Question: I want to get a driver’s license, but I don’t have a car. I think I need to show proof of insurance for this. Do I need to buy insurance to cover my friend’s car that I am borrowing to take the road exam? She already has insurance on it herself.

Answer: State laws vary, but typically before being allowed to take a road test to qualify for your driver’s license, you’ll be required to show proof of car insurance. However, a policy of your own may not be needed since you’re borrowing an insured vehicle – as long as that insurance extends to you and your state doesn’t require insurance to be in your name.

When borrowing a car, it’s important to know that auto insurance follows the car, not the driver. So, while you could purchase a non-owner car insurance policy, it’s unnecessary. It would provide secondary coverage to the car owner’s primary auto insurance coverage.

The car owner’s policy is what would cover a car accident that occurred during the road test. A non-owner policy would kick in to cover any damages beyond the limits of the owner’s policy.

Most car insurance policies will cover permissive drivers, but it’s always a good idea to ask the insurance company first.

Also, if you’re going to be regularly driving her car, she should check to see if she’s required to add you as an occasional driver to the policy for you to be adequately covered.

Making sure that the car owner’s policy extends to you for the road test is one step. The next step is to find out what exact proof of insurance you need to show for the road test.

In most states, you must provide proof of car insurance before starting the road test. Here are a few of the possible ways to show proof of insurance (state laws vary):

  • A document with the liability insurance policy or surety bond number.
  • An Assigned Risk insurance card with the name of the assigned insurance company, file number, and current coverage dates.
  • Current insurance binder or copy of an insurance policy signed or countersigned by an insurance company representative.
  • Rental car contract if the driver is listed on the contract as the insured.
  • DMV-issued certificate of self-insurance or acknowledgment of cash deposit.
  • Written confirmation from the insurer that the person is insured.

In some states, the law requires that the insurance be in your name.

In North Carolina, for example, the law requires that you submit proof of auto insurance by means of an original liability insurance policy with your name on it (or form an insurer can use DL-123 to verify information).

Confirm with your state’s licensing office what type of car insurance is needed for your driving test.  If you find that you must have insurance in your own name to obtain a license, then a non-owners policy would be necessary. Otherwise, it’s not essential – but it could come in handy if you plan on borrowing cars from time to time to get around.

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Contributing Writer

Prachi is an insurance writer with a master’s degree in business administration. Through her writing, she hopes to help readers make smart and informed decisions about their finances. She loves to travel and write poetry.