Only five companies offer non-owner car insurance policies nationwide – GEICO, State Farm, Nationwide,The General, and Titan. Fortunately, this makes shopping around for the best price fairly simple: You just need to call each provider to request a quote, since non-owner car insurance quotes aren’t available online.
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Each of these companies offers non-owner car insurance plans in all 50 states, and GEICO, State Farm, and Nationwide are known for their quality customer service in some regions, according to J.D. Power.
If you already have another insurance policy through GEICO, such as homeowners or renter’s insurance, you can qualify for a bundling discount on your non-owner car insurance policy. No other provider offers this discount.
Also, when I called to ask for quotes, GEICO had the easiest phone tree to navigate and had me speaking with a friendly, helpful person the fastest.
How Non-Owner Car Insurance Works
A non-owner car insurance policy, sometimes also called non-drivers insurance, provides you with bodily injury and property damage liability coverage when you’re driving a vehicle that you don’t own (and would otherwise have a regular car insurance policy on). There’s typically no deductible when you make a claim.
If you borrow someone’s car and are involved in an accident, the vehicle owner’s car insurance pays out first. If it’s not enough to cover damages, your non-owner policy will kick in as secondary coverage. That said, non-owner’s insurance doesn’t include collision coverage. So it won’t cover repairs to the vehicle, only the vehicle or piece of property you hit.
Optional coverages normally associated with car insurance, like collision, comprehensive, towing, and rental reimbursement, are not available through non-owner policies. Again, this is because there’s no specific vehicle for the policy to insure.
However, some providers also offer medical payments and uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage as part of their non-owner car insurance policies. If you want this type of coverage, be sure to ask about it when requesting quotes.
Some non-owner policies will also provide liability coverage for rental vehicles. Read the fine print on your non-owner policy if you intend to use it for rental cars, and make sure it actually covers you when you’re driving one.
If you don’t rent cars often, it’s cheaper to use your complimentary credit card rental car insurance or purchase coverage through the car-rental agency.
When Do You Need Non-Owner Car Insurance?
If you don’t own a vehicle, you’re typically not legally required to have a non-owner car insurance policy. There are, however, some situations when it’s a good idea to apply for coverage.
You’re Required By a Court
If you’ve committed serious traffic violations, a court may require you to file a proof-of-insurance certificate to maintain your driver license, even if you don’t own a car. Specifically, this can happen if you’ve been convicted of a DUI, caused an accident as an uninsured driver, or been ticketed for reckless driving.
In this happens, you may need non-owner SR-22 insurance (or FR-22 insurance if you live in Florida and Virginia).
You’re Without a Car Temporarily
If you’re selling your car but plan to buy a new one in the near future, it’s usually a good idea to get non-owners insurance to prevent a lapse in insurance coverage. Otherwise, you may end up paying a higher rate for regular insurance when you get a new car.
You Drive Others’ Cars Regularly
If you’re a caregiver or live with someone whose vehicle you often use, having non-owner insurance to supplement their personal policy if you get in an accident.
Also, if you rent cars frequently for travel or other reasons, a non-owner policy that offers liability coverage on rental vehicles can be a cost-effective option. That said, you might also want to get collision coverage through your credit card or the car-rental company.
You Use a Car-Sharing Service
If you’re enrolled in a car-sharing service like Car2Go, Zipcar, or Maven, you’ll typically get some liability and damage coverage as part of your membership. But check the fine print to find out how much protection you have. In some cases, it might be wise to get some additional coverage.
When Is Non-Owner Car Insurance Unnecessary?
If you’re still not sure if your situation merits non-owners insurance, here are some situations where it’s clear that you don’t need it.
The Car You Drive Has Sufficient Insurance
Whether you use a family member’s or friend’s car or a car-sharing service, a non-owners insurance policy provides secondary coverage. This means that you typically don’t need it if the coverage on the car you’re driving is robust.
Check with the car’s owner or the contract on your car-sharing service to find out how much coverage it has and determine whether it needs more when you’re behind the wheel.
You Don’t Rent Cars Often
If you rent cars irregularly, the coverage offered through your credit card or the car rental company may be cheaper than having a policy with a monthly premium.
You Own a Car
If you own your car, it goes without saying that non-owners insurance isn’t the right coverage for your needs. Instead, you’ll want to get a standard car insurance policy, which provides more comprehensive protection.
- Read more: The Best Car Insurance Companies
Non-Owner Car Insurance Rates
Non-owner car insurance premiums are significantly lower than those for regular car insurance. In general, a non-owner car insurance policy will cost you roughly $200 to $300 a year on average, according to CarInsurance.com.
With a traditional car insurance policy, a primary factor that determines how much you pay in premiums is the value of the car being insured. A $200,000 sports car costs a lot more to insure than an $18,000 minivan.
With non-owner car insurance, however, there’s no car to insure, so you are the main factor that determines the rate. Specifically, insurance companies will look at how likely it is that you’ll cause an accident. They do this by checking your driving record and your credit-based insurance score.
Someone who has a clean driving record and excellent credit is going to get a lower rate than someone with a lot of citations, accidents, and less-than-perfect credit. Don’t take this personally – just clean up your credit and keep a clean driving record, and you’ll be able to get a lower rate over time. Where you live also determines how much your non-owner car insurance will cost.
The Bottom Line
Non-owner car insurance is rarely required, but it may be good to have in some situations to ensure that you have enough coverage in case of an accident.
If you’re considering non-owners insurance, call and get quotes from GEICO, State Farm, Nationwide, The General, and Titan. In addition to comparing rates, also look at the provided coverage to get the policy that will give you the most value. Then be sure to shop around every year or so to make sure you still have the best rate available.