What is non-owner car insurance?

A non-owner car insurance policy provides you with bodily injury and property damage liability coverage, allowing you to drive a vehicle you don’t own without relying on the owner’s insurance. It doesn’t pay for damages to the car, nor does it pay for your own injuries after an accident. But it does keep you legal when you get behind the wheel and can cover you if you’re liable for damages or injuries in an accident.

Still not sure if you (or the person you’re lending your car to) need a non-owner car insurance policy? The following questions explain how you’re covered by regular auto insurance in a variety of situations, making it easier to tell if a non-owner policy makes sense for you.

Does my insurance cover other drivers who aren’t on my policy?

If the person you’re lending your car to has your permission, your insurance company will generally cover any damages that result from an accident they cause. But this can vary based on the accident, damages, your coverage limits, and more. It’s always a good idea to contact your auto insurer if you have a question about how your policy works when lending a car to someone .

Does my car insurance cover me in another car?

When you drive someone else’s car, your own insurance usually acts as secondary coverage. That means if you cause an accident and the damages exceed the owner’s policy limits, your insurance could pay for the remainder.

What happens if someone else is driving my car and gets in an accident?

Uninsured driver driving insured car:

Depending on the insurer and situation, you may be covered if you give an uninsured driver permission to drive your car and they cause an accident. Your liability coverage can pay for damages up to the limits of your policy. If you have collision coverage, your insurer may cover the damage to your car as well. If the accident was caused by another driver, their insurance would be responsible for paying the damages.

Insured driver driving uninsured car:

If you lend your uninsured car to someone with insurance, their policy will usually cover any injuries or damages they cause to someone else. Damage to your vehicle likely won’t be covered. You could also be liable for some of the damages if the driver’s insurance doesn’t cover the full amount.

Insured driver driving insured car:

Your car is covered, though the question of whose insurance company will handle the claim will vary based on the accident, damages, and respective policy coverages.

When to consider getting a non-owner car insurance policy

If you don’t own a vehicle but you’re getting behind the wheel of someone else’s car, consider a non-owner car insurance policy. Non-owner operator insurance can help pay for damages or injuries you’re liable for in the event the owner’s coverage limits are reached or you aren’t covered under their policy.

Here are a few more cases where you might consider purchasing a non-owner car insurance policy:

  • Using a car-sharing service: A non-owner policy may make sense if you frequently use a car-sharing service, giving you liability coverage beyond what the company provides.
  • Filing an SR-22: Taking out a non-owner auto policy could fulfill your state’s requirements for carrying insurance while also submitting an SR-22. Learn more about filing an SR-22.
  • Renting cars a lot: A non-owner car insurance policy may be cheaper in the long run if you’re buying liability coverage from the rental company every time.
  • Getting a drivers license: Some states may require you to carry auto insurance to get or reinstate your drivers license, even if you don’t own a car.