What Does Non-Owner Car Insurance Cover?
Last Updated on December 17, 2021
Non-owner car insurance is a unique type of coverage for drivers without a vehicle.
If you frequently drive someone else’s vehicle and want to ensure adequate coverage, then you might buy non-owner car insurance. Even though you don’t own a vehicle, you can obtain car insurance to protect yourself when driving a friend’s vehicle, a rental car, or a company vehicle.
Today, we’re explaining what non-owner car insurance covers and how non-owner vehicle insurance works.
Table of Contents:
- What Is Non-Owner Car Insurance?
- What Does Non-Owner Car Insurance Cover?
- Other Coverages Available with Non-Owner Car Insurance
- What Does Non-Owner Car Insurance Not Cover?
- Do I Need Non-Owner Car Insurance?
- When Non-Owner Car Insurance is Not the Right Choice
- How Much Does Non-Owner Auto Insurance Cost?
- How to Obtain Non-Owner Car Insurance
What Is Non-Owner Car Insurance?
Non-owner car insurance gives you liability coverage even when you don’t have a vehicle. Most states require you to have liability insurance to legally drive. When you buy non-owner car insurance, you get liability coverage that covers you in certain situations.
All car insurance policies come with liability coverage. When you buy an ordinary car insurance policy, it comes with liability coverage. Typically, this liability coverage follows the vehicle. If someone borrows your vehicle, then this liability coverage extends to that person.
However, if you don’t own a vehicle, you can still obtain liability insurance in the form of non-owner car insurance. This liability coverage follows you – not a vehicle. It covers you when driving a rental car, a borrowed car, a rideshare vehicle, and other vehicles.
What Does Non-Owner Car Insurance Cover?
Non-owner car insurance includes liability coverage, which covers damages you cause to other people and property while driving.
Liability insurance consists of bodily injury coverage and property damage coverage:
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage: This coverage compensates people for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses after an accident you cause. If you crash into another vehicle, for example, and cause the driver to incur $50,000 of medical bills, then your bodily injury liability coverage covers this cost.
Property Damage Liability Coverage: This coverage compensates people for any property damage they cause while driving. If you crash into someone’s fence, for example, or destroy their vehicle in an at-fault accident, then the property owner can make a claim through your property damage liability coverage.
In other words, non-owner car insurance covers expenses other people pay as a result of your actions. If you cause an accident while driving, then you are liable for any damages from that accident. You are legally required to cover these damages. With non-owner car insurance, your car insurance covers this damage up to the limits of your policy, which means you don’t have to pay out of pocket.
Other Coverages Available with Non-Owner Car Insurance
At the most basic level, non-owner car insurance includes bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage. However, most companies let you add certain extra coverage options.
Non-owner car insurance can include additional car insurance coverage as required by your state, for example.
Some states require medical payments coverage, personal injury protection, and uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
Even if your state does not require these options, you may want to add them to your non-owner car insurance policy:
Personal Injury Protection (PIP): Similar to health insurance, personal injury protection covers medical bills and other expenses after an accident. It’s often required in no-fault states, and it pays medical bills after an accident regardless of fault. PIP can also cover pain and suffering, lost wages, and other costs after an accident.
Medical Payments Coverage: Medical payments coverage is optional in most states. It functions similar to PIP coverage or health insurance, covering mostly medical bills and similar expenses after an accident.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Nearly 1 in 7 drivers in the United States has no car insurance. Some states require you to have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
Higher Coverage Limits: Some non-owner car insurance policies cover the bare minimum liability coverage required in your state. Other policies extend coverage up to $500,000 or $1 million or more. Generally, if you have assets that could be seized in a lawsuit, then you want enough insurance coverage to protect those assets – even with non-owner car insurance.
Consider adding the above coverage options to your non-owner car insurance policy for additional protection.
What Does Non-Owner Car Insurance Not Cover?
Non-owner car insurance policies lack the coverage of a traditional auto insurance policy. With a traditional car insurance policy, you’re buying car insurance for a specific car. Car insurance protects that vehicle.
Since you do not own a vehicle, your non-owner car insurance policy cannot protect any specific vehicle.
When you buy non-owner car insurance, it’s missing the following two coverage options:
No Collision Coverage: Collision coverage covers the cost of repairing your own vehicle after an accident you cause. Since you do not own a vehicle, you cannot obtain collision coverage on a non-owner car insurance policy.
No Comprehensive Coverage: Comprehensive coverage protects a vehicle from non-accident repairs and replacements. If your vehicle is vandalized, stolen, or broken into, for example, then your comprehensive coverage compensates you. Or, if your vehicle is damaged by a fire, flood, hail damage, or storm damage, then you make a claim through comprehensive coverage. Because you don’t own a vehicle, your non-owner insurance policy does not include comprehensive coverage.
Do I Need Non-Owner Car Insurance?
Non-owner car insurance is a smart idea for some drivers, but it’s unnecessary for other drivers.
Non-owner car insurance is ideal for drivers who frequently rent or borrow a vehicle and want to ensure adequate coverage. These vehicles should have their own insurance policy that functions as the primary layer of protection. However, if you are concerned about low coverage limits, want added protection when borrowing a vehicle, or want added peace of mind, then a non-owner car insurance policy may be the right choice.
Some people also buy non-owner car insurance when using rideshare services. If you regularly borrow a ZipCar, for example, then you might buy a non-owner insurance policy for added protection.
When Non-Owner Car Insurance is Not the Right Choice
Non-owner car insurance is not the right choice in every situation.
If you borrow a friend’s car and that friend has adequate insurance coverage, for example, then you may not need a non-owner car insurance policy. Some drivers have umbrella policies with $1 million of coverage or more, for example, that should extend to you whenever driving that vehicle.
Or, if you rent a car only once or twice per year, then a non-owner car insurance policy may not be worth it. You may be better off buying the rental car company’s collision damage waiver.
Most importantly, non-owner car insurance is not the right choice if you’re driving a vehicle registered to your own address. If you borrow your roommate’s vehicle, for example, or your dad’s car, then your non-owner car insurance coverage will not protect you. If you are living at the same address, then you need to be listed on that person’s policy – you cannot obtain a non-owner car insurance policy.
Similarly, you cannot use non-owner car insurance if you are the primary driver of a vehicle. If you drive a friend’s car 300 days of the year, for example, and your friend rarely drives it, then you should be considered the primary driver of that vehicle – and you may not be covered by a non-owner policy. In this case, the insurance company may require you to obtain an ordinary car insurance policy for that vehicle.
How Much Does Non-Owner Auto Insurance Cost?
According to Insure.com, the average cost of non-owner auto insurance, per year, in the United States is $474 per year. This, of course, depends on many factors including state laws, your individual driving history, how much coverage you need, etc. While $474 annually might seem expensive, realize that this only averages out to around $40 per month, which is much cheaper than a normal auto insurance policy.
Here is how this $474 annually breaks down by state:
|State||Average Annual Non-Owner Insurance Cost|
|District of Columbia||$521|
How to Obtain Non-Owner Car Insurance
Most major insurance companies, like GEICO, State Farm, Allstate, and The General, offer non-owner car insurance quotes. In many cases, you can obtain a non-owner car insurance quote online as easily as requesting an ordinary car insurance quote.
However, some insurers make you call an agent to request a non-owner policy.
In fact, some insurance companies, including Progressive, only offer non-owner car insurance policies to existing customers.
Other major insurance companies do not offer non-owner car insurance policies at all.
Final Word on Non-Owner Car Insurance
Non-owner car insurance is a type of insurance coverage for people who don’t own a vehicle – but still want protection when driving.
If you frequently rent or borrow a vehicle, for example, then non-owner car insurance could be the right choice for you. It adds coverage, provides an extra layer of protection, and gives you added peace of mind when driving someone else’s vehicle.