Do you need a license to get car insurance?

Although most insurance policies are issued to licensed drivers, getting an insurance policy on a car you own, even if you aren’t licensed is possible. Not all insurance companies will write this type of policy, so it can be challenging to find one.

Insurance companies generally require that the car's registered owner be on the insurance policy. If you own the car but don’t have a license, the insurance company will want you listed on the policy. However, it will also want a licensed driver on the policy.

Some types of insurance might not require a licensed driver, mainly those that don’t include liability insurance.

Why would you need insurance without a license?

There are a few circumstances where you need to buy car insurance if you don’t have a license. In general, they involve someone else driving the car, but not always.

Here are some common scenarios:

Someone else drives for you. Whether you no longer drive due to your health or you’ve surrendered your license for another reason, if you own a car and someone else does the driving for you, you can insure the vehicle in your name and add that person as the driver.

You’re not fully licensed yet. A new driver who is still working towards getting a license can be insured, usually on a parent’s policy, even though they aren’t fully licensed.

You’ve inherited or been gifted a car. If you receive a car as a gift or through an inheritance, you’ll want to insure it even if you aren’t licensed.

You own a collector or classic car that won’t be driven. In some cases, classic cars are in storage, being rebuilt or are not being driven for another reason. A policy that covers the car while in storage is also called parked car coverage. This type of policy is comprehensive-only, which means it covers the car only for non-collision incidents like theft. There is no liability insurance, and the car can’t be legally driven.

Your license has been suspended. If your driver's license is suspended, you likely need auto insurance to get your license reinstated. The rules vary by state, but in most cases, a suspended driver must show proof of insurance when reinstating their license. Most insurance companies will provide coverage pending the license reinstatement. You will also need to have the insurance company file an SR-22 form.

Auto insurance FAQs

Is insurance required if you have a car but not a license?

If your car is going to be driven at all – either by you or someone else – you need car insurance by law in nearly every state. Unless you are able to register the car as non-operational, any registered vehicle must have insurance.

Can you register a car with no license?

Generally, yes, but in most states, you must present proof of insurance to register a car.

Is it possible to insure a car on someone else’s policy?

You can only insure a car on someone else’s policy if they have an insurable interest in the car. That means they have a financial stake in the car; usually, they are the owner or co-owner of the car. You can’t add a car to just anyone’s policy.