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What is the difference between an operators policy and an owners policy?

Insurance companies' policies and classifications of drivers can differ, but individual automobile insurance policies are generally classified as either: owner's policies, operator's policies or some combination of the two.

Usually this distinction is used when a company is required to file an SR22 with state, on your behalf. The company needs to know which filing fits your situation.

  • Owner-Operator SR22 filing - Provides coverage to the vehicle listed on the policy and to the vehicles you drive that are not owned by you or a member of your household.
  • Operator SR22 filing - Provides coverage when you do not own a vehicle. It covers you when you drive any car or truck not owned by you or a member of your household. Sometimes referred to as a non-owners policy.
  • Owner SR22 Filing:
    Provides coverage when you own a car. Coverage is limited to only the car listed on the policy.

The basic difference between an owner's policy and an operator's policy is that with an owner's policy it protects the owner as the named insured. An owner's policy also normally protects any other person using the insured vehicle with the owner's permission. It doesn't protect against liability resulting from the use of a motor vehicle not described in the policy though.

An operator's policy, on the other hand, protects the named insured against liability arising from the use of any motor vehicle. So an operator's policy is different than standard owner's liability insurance. This insurance coverage insures the driver or operator, not the car. In other words, the driver or operator would be insured no matter what vehicle was driven. This insurance coverage would not cover another driver or person using your car with or without your consent.

You can learn more about insurance terms by reviewing our glossary and coverage definition pages. See our coverage calculator to determine what types of auto insurance may best fit your needs.

Currently the best way to obtain an SR-22 filing with us is by contacting our call center toll-free at 1-855-430-7753. Our agents will help you obtain a quote for the coverage you need.

We work with insurers such as Direct General, Esurance, Infinity, Progressive and QBE for SR-22 filings. Not all insurance companies do business in all states, though.  Most companies can provide immediate proof of insurance via e-mail or fax. Processing of SR-22 requests depends mostly on whether your state accepts filings electronically.

This type of policy is typically deemed to be high-risk, so there may be limitations compared with a standard personal auto insurance policy. You should consider our standard quote request procedure if you believe you are not considered a high-risk driver.


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