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What is non-owner car insurance?


You don’t own a car, but that doesn’t mean you don’t drive. Among the many types of car insurance, non-owner car insurance is the one for you.

Non-owner car insurance is often used by high-risk drivers who are required to buy a liability policy to keep a driver’s license. But it is also used by drivers who don’t own cars and rent frequently or are trying to keep continuous coverage.

A non-owner policy will generally cost much less than an owner’s policy. The average cost of a non-owners policy is $474. The low rate is because insurance company risk is lower than that of a car owner who drives on a daily basis. The premium amount is, however, dependent upon normal rating factors, such as your driving record and where you live, so you could pay much more than that.

Guidelines vary, but typically an insurer will require that:

  • You have a valid driver’s license.
  • You do not own a vehicle.
  • Some insurers also require that no one in your household owns a vehicle and that you do not have regular access to a vehicle.

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Now, let's look at how may benefit from a non-owner policy and how much does it cost by state. 

Why would you want a non-owner policy? 
What does a non-owner policy cover?
Who should not buy non-owner car insurance?
How much does non-owner car insurance cost?
How do I buy a non-owner policy?

Why would you want a non-owner policy?

Here are four instances when you may want a non-owner car insurance policy: 

  • As a car renter, the policy serves as primary liability coverage, though you would still need to buy the collision damage waiver (CDW) to pay for repairs to the rental car if your credit card company does not automatically do so.
  • As someone trying to maintain continuous coverage, you are avoiding a gap in your insurance history that would get you labeled as a high-risk driver and result in higher rates when you do buy your next car (and insurance policy).
  • As a high-risk driver, the policy is typically needed to satisfy conditions to receive or reinstate a driver’s license. If you are required to file an SR-22 or FR-44 with the state -- an insurance company’s guarantee that your coverage is current -- a non-owner SR-22 insurance policy can satisfy that mandate even if you don’t own a car.
  • You may own a car, but want to buy non-owner insurance to fulfill state obligations for SR-22 or FR-44 filings. For example, let's say you have a car and you're satisfied with your current insurer, but you need to file an SR-22 or FR-44 and your current car insurance company does not provide this service. You can purchase a separate non-owner policy with another carrier to meet your filing requirements. The extra cost is typically very low because the supplemental non-owner policy isn't covering your car.

What does a non-owner policy cover?

Coverage under a non-owner policy includes:

  • Bodily injury liability
  • Property damage liability

Some insurers also offer as part of a non-owner policy:

  • Medical payments coverage
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage
  • Underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage

Because a car is not attached to a non-owner policy, you will NOT be offered the following types of coverage:

  • Collision
  • Comprehensive
  • Rental reimbursement
  • Towing and labor
  • Custom parts and equipment coverage

A non-owner policy will not pay for repairs to a car that you borrow. In fact, if you borrow a friend’s car, you need to verify that the owner has a policy that will extend to you as primary coverage. Your non-owner coverage would pay only in the event that the owner’s coverage limits are reached, and then, only to cover the damages inflicted on the person or vehicle you hit.

Who should not buy non-owner car insurance?

A non-owner personal auto insurance policy isn’t for you if:

  • You own a car. In this case, purchase a standard owner’s policy.
  • There is a vehicle in your household. Normally, in this situation you would be required to be placed on the car owner’s policy as a driver to be covered instead of obtaining a non-owner policy of your own. This is especially true if your spouse owns a vehicle, since an insurer may consider that vehicle your property to insure as well.
  • You drive a car on a regular basis. If you don’t own a car but drive someone else’s on a frequent basis, you should be added to that person’s policy as a driver. If you're in full possession of the vehicle, find an insurer that will allow you to place a regular auto insurance policy on that vehicle.
  • You are using a vehicle for business use. A commercial non-owner policy, offered by companies such as Progressive, may be better suited for this need.
  • You don’t have a driver’s license and cannot obtain one within 30 days of starting a non-owner policy.

How much does non-owner car insurance cost?

Non-owner car insurance is cheaper than normal insurance, but the costs vary from company to company. Costs tend to range from 10 percent to 80 percent of the price you'd pay for a standard auto policy, says Jarrett Dunbar, a spokesman for Nationwide. Dunbar points out that "much depends on how often the customer has access to a car, how that car will be used and what age the operator is."

There can be significant cost differences by state and even city. Here's a look at the average costs for non-owner car insurance by state:

StateAverage non-owner car insurance cost
Alabama$519
Alaska$300
Arizona$491
Arkansas$490
California$286
Colorado$381
Connecticut$901
Delaware$869
District of Columbia$521
Florida$902
Georgia$637
Hawaii$443
Idaho$264
Illinois$335
Indiana$308
Iowa$246
Kansas$342
Kentucky$415
Louisiana$810
Maine$280
Maryland$788
Massachusetts$664
Michigan$1,073
Minnesota$655
Mississippi$322
Missouri$361
Montana$331
Nebraska$283
Nevada$695
New Hampshire$457
New Jersey$1,090
New Mexico$337
New York$483
North Carolina$406
North Dakota$340
Ohio$310
Oklahoma$320
Oregon$524
Pennsylvania$483
Rhode Island$972
South Carolina$351
South Dakota$235
Tennessee$456
Texas$528
Utah$656
Vermont$394
Virginia$290
Washington$283
West Virginia$450
Wisconsin$171
Wyoming$300

The average non-owner cost for California is $286. However, depending on your location, you may pay closer to $200 or nearly $400. Here's how the costs compare between cities in California:

CityAverage non-owner car insurance cost
Anaheim$299
Bakersfield$279
Chula Vista$238
Fremont$250
Fresno$279
Garden Grove$293
Glendale$386
Huntington Beach$301
Irvine$279
Long Beach$304
Los Angeles$351
Modesto$288
Oakland$285
Oceanside$252
Ontario$290
Oxnard$284
Pomona$303
Riverside$296
Sacramento$302
Salinas$220
San Bernardino$298
San Diego$243
San Francisco$282
San Jose$248
Santa Ana$306
Santa Clarita$305
Santa Rosa$246
Stockton$293

How do I buy a non-owner policy?

You apply for a non-owner policy in the same manner you would for an owner’s policy. Not all auto insurance providers offer non-owner policies because this is considered a non-standard policy.

You can contact local independent agents who have access to multiple non-standard carriers or contact your state’s insurance regulator for consumer information on companies offering non-owner policies.

If you have a non-owner policy and you purchase a vehicle, you will need to let your insurer know immediately to change your policy over to an owner’s policy that will cover your new car -- or else you’ll be without coverage on the vehicle.


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4 Responses to "What is non-owner car insurance?"
  1. Susan P. Ford

    I am sub-contracted driver who on any given day will be in between 10 to 15 different vehicles a day. Although the company whom I am currently working with provides their own insurance I feel that non-owner insurance would be a good idea just as a precaution.

      Reply»  
  2. ramon

    I am a missionary based in Mexico. I go to California twice a year for a total stay of about 45 days. I usually rent a car during my stay. I have a California driver's license. I don't have a car in the U.S. or in Mexico. Am I qualified for a non-owner car insurance policy? Is it cheaper for me to get one?

      Reply»  
  3. Tonia H

    I am sub-contracted driver who on any given day will be in between 10 to 15 different vehicles a day. Although the company whom I am currently working with provides their own insurance I feel that non-owner insurance would be a good idea just as a precaution. Can you help me find the best policy for this type of precaution?

      Reply»  
  4. Dawn Gullikson

    I would like to get non owner's insurance policy. I need SR22 to get my license back. Please send quotes, would like to do very quickly. My credit history is average (619). Would like to buy a car soon, so may need to then change the policy.

      Reply»  
Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided are for information purposes. They are not intended to substitute informed professional advice. These responses should not be interpreted as a recommendation to buy or sell any insurance product, or to provide financial or legal advice. Please refer to your insurance policy for specific coverage and exclusion information. Please read our Terms of Service.

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