How does non-owner car insurance work?

Non-owner car insurance is secondary liability coverage. That means the owner’s policy applies first, and the non-owner policy will pay out any remaining liability.

For example, let's say you have a non-owner policy with $40,000 in property damage liability, and the car's owner has $20,000 in property damage liability. You cause an accident driving that car, totaling $30,000 in damages, $10,000 beyond the owner's limits. The owner's policy will pay the first $20,000. Your non-owner policy will cover the extra $10,000.

Without the non-owner policy, you could be sued for that $10,000.

"Non-owner policies are available for individuals who don’t own a car or have regular access to a car but who do drive on occasion," says Rick Kautzer, associate director of personal lines product management at Dairyland Insurance.

Non-owner auto insurance is a good fit if you frequently rent or borrow a car or are trying to keep continuous coverage when you're in between vehicles. 

Additionally, non-owner car insurance is a good option for high-risk drivers who must have a liability policy to keep their driver’s license or file an SR-22.

What does non-owner car insurance cover?

Non-owner car insurance covers anything required by law in your state as part of a minimum-coverage policy.

A non-owner policy covers:

  • Bodily injury to others
  • Damage to others’ property

And in some states, where required by law, it also covers:

Non-owner car insurance doesn’t cover the following:

  • Damage to the car itself from an at-fault accident
  • Theft, vandalism, or any other non-collision damage to the car while in your possession
  • Towing and labor
  • Rental car reimbursement

Who should get non-owner car insurance?

So, do you need non-owner auto insurance? Here’s a quick reference list of who should and shouldn’t buy a non-owner car insurance policy.

You should buy non-owner car insurance if you don't own a car and:You shouldn’t buy non-owner car insurance if:
Often drive cars owned by someone elseYou own a car
Frequently rent carsYou only drive cars owned by others in your household
Are in between cars and don’t want a coverage lapseYou borrow or rent cars only occasionally 
Need proof of insurance or an SR-22 due to a violationYou drive a non-owned car for business purposes

How much does non-owner car insurance cost?

The average rate for a non-owner car insurance policy is $325 a year, based on an analysis of 2023 rates by That’s well below the average cost of car insurance for a standard policy.

Non-owner auto insurance costs vary, but this coverage is usually less expensive than traditional car insurance. Insurers view those who don’t own cars as less risky because they drive less frequently. Factors influencing cost include:

  • The amount of liability insurance coverage you want
  • Your driving history
  • Your geographical location

You can find the cheapest non-owner rates by shopping around. Here’s a look at the cheapest companies for non-owner car insurance.

CompanyAverage monthly ratesAverage annual rates
State Farm$22$262

Data refreshed as of Apr 2024
Read our full methodology

Non-owner car insurance average costs by state

Auto insurance rates vary by state, including those for non-owner car insurance. The table below shows the average cost of a non-owner policy by state.

Non-owner car insurance rates by state
State Average non-owner car insurance cost
Washington D.C.$310
North Carolina$470
North Dakota$209
New Hampshire$318
New Jersey$459
New Mexico$293
New York$421
Rhode Island$518
South Carolina$368
South Dakota$170
West Virginia$367

Data refreshed as of Apr 2024
Read our full methodology

Can you get car insurance without a car?

Yes, you can get car insurance even if you don't own a car. Most types of car insurance are designed for car owners, but non-owner auto insurance protects you regardless of who owns the car you're driving. So, unlike traditional car insurance that follows the car, non-owner insurance follows the driver.

You can buy non-owner car insurance from most major companies.

Is non-owner car insurance right for you?

So, do you need non-owner auto insurance?

If you have a gap in car ownership, obtaining a non-owner insurance policy to maintain continuous insurance coverage is a good idea. Continuous coverage can make you eligible for discounted rates– and keeps you from rate hikes typically given to those with a coverage gap.

Insurers define “regular access to a car” in various ways, with some viewing it as using a vehicle as little as once per week or four times per month.

In certain cases, you may even opt for a non-owner policy when you own a vehicle. If you must file a certificate, such as an SR-22 or FR-44, and your current carrier does not offer this service, you can take out a supplementary non-owner policy with another company to meet this obligation. Because this secondary policy won't cover your vehicle, the extra costs involved in this strategy are usually low.

Methodology commissioned Quadrant Data Services in 2023 to field quotes for non-owner car insurance for a 40-year-old male driver with a clean record and good credit. 

Auto insurance FAQs

How can you get liability insurance without a car?

By purchasing a non-owner car insurance policy, you are getting protection for yourself should you injure another person or damage someone’s property while driving.

Can you drive someone else's car without insurance?

You don't need car insurance if you occasionally drive someone else's car. However, getting non-owner car insurance might be a good idea if you drive other people's cars often.

Can you rent a car without insurance?

Yes, you can rent a car without having auto insurance. In most cases, rental cars come with liability coverage that will protect you if something goes wrong while driving the vehicle.

Do you need insurance if you have a license but no car?

You don't need car insurance if you have a license but no car. If you borrow cars occasionally, the owner's insurance should cover you. But getting non-owner car insurance might be a good idea if you rent cars or drive someone else's car frequently.

Can I drive someone else's car with my insurance?

You don't need your own insurance to drive someone else's car.  Their insurance will cover you. It's known as permissive use, which means their insurance will likely cover you in the event of an accident as long as you have their permission to drive. If you have insurance on another car, it will not apply to someone else's car; however, non-owner insurance can be used as secondary coverage.