If you're required to carry an SR-22 but don't own a vehicle, you need to buy a non-owner car insurance policy.

While it may sound odd, you can indeed get auto insurance even if you don't actually own a car or drive a vehicle regularly.

What is non-owner SR-22 insurance?

Car insurance companies offer non-owner policies because the industry is aware that there are certain situations where a person may need to carry auto insurance but doesn't have a vehicle to place on the policy.

Typically, a need for a non-owner policy arises because:

  • A person is mandated by the state to obtain an auto insurance policy, but that individual doesn't have a car.
  • Someone who doesn't own a car wants car insurance coverage when they occasionally operate non-owned vehicles, such as a rental car.

If you have been convicted of a DUI, or other serious traffic violation, a state regulatory entity often requires an insurer to certify that you can pay future auto accident claims (up to the certain mandated limits) by means of an SR-22 form being filed.

When is an SR-22 required?

According to Andrew Head, Certified Financial Planner and professor at Western Kentucky University, "the SR-22 is a certificate of insurance.

While all motorists are required to carry certain minimum liability insurance limits to be able to drive, individuals who have committed serious driving offenses (DUI, reckless driving, multiple at-fault accidents, driving without insurance and/or on a suspended license) may be required to file an SR22 with their DMV in order to keep their license, regardless of whether they own a vehicle."

Andrew Head Assistant Professor of Finance

Some of the reasons your state may require an SR-22 certificate of financial responsibility include, but aren't limited to, the following:

  • Failure to carry liability insurance on your vehicle
  • A conviction for driving without insurance
  • Driving uninsured and being involved in a motor vehicle accident
  • DUI, DWI or other major alcohol offense convictions
  • Serious moving violation (such as reckless driving) convictions
  • Accumulating too many DMV points
  • Being termed a habitual traffic offender
  • Needing to apply for a hardship or probationary permit (while license is suspended)
  • Reinstating your license after a suspension or revocation

How does non-owner SR-22 car insurance work?

Technically there is no such thing as "non-owner SR-22 insurance."

An SR-22 is the form you file to verify financial responsibility and the non-owner policy is the insurance you may need if you don't own a car. Still, the result is that you have insurance and state-mandated forms to comply with the laws for such a situation.

States can mandate non-car owners to obtain car insurance and carry an SR-22 to verify financial responsibility. That's 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 they don't own the car they're operating.

What does non-owner SR-22 insurance cover?

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 typically 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

What is not covered under a non-owner insurance policy?

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.

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.

How to cancel non-owner SR 22

Suppose at any time during your policy period, you purchase a car. In that case, you'll need to alert your car insurance carrier immediately so that you can cancel your non-owners auto insurance policy and get a standard auto insurance 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.

Getting SR22 insurance without a car - FAQ's

To purchase a non-owners policy, you must first meet certain conditions. An insurance company will generally 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.

Next, you would shop for a non-owner policy the same way you would for a standard policy. However, not all carriers offer non-owner coverage.

You'll next need to have an SR22 filed on your behalf. The insurance company will do this for you. Auto insurance companies can only file an SR-22 after you have obtained at least the state-mandated coverages as part of your non-owner car insurance policy.

Once you have the SR-22 filed, you'll need to maintain the related insurance coverage for the state-mandated period of time. The time period varies, but most commonly, it's for three years.

The following companies sell non-owners policies, both with and without an SR-22. So, this is an excellent list to start with:

  • State Farm
  • Dairyland
  • The General
  • Safe Auto
  • Direct
  • Infinity
  • Allstate
  • Progressive
  • Geico

Here are some of the lowest annual rates we found from the insurance companies surveyed:

  • Geico: $311
  • State Farm: $408
  • Progressive: $576
  • Alllstate: $638

The best way to get cheap SR-22 non-owner insurance quotes is to do what you would to find a low-cost standard policy – compare car insurance quotes from multiple companies.

If you are buying a new auto insurance policy, be sure to ask if the company files SR-22 forms before you spend time getting a quote. Even though you’ll pay more for coverage attached to an SR-22, you can still save by comparison shopping.

A non-owner insurance policy will generally cost much less than an owner’s policy on its own, but with an SR22, it will cost much more.

The average cost of a non-owners policy with an SR22 for one DUI conviction is $1,752, based on a rate analysis by CarInsurance.com Senior Consumer Analyst Penny Gusner.

However, if you are filing an SR22 for a traffic conviction other than a DUI, for instance, a license suspension or driving uninsured, it may be less.

According to Certified Financial Planner and professor, Andrew Head there are some simple ways to avoid needing an SR22.

"Recognize first that the requirement of an SR22 is no trivial thing; the state is requiring this 'super verification' of coverage because you have been deemed very high risk. This most often involved driving in a way that puts other people's lives in jeopardy.

While an SR-22 may be required for a driver that 'was being safe but just didn't have auto insurance,' it is important to realize that this, too, is reckless. Even the safest drivers among us are prone to mistakes, and even little ones can result in devastating consequences to others.

Simply choosing to drive at all always poses a risk to others: doing so without insurance can mean adding possibly ruinous financial hardship to an innocent person already reeling from an injury."

Andrew offers this advice, "think of an SR-22 as a second chance instead of a punishment. The state is allowing you to drive, despite a past mistake."

In other words, to avoid being in the situation to need SR 22 insurance, to begin with, take your responsibility as a driver very seriously.

Maintain adequate auto insurance coverage and drive responsibly. But if you are already in this situation, use it as an opportunity for a second chance at responsible driving.