What is non-owner car insurance and who needs it?

A non-owner policy is car insurance for a driver who doesn’t own a vehicle but drives often. It provides liability insurance should you get into an accident while driving someone else’s car or a rental.

A non-owner car insurance policy is liability insurance for people who don’t own a car, but often drive cars owned by others. A non-owner policy covers injuries and damages to others if you cause an accident in a borrowed or rented car. Non-owner car insurance can also provide you with proof of insurance if you need to file an SR-22 form.

Non-owner auto insurance meets state minimum liability requirements. It’s inexpensive; the average cost of non-owner car insurance is $380 a year. However, non-owner auto insurance doesn’t cover any damage to the car; that falls under the owner’s policy. In addition, it doesn’t cover your own injuries.

Many top car insurance companies offer non-owner car insurance, but before you buy you should make sure it’s right for you. Below we’ll explain what non-owner car insurance covers, how to get non-owner car insurance and why you might need to buy car insurance if you don’t own a car.


  • A non-owner car insurance policy costs $380 a year on average; Auto-Owners has the cheapest coverage at $86 a year.
  • Non-owner car insurance provides liability coverage to drivers who don’t own a car but still require insurance coverage.
  • A non-owner policy doesn’t cover any of your injuries or damage to the car you are driving.

Can you get car insurance without a car?

Yes, you can get car insurance even if you don’t own a car. It sounds strange, but there are good reasons to consider it. Most types of car insurance are designed to protect the owner of the car. Non-owner auto insurance protects you regardless of who owns the car you’re driving. So, unlike traditional car insurance that follows the car, non-owner insurance follows the driver.

“Non-owner policies are available for individuals who don’t own a car or have regular access to a car, but who do drive on occasion,” says Rick Kautzer, associate director of personal lines product management at Dairyland Insurance. This type of coverage pays for injuries and damages you cause in an accident when you’re driving a car that someone else owns.

How does non-owner car insurance work?

Non-owner car insurance is secondary liability coverage. That means the owner’s policy applies first, and any remaining liability will be paid out by the non-owner policy.

For example, let’s say you have a non-owner policy that has $40,000 in property damage liability, and the owner of the car has $20,000 in property damage liability. You cause an accident driving that car totaling $30,000 in damages, $10,000 beyond the owner’s limits. The owner’s policy will pay the first $20,000 Your non-owner policy will cover the extra $10,000.

Without the non-owner policy, you could be sued for that $10,000.

Non-owner car insurance is a good fit for you if you frequently rent vehicles or borrow a car, or are trying to keep continuous coverage when you’re in between vehicles. Additionally, non-owner car insurance is a good option for high-risk drivers who are required to have a liability policy to keep their driver’s license or file an SR-22.

“A non-owner policy provides the driver with protection for themself, regardless of whether the vehicle is insured,” Kautzer says. “This type of policy can also help satisfy a required proof of insurance, which helps an individual maintain an active driver’s license.”

What does a non-owner car insurance policy cover?

Non-owner auto insurance policies cover bodily injury and property damage liability only. Liability insurance covers injuries or property damage that you’re legally liable for as a result of an auto accident. It does not cover your rented or borrowed vehicle if it gets damaged or stolen while you’re using it because collision and comprehensive coverage isn’t part of the policy.

With a non-owner insurance policy, you can purchase different liability limits. If your state has demanded that you file an SR-22 or FR-44 financial responsibility form, the state may dictate what liability coverage amount you should obtain.

In some states, non-owner auto insurance can include other coverage required by law, like medical payments or uninsured motorist coverage.

Some insurers offer non-owner auto policies that extend coverage to rental cars. If you buy non-owner auto insurance to cover you in a rental, you should check with your insurer to confirm your policy includes rental cars. Keep in mind that rental car companies usually are required, by law, to provide the state minimum liability coverage for their cars.

What’s not covered by non-owner auto insurance?

Non-owner insurance does not include the following types of coverages:

  • Comprehensive
  • Collision
  • Towing reimbursement
  • Rental reimbursement

Non-owner car insurance does not protect against:

  • Damage to the borrowed or rented vehicle: You won’t be covered if you’re in an accident that causes damage to the vehicle you happen to be driving at the time. This means that if you borrow your friend’s car and get into a fender bender with another vehicle, the vehicle’s owner can file a claim under their own car insurance, or against the other driver’s car insurance.
  • Bodily injury you suffer in an accident: Non-owner car insurance policies provide liability coverage. The policy won’t cover any medical costs or lost wages that you may experience due to injuries sustained in an accident, unless that coverage is required by law in your state and is part of the policy as a result.
  • Other drivers: Non-owner car insurance only covers the person who bought it. It does not offer coverage to other people in your household, like your spouse or others.
  • Driving for business purposes: If you are using your car for work, like delivering packages, non-owners car insurance policy will not cover you.
  • Personal belongings: Non-owner car insurance won’t cover personal belongings inside the motor vehicle, such as bags, laptops or other items.

How much does non-owner car insurance cost?

The average rate for a non-owner car insurance policy is $380 a year, based on an analysis of 2022 rates by Insurance.com.

Non-owner auto insurance costs vary, but this coverage is usually less expensive than traditional car insurance. Insurers view those who don’t own cars as less risky because they drive less frequently. Factors influencing cost include:

  • The amount of liability insurance coverage you want
  • Your driving history
  • Your geographical location

Depending on your record, high-risk auto insurance may be necessary. If this is the case, a non-owner policy is likely to cost you more than it would with a clean record.

Drivers may be considered “high-risk” if their record includes:

  • A DUI conviction
  • Reckless driving
  • Multiple traffic offenses within a short time frame
  • Driving without insurance

If you’re having your license reinstated after a suspension, your state may require higher liability limits than it does for others. Higher limits will cost a little more.

In some cases, you might need to file an SR-22 form. An SR-22 is proof of financial responsibility and is required by the state after someone has had their driver’s license suspended or revoked or after a major traffic violation. Filing a non-owners SR-22 insurance form won’t add to your insurance rates, but the insurer may charge a one-time filing fee of up to $25.

Is non-owner car insurance right for you?

So, do you need non-owner auto insurance?

If you have a gap in car ownership, obtaining a non-owner insurance policy to maintain continuous insurance coverage is a good idea. Continuous coverage can make you eligible for discounted rates– and keeps you from rate hikes typically given to those who have a gap in coverage.

Insurers define “regular access to a car” in various ways, with some viewing it as using a vehicle as little as once per week or four times per month.

In certain cases, you may even opt for a non-owner policy when you own a vehicle. If you’re required to file a certificate, such as an SR-22 or FR-44, and your current carrier does not offer them, you can take out a supplementary non-owner policy with another company to meet this obligation. Because your vehicle won’t be covered by this secondary policy, the extra costs involved in this strategy are usually low.

Who should not buy non-owner auto insurance?

The following scenarios indicate that non-owner auto insurance isn’t the right fit for you.

  1. You own a car. If you own a car, you need a standard policy.
  2. You’re listed as a primary driver of a vehicle. Some car insurance companies won’t allow you to buy a non-owner policy if there are too many primary drivers and vehicles listed on a policy. If a policy lists three drivers and three cars, and you’re one of the drivers, you will be listed as the primary driver on the third vehicle and won’t be able to buy non-owner car insurance.
  3. You are using a vehicle for business purposes. A commercial non-owner policy is better suited for this situation.
  4. You cannot get a valid license within 30 days. If you are currently without a valid license and will not be able to get one shortly, you cannot obtain a non-owner policy.

How to get non-owner car insurance

To purchase a non-owner auto insurance policy, you need only your driver’s license number and a credit or debit card. You can get proof of insurance almost immediately by email, and the car insurance company you choose can file an SR-22 or other required state form on your behalf if you need it.

You must speak with an agent to obtain a non-owner car insurance quote.

Follow these steps to buy non-owners insurance

  1. Contact an auto insurance company representative about the coverage. If non-owners SR-22 insurance is required, provide the agent with your state notification number (if applicable – not all states require this).
  2. Supply basic driving history.
  3. Receive information on available companies and insurance rate quotes.
  4. Choose the company and quote that best meets your needs.
  5. Supply a down payment to begin coverage.

What is non-owner SR-22 insurance?

Non-owner SR-22 insurance is a type of car insurance for drivers who don’t own a car but are required to have SR-22 insurance. If your license is suspended, you might need to get this type of policy to be able to drive again.

An SR-22 is proof of financial responsibility and is required by a state after someone has had their driver’s license suspended or revoked. 

How do you get non-owner SR-22 insurance?

Not every insurance company offers SR-22 policies. So, you will need to ask your current insurer – or any insurers you are considering – whether you can get this coverage.

Once you find the right insurer, the company should take care of filing the SR-22 form with the state on your behalf. However, it is always a good idea to ask your insurer directly whether it performs this service.

Frequently asked questions: Non-owner car insurance

How can you get liability insurance without a car?

By purchasing a non-owner car insurance policy, you are getting protection for yourself should you injure another person or damage someone’s property while you are driving.

“Only the person listed on the policy as the ‘named insured’ is eligible for coverage under a non-owner policy,” Kautzer says. “The coverage follows the listed individual, not the vehicle driven.”

What happens if I have non-owner car insurance and I buy a car?

If you own a car, it’s important to purchase the right kind of insurance. A traditional auto policy will cover the damage and injuries you cause to others. Non-owner auto insurance policies don’t cover you if you buy a car.

Can you drive someone else’s car without insurance?

You don’t need to get car insurance if you drive someone else’s car on occasion. However, if you drive other people’s cars often, it might be a good idea to get non-owner car insurance.

Can you rent a car without insurance?

Yes, you can rent a car without having auto insurance. In most cases, rental cars come with some form of liability coverage that will protect you in case something goes wrong while driving the vehicle.

Do you need insurance if you have a license but no car?

You don’t need car insurance if you have a license but no car. If you borrow cars occasionally, the owner’s insurance should cover you. But if you rent cars or drive someone else’s car frequently, it might be a good idea to get non-owner car insurance.

Can I drive someone else’s car with my insurance?

You don’t need your own insurance to drive someone else’s car.  Their insurance will cover you. It’s known as “permissive use” which means their insurance will likely cover you in the event of an accident, as long as you have their permission. If you have insurance on another car, it will not apply to someone else’s car; however, non-owner insurance can be used as secondary coverage.

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