your rates may vary based on your individual situation, including your driving history, where you live, and more.[2]

  • How do you buy non-owner car insurance?

    Many online quote processes require a vehicle’s information, so you may have to call an insurance company representative or agent directly to get a quote and purchase a policy.

  • Do you need car insurance with no car?

    The owner of any car you drive should have an insurance policy to cover it. But if you want continuous insurance coverage on your record and additional protection when you borrow someone’s car, you can purchase a nonowner policy.

  • Do you need car insurance if you don’t own a car but may need to drive one for work?

    In most cases, your work’s commercial auto insurance policy should cover you while driving for work. However, if you’re using a work vehicle for a personal errand, the policy may not cover any damages or injuries you cause while driving it.[3] You should check with your employer to make sure that you have the right type of coverage for your situation. And, if you work as a rideshare driver or delivery driver, you'll need additional coverage because your personal policy won't provide the coverage you need.

  • Which states require non-owner car insurance?

    Non-owner car insurance is an optional type of coverage, and no state has specific requirements for it. However, some drivers have to purchase non-owner SR-22 insurance if they’re a high-risk driver with multiple or serious violations on their record.

  • What is a non-owner SR-22?

    Non-owner SR-22 insurance is similar to a non-owner insurance policy. It’s for drivers who don’t own a vehicle but still need to file an SR-22 with their state. Drivers have to file an SR-22 or FR-44 if they have a DUI or other serious violation to prove that they meet the state’s minimum car insurance requirements. An SR-22 isn’t actually a type of insurance; it’s a form that your insurance company files with the state on your behalf. And you may need it even if you don’t currently have a car.

Methodology

Insurify data scientists analyzed more than 90 million quotes served to car insurance applicants in Insurify’s proprietary database to calculate the premium averages displayed on this page. These premiums are real quotes that come directly from Insurify’s 50+ partner insurance companies in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quote averages represent the median price for a quote across the given coverage level, driver subset, and geographic area.

Unless otherwise specified, quoted rates reflect the average cost for drivers between 20 and 70 years old with a clean driving record and average or better credit (a credit score of 600 or higher).

Liability-only premium averages correspond to policies with the following coverage limits:

  • Bodily injury limits between state-minimum rates and $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident
  • Property damage limits between $10,000 and $50,000
  • No additional coverage
Full-coverage premium averages correspond to the same bodily injury and property damage limits in addition to:
  • Comprehensive coverage with a $1,000 deductible
  • Collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible

Quotes for Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, State Farm, and USAA are estimates based on Quadrant Information Services’ database of auto insurance rates.

Sources

  1. J.D. Power. "2022 U.S. Auto Insurance Study." Accessed May 11, 2023
  2. III. "What determines the price of an auto insurance policy?." Accessed May 11, 2023
  3. III. "Business Vehicle Insurance." Accessed May 11, 2023
Margaret Wack
Margaret WackPersonal Finance Writer

Margaret Wack is a personal finance writer with a master's from St. John's College. She has written about finance and insurance topics for publications including Investopedia, Bankrate, MoneyGeek, The Simple Dollar, Money Under 30, and more. She has also written for sites like Angi, US News & World Report, ArtfulTea, and Reviews.com. Connect with Margaret on LinkedIn.

Courtney Mikulski
Edited byCourtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
Courtney Mikulski
Courtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
  • 3+ years producing insurance and personal finance content

  • Main architect of the Insurify Quality Score

Courtney’s deep personal finance knowledge extends beyond insurance to credit cards, consumer lending, and banking. She thrives on creating actionable content.

Featured in

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Mark Friedlander
Reviewed byMark FriedlanderDirector, Corporate Communications
Mark Friedlander
Mark FriedlanderDirector, Corporate Communications
  • Corporate communications director for Insurance Information Institute

  • 20+ years in insurance and communications

As Director, Corporate Communications for Triple-I, Mark serves as the non-profit’s national spokesperson, sharing information and education on a wide array of insurance issues.

Konstantin Halachev
Data reviewed byKonstantin HalachevVice President of Engineering
Headshot of Konstantin Halachev, VP of Engineering at Insurify
Konstantin HalachevVice President of Engineering
  • 7+ years experience in data analysis

  • Ph.D. in Computational Biology

Konstantin has led data teams across multiple industries, including insurance, travel, and biology. He’s led Insurify’s engineering team for more than three years.

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