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

Non-owner car insurance is an optional form of liability insurance for drivers who frequently rent a car or borrow someone else’s car.
Written by Amy Bobinger
Edited by Jessica Barrett
Non-owner car insurance provides liability coverage to drivers who don’t own their own vehicles. This
car insurance
coverage provides financial protection if you regularly rent or borrow a car or need insurance to reinstate your driver’s license.
  • Non-owner car insurance protects drivers who operate a vehicle that they don’t own.
  • Non-owner insurance is
    liability coverage
    that covers other drivers’ medical bills and property damage up to your liability limits when the primary liability insurance on a vehicle has been exhausted. 
  • The cost depends on your provider and driving history, but it’s generally more affordable than a traditional policy.

Non-owner insurance is liability coverage for drivers who don’t have a car

Do you need non-owner car insurance?
You might need it if you:
You may not need it if you:
Sometimes borrow cars from people you don't live with
Rent cars frequently
Often use car-sharing services
Want to avoid a lapse in car insurance coverage
Need an SR-22 certificate but don't have a vehicle
Are getting your license in a state with an insurance requirement
Live with someone who owns a car
Rent cars infrequently
Have your own car
Don't plan to own a car any time soon
Learn More
Non-owner car insurance is secondary coverage, meaning that non-owner car insurance will supplement the primary car insurance coverage on the vehicle owner’s policy.
Similar to a standard car insurance policy, non-owner car insurance policies provide set amounts of:
Non-owner car insurance does not cover:
  • Damages to the car that you are driving: This is only covered if the owner has
    collision coverage
    on their primary policy.
  • Your medical costs: These are only covered if you have non-owner PIP or you’re able to add
    medical payments coverage (MedPay)
    to your non-owner policy.
  • Rental reimbursement, roadside assistance, etc: Standard insurance policies sometimes include additional coverages like rental reimbursement—but since a non-owner policy follows you, not a specific vehicle, those add-ons aren’t available.
  • Other drivers: Your non-owner policy only applies to you, so it won’t cover anyone else in your household, including your spouse or children.

How it works 

Suppose you crash your friend’s car into another vehicle, leaving you liable for $65,000 in medical expenses and $40,000 in property damages. 
  • Your friend has a primary insurance policy for the car that covers up to $50,000 in bodily injury and $25,000 in property damage per accident. 
  • Since the other driver’s costs exceed these coverage limits, your non-owner coverage would kick in to cover the remaining $15,000 in medical bills and $15,000 in property damage costs.

Who needs non-owner insurance? Who doesn’t need it?

You might need non-owner insurance if you:
  • Occasionally borrow vehicles from people you don’t live with: If you borrow someone’s car with permission, you’re usually covered under their insurance policy as a permitted driver. But you’re only covered by their policy up to the limits they chose. Non-owner coverage can give you extra protection above the owner’s policy limits.
  • Rent cars often:
    Rental car insurance
    can cost $20 to $30 per day, so non-owner coverage could be a more affordable option if you spend a lot of time driving a rental. That said, a non-owner policy only provides liability protection, so it won’t pay for any damage to your rental car.
  • Frequently use car-sharing services: Services like Zipcar, Turo, or GetAround allow you to borrow a vehicle to drive for a short time. These companies typically provide some insurance, but a non-owner policy can provide added protection.
  • Are temporarily without a car and want to avoid a lapse in coverage: If you don’t have a car but you’re planning to get another one soon, a non-owner policy will allow you to maintain continuous coverage. An insurance lapse can cause your premiums to go up in the future, so a non-owner policy can help you avoid a rate hike.
  • Have an
    SR-22 requirement
    but no vehicle: If you’re required to file an SR-22 certificate due to a DUI or license suspension, you must maintain an active insurance policy, even if you don’t have a car. A
    non-owner SR-22 policy
    will allow you to meet your state’s minimum liability requirements and satisfy the court mandate.
  • Are trying to get a new license in a state with an insurance requirement: Most teen drivers can just be added to their parents’ insurance, but if that’s not an option for you, a non-owner policy may be the solution.
Non-owner insurance probably isn’t right for you if you:
  • Live with someone who has a car: If you live in the same household as someone who owns a vehicle, they should
    add you as a named driver
    on their policy. This will make you ineligible for non-owner insurance. Note that this could make the other person’s insurance premium go up, especially if you have a spotty driving record or you get into an accident in their vehicle.
  • Only occasionally rent vehicles: If you only rent a car a few times a year and don’t really drive otherwise, it’s probably cheaper to rely on rental car insurance instead of a year-round non-owner policy.
  • Own a car: If you have a vehicle—even if you don’t drive it often—you’ll need a standard auto insurance policy, not non-owner coverage.
  • Don’t plan to own a car in the near future: Non-owner insurance is a great option to keep your policy active while you’re between cars, but if you don’t plan to drive again any time soon, you don’t have to worry about a raise in rates due to a lapse in coverage.
You can get non-owner car insurance from many major auto insurance companies, including:
Remember: If you need an insurance company to file an SR-22, confirm that this service is available before purchasing a non-owner auto insurance policy. Not all insurance companies file SR-22 forms.

Non-owner insurance usually costs less than a standard policy

The average cost of non-owner car insurance is $585 to $748 per year, but your insurance rate can vary depending on your car insurance company and your driving record.
Because it’s a basic liability policy without many optional add-ons, non-owner car insurance tends to be cheaper than standard insurance coverage—especially if you’re downgrading from a
full-coverage insurance
That said, if you’re looking for non-owner insurance because you have an SR-22 requirement due to a troubled driving history, your non-owner premiums will be significantly higher than a non-owner policy for someone with a clean driving record.
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Yes, but you’ll need additional coverage from a credit card, travel club, or the rental company to cover any damages to the rental car itself. Non-owner insurance only provides liability coverage for damages you cause when driving a rental car. Depending on the state, additional coverage may be necessary.
You’ll usually need to call an insurance agent directly to get quotes for non-owner insurance. Compare non-owner car insurance quotes from a few insurance providers to make sure you’re getting the best rate.
Non-owner insurance will not cover your own car—if you have a non-owner policy and you buy a car, you’ll need to call your insurance company to switch to a standard insurance plan.
Typically, you’ll need to be the vehicle owner to purchase an insurance policy for that car. If you drive the car regularly, have the vehicle owner add you to their policy. You can also purchase a non-owner insurance policy that will follow you instead of the car.
Usually—but not always. A non-owner policy includes basic property damage and bodily injury liability protection, plus required coverages like uninsured motorist and MedPay. 
If your standard insurance policy includes additional coverages like collision and comprehensive protection, a basic liability policy is naturally going to cost less. That said, if you’re a high-risk driver, you’re going to see higher rates, no matter what type of policy you choose.
No, like most liability-only policies, non-owner insurance does not require you to pay a deductible before the coverage kicks in.
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