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Non-owner car insurance guide

If you don’t own a car but need to buy car insurance -- either to get a driver's license or have your driver's license reinstated with an SR-22 filing -- then a non-owner car insurance policy may be just what you need to get back behind the wheel.

Only a few car insurance companies write policies for non-owners, and the purchase process means you usually will have to speak with an agent. Some driver's can't buy these policies, either.

Learn more about what a non-owner policy can and can't do.

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The cost of a non-owner policy

The cost of non-owner auto insurance varies but usually is cheaper than a policy that includes a vehicle. You also are less risky to an insurance company because you don’t have regular access to a car. (See sample rates in "What does a non-owners policy cost?")

Factors that influence pricing include:

Of course, if your driving record is bad – with a DUI, reckless driving or other major offense– a non-owner policy will cost more for you than it would for someone with a clean record since your driving history is a main rating factor for a non-owner policy.

Your state also may require a greater amount of liability coverage for a driver seeking license reinstatement than it does for others.

The SR-22 won’t add to the expense of your car insurance policy, but the insurer may charge a separate one-time filing fee of up to $25.

What does a non-owner policy cover?

Non-owner auto insurance generally covers liability (bodily injury and property damage) coverage only.  Liability covers the injuries or property damage to others if you’re deemed at fault in an auto accident.  

With a non-owner policy, you can purchase different limits of liability.  If your state has demanded you to file an SR-22 or FR-44 filing, choose at least the amount of liability coverage the state has mandated you carry on a car insurance policy.

Non-owner can include medical coverages, such as medical payments or uninsured motorist, in certain states.

Non-owner insurance does not include the following coverages:

  • Comprehensive
  • Collision
  • Towing reimbursement
  • Rental reimbursement

Your non-owner liability coverages can be used as secondary coverage if you borrow someone’s car and are in an auto accident; the car owner’s auto insurance would be primary. 

Non-owner isn’t for everyone

Typically a non-owner policy is available to motorists who:

  • Have a valid driver’s license (or can get one by obtaining a car insurance policy)
  • Don’t own a vehicle
  • Don’t have regular access to a car

The definition of “regular access to a car” varies by auto insurer, but with some it means use of a vehicle as little as once per week or four times a month. 

Some car insurance companies won’t allow you to buy a non-owner policy if there is a vehicle in your household, but others do.

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