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Can You Get Car Insurance Without a License in California?

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Typically, an insurance provider will ask for your driver’s license number as one of the first steps when they’re setting up a new policy—which can make getting
car insurance without a license
in
California
challenging. But if you simply exclude yourself as a driver and provide the name or names of the primary drivers who will be driving the vehicle, you should be able to obtain the coverage you need.
  • It is possible to purchase
    car insurance in California
    without a driver’s license.
  • To purchase car insurance without a license in California, you need to exclude yourself as a driver on your policy.
  • Opting to obtain coverage from a smaller insurance company may be your best bet in some circumstances.

Can you get car insurance without a driver’s license in California?

Yes—but it can be tricky.
Since insurance providers rely on your driver’s license number to gain access to your California driving record, it will likely be the first thing you’re asked for when you try to set up an auto insurance policy. But even if you don’t have a license, you’re required to maintain insurance on any vehicle that you own —and insurers know this. That’s why it is possible to buy insurance in California without a valid driver’s license.
MORE: How to get a driver's license in California

How to get car insurance coverage as an unlicensed driver

Unfortunately, most major providers, like
GEICO
,
Allstate
, and
State Farm
won’t offer car insurance quotes without a license. That means you’ll likely need to reach out to smaller regional providers or independent agents to find out which companies sell policies to unlicensed car owners.
Once you find a provider who will sell you the coverage you need, follow these steps to set up your insurance policy in California without a license:
  • Exclude yourself as a driver. Since you don’t have a valid California driver’s license, the first step in securing a policy is to legally state that you will not be driving the vehicle that you’re insuring. To do this, you need to add a
    named driver exclusion
    to your policy that identifies you as a driver who is not covered by the policy. If you file a claim for an accident that occurs while you’re behind the wheel, your provider will deny the claim.
  • List a primary driver or drivers. Since you’ll be an excluded driver on the policy, you’ll need to list at least one other person as a primary driver. This person must have a valid driver’s license. You should include anyone who may drive your vehicle as either a primary or occasional driver to indicate they have permissive use of your vehicle.
Even after following these steps, you may still have trouble securing a policy on your own car if you’re not a licensed driver. In these cases, it can help to list one of your primary drivers as a co-owner on your
vehicle registration
. This will allow you to apply for insurance using their name and license number.
MORE: How to add a driver to your insurance
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How to get car insurance with a suspended license

Since your driving history plays a big role in determining your insurance eligibility and rates, getting insurance in California with a suspended license can be more difficult than getting it with no license at all. But the circumstances of your
California license suspension
will play a large part in determining how it affects your ability to obtain a new policy.
For example, if your license was suspended due to a major traffic violation like a
DUI
, you’ll be labeled a
high-risk driver
. This will make getting any type of insurance more difficult—or at least more expensive. On the other hand, if your license was suspended due to failure to pay child support, it could have less of an effect on your ability to obtain a new policy.
In either case, if your license is suspended, you’ll likely be required to file an
SR-22
form to demonstrate
proof of insurance
to the DMV when you apply for
license reinstatement in California
. And that means finding a provider who’ll cover you even with a suspended license. Sometimes, that means opting for smaller, non-national auto insurance companies over larger ones.

Who needs auto insurance without a driver’s license?

At first glance, it may seem pointless to have car insurance if you’re not a licensed driver. But there are actually a lot of reasons someone without a valid license may need coverage. Here are some examples:
  • You’re the parent of an underage driver. Your teen will need at least
    liability coverage
    that meets California’s minimum requirements to practice driving with their learner’s permit. That means they’ll need to be added to your car insurance policy even before they have a license.
  • You’re a chauffeured passenger. If you own the vehicle you’re being driven around in, you need to ensure it’s covered according to the
    minimum car insurance required in your state
    . Keep in mind you don’t have to be independently wealthy to fall into this category. If you have health issues that regularly require you to be driven by a caregiver or family member in a vehicle that you own, this category applies to you.
  • You own a vintage car. Even those who never drive can be car collectors. While you may not need to purchase
    full coverage car insurance
    , you’ll still want to ensure it’s protected against theft, vandalism, or weather-related damage by purchasing
    comprehensive coverage
    or
    classic car coverage
    .
  • Your license is suspended. Even if your license is suspended, if you own a car, you need to maintain coverage on it—especially if it’s still registered with the state. It may seem odd to continue to pay for coverage on a car that’s not being driven, but when it comes time to apply to have your license reinstated, you’ll be happy you don’t have to find out
    how a lapse in coverage can affect your insurance rates
    .
MORE: Penalties for driving without insurance in California
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FAQs

Often, you have a better chance of obtaining car insurance without a license in California if you choose smaller car insurance companies. That said, if you’re obtaining insurance for someone with a driver’s permit, you may be able to simply add them to your current policy.
Car insurance rates vary by customer. A major factor affecting the cost of your policy will be the reason why you need insurance even without a license. If your license is suspended, you’ll likely pay more for an auto policy than someone who just needs coverage for a parked car or a classic vehicle.

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