While it may sound odd, you can indeed get car insurance even if you don’t actually own a car nor drive a vehicle on a regular basis.
Car insurance companies offer non-owner policies because the industry is aware that there are certain situations where a person may need to carry car insurance but doesn't have a vehicle to place on the policy. The average cost of a non-owner policy is $474.
Typically, a need for a non-owner policy arises because:
- A person is mandated by the state to obtain a car insurance policy, but that individual doesn't have a car.
- Someone who doesn't own a car wants car insurance coverage for when he or she occasionally operates non-owned vehicles, such as a rental car.
In your situation, it would appear a state regulatory entity is requiring you to have an insurer certify that you have the ability to pay future auto accident claims (up to the certain mandated limits) by the means of a SR-22 form being filed.
A SR-22 can only be filed by car insurance companies after you have obtained at least the state-mandated coverages as part of a car insurance policy -- and can be required whether you own a car or not.
How does non-owner SR-22 car insurance work?
Technically there is no such thing as "non-owner SR-22 car insurance," as the SR-22 is the form you file to verify financial responsibility and the insurance associated with it would be a non-owner policy. Still, the end result is that you have insurance and state-mandated forms in place to comply with the laws for such a situation.
States can mandate certain non-car owners to obtain car insurance and carry an SR-22 to verify financial responsibility because state agencies are aware that it’s possible for these individuals to be negligent and harm other people and their property while driving, even if the car they’re operating isn’t owned by them.
A non-owner policy is confusing to some, but it shouldn’t be. It’s not a coverage but instead a policy description for when you have car insurance but don't own a car to insure.
Each state is different, but as a general rule a non-owner car insurance policy won’t cover you for a vehicle registered to you, one in your household, or a vehicle provided for your regular and frequent use, so don’t purchase a non-owner policy if any of these scenarios apply.
Some believe this policy type is the magic bullet of coverage; it’s not. A non-owner policy only covers liability up to the limits purchased and this coverage is usually secondary to that of the auto insurance policy of the actual car owner. So, if you borrow a friend's car to drive, the car owner's policy will be primary.
A non-owner policy will normally include:
- Bodily injury liability
- Property damage liability
Depending upon the state in which you live and the car insurance company you’re using, you may also be able to include on the policy other types of car insurance coverage, including:
- Medical payments
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury
- Underinsured motorist bodily injury
A non-owner policy doesn’t offer physical damage coverages of collision or comprehensive, so any car that you do drive isn’t covered in any way by your non-owner policy if you damage it.
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.
If at any time during your policy period, you purchase a car, you’ll need to alert your car insurance carrier immediately so that you can change your policy over to an owner’s policy. If you fail to inform your auto insurer of the change and you’re in an accident, coverages under the non-owner policy may be denied.