How does non-owner car insurance work?


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UPDATED: 2018-12-05T14:33:26.703Z
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Zipcar

Don’t have a car but need car insurance? Non-owner car insurance is coverage for drivers who don’t own a car but need insurance for the times they’re behind the wheel. However, it doesn’t provide the same coverage you would get from a traditional car insurance policy.

What is non-owner car insurance?

Non-owner car insurance provides liability coverage when you’re borrowing someone else’s car or renting a car. The liability insurance covers injuries to other people or property damage in an accident you caused. It doesn’t cover any damage to the vehicle you’re driving.

To be eligible to purchase non-owner car insurance, you have to be a licensed driver and not own a car. In some cases, the insurance company may require that you don’t have regular access to a car or don’t live with someone that owns a car in order to get a non-owner car insurance policy. Many insurance companies that offer traditional car insurance policies also offer non-owner policies.

Reasons to get a non-owner car insurance policy

There are a number of reasons drivers who don’t own cars may consider purchasing non-owners car insurance, including:

  • If you rent or borrow a car frequently: Whether you borrow a friend’s car, rent from a car rental company or use a service like Zipcar, non-owner car insurance will give you liability coverage when driving a car that’s not yours.
  • To maintain continuous car insurance coverage: If you had a car but no longer own one, buying non-owner insurance can help you maintain continuous car insurance coverage. When you have a gap in car insurance coverage (even for not having a car), your car insurance rates may increase when you purchase traditional car insurance in the future.
  • Have to file an SR-22 or FR-44: SR-22s and FR-44s are certificates drivers need to file with the state after they are convicted of certain violations, such as a DUI. In order for drivers to get their licenses reinstated when they have a SR-22 or FR-44, they must have car insurance. If you don’t have a car but need insurance for this reason, non-owner car insurance will help you get your license back.

What does non-owner car insurance cover?

Unlike traditional car insurance, non-owner car insurance only provides liability coverage — collision and comprehensive coverage aren’t an option. Depending on the insurance company, it may also include medical coverage, uninsured motorist bodily injury and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage. It won’t cover for towing or rental reimbursement. However, oftentimes the car you’re driving will have coverage for damage to the car through the person you’re borrowing the car from or through the rental car company.

If you’re renting a car through a rental car company, some credit cards cover damages to rental cars. If your credit card company doesn’t include this coverage, you can purchase the collision damage waiver (CDW) through the rental car company. This will cover damage to the car while your non-owner policy will provide liability coverage.

If you’re renting a Zipcar, you’ll have some liability coverage that comes with a Zipcar rental. Your non-owner insurance will be supplemental to the coverage provided by Zipcar, which can be helpful if you’re in a situation where you’re sued over an accident.

Lastly, if you borrow a car from a friend and get into an accident, your friend’s car insurance will typically cover it. The non-owner car insurance will give you supplemental liability coverage if the liability exceeds the car owner’s policy.

You don’t need a non-owner policy if you don’t have a car but live with family members (such as your parents) who own cars. If you live with them, you should be listed on their insurance policy as a driver, so you won’t need a separate non-owner policy.

If you need non-owner car insurance, do research to find out which companies in your area offer this type of insurance. You should also check what type of coverage is included on the non-owner policy as it can vary by company. You can read car insurance reviews on Clearsurance to learn about experiences policyholders have had with the company to see if the company is right for you.


The content on this site is offered only as a public service to the web community and does not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. This site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an insurance company or an attorney licensed or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. You should always consult a suitably qualified attorney regarding any specific legal problem or matter. The comments and opinions expressed on this site are of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the insurance company or any individual attorney.

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