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When you drive someone else’s car, the owner’s auto insurance policy should cover you if you use the car with the owner’s permission. However, if you get into an accident and the damages exceed the amount specified by the owner’s liability coverage, you may be on the hook for a significant amount.

When this happens, the injured party could come after your assets — including your savings and home — to get the money you owe. Non-owner car insurance protects your financial health by increasing the amount of your total auto insurance coverage.

“It is designed for you to have an additional amount of coverage for liability purposes when driving a vehicle that you do not own. This, however, does not give a person a safety net to drive your friend’s car that is uninsured as there should be a base policy in place for the vehicle,” says Zack Pope, agency manager at David Pope Insurance in Missouri.

Non-owner insurance can also be helpful if you will be without a car for a period — for example, if you’re spending a year abroad — and want to maintain continuous insurance coverage to prevent higher rates in the future. This is helpful because insurers typically charge higher rates if your insurance coverage has lapsed recently.

Key Takeaways

  • Non-owner car insurance is liability-only coverage for drivers who want protection if they drive someone else’s car.
  • You may see an increase in rates by an average of about 14% a year if there is a lapse in coverage for up to 30 days.
  • A non-owner insurance policy is a type of liability coverage that provides you with bodily injury and property damage liability coverage

Our recommendation:

You should get non-owner car insurance if:

  • You don’t own a car
  • You drive cars owned by others or rent them
  • You’re required to have liability insurance to keep your license
  • You’re between cars and don’t want a lapse in coverage

You shouldn’t buy non-owner car insurance if:

  • You own a car
  • You no longer own a car, have surrendered you driver’s license and will not drive
  • You’re covered by a parent or guardian’s policy

What is non-owner car insurance?

Non-owner car insurance is liability-only coverage for drivers who don’t own a car. If you’re driving a car that someone else owns and cause an accident, it will pay for injuries and damage to others and their property in excess of the coverage on the car being driven.

Non-owner car insurance is typically secondary coverage, which means it is used if the car owner’s insurance falls short in paying for the repair and medical bills in an accident that’s your fault. The insurance policy on the car you’re borrowing will be used first, and then your non-owner policy kicks in if the damages exceed the car owner’s liability limits.

For example, let’s say your non-owner policy has $50,000 in property damage liability, and the owner of the car you’re driving has $25,000 in property damage liability. You borrow the car and cause an accident with $40,000 in property damages. Your friend’s policy would pay out $25,000, and your non-owner policy would cover the extra $15,000 because your limits are excess and you have coverage.

However, non-owner car insurance won’t cover damage to the car you’re driving or cover your injuries if you’re at fault for an accident.

Who should get non-owner car insurance?

You should buy non-owner car insurance if you don’t own a car and:

  • You rent vehicles
  • You drive someone else’s car or a company car
  • You need to keep continuous coverage while you don’t own a vehicle but plan to buy one soon
  • You are required by law to buy a liability policy to keep your driver’s license or need to file an SR-22

Non-owner car insurance can help you avoid a lapse in coverage if you’re driving frequently but don’t own a car, which will help you maintain the lowest possible premiums. Insurance companies frown upon interrupted coverage and may charge you higher premiums when you buy coverage again because their statistical models show that drivers who haven’t carried steady, uninterrupted insurance coverage tend to file more claims.

“For individuals that only drive a company car, getting a non-owners policy a minimum of six months before they get a personal car could potentially save them money on insurance for when they purchase their own car. It also provides them additional liability protection outside the employer’s base policy,” Pope says. But, note, the commercial auto policy does not provide coverage for employees unless it is endorsed to do so.

Non-owner SR-22 coverage will fill the state minimum liability coverage requirement if you don’t own a car but need insurance to keep your license. Compulsory insurance states, such as North Carolina, require all licensed drivers to have auto insurance whether they have a car or not.

“For that segment, the policy can be fairly expensive as the number of companies that offer it is fairly limited, but is worth having to avoid legal repercussions,” Pope says.

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Who doesn’t need non-owner car insurance?

You don’t need non-owner car insurance if:

  • You own a car that is already insured
  • You live with your parents and are already on their insurance policy
  • You only drive other people’s cars who have adequate limits

If you drive another person’s car, you’ll be covered by their insurance company as a permissive user. You don’t need non-owner car insurance in that situation as long as you know their limits are adequate.

How can I get car insurance without a car?

You can get car insurance without a car by buying non-owner car insurance. To get this policy, you must have a valid driver’s license, and you cannot own a car. Most insurers also mandate that you don’t have regular access to a car, such as a car owned by another household member. If someone in your home has a vehicle, you must be listed as a driver on that auto insurance policy.

As with a conventional policy, comparing car insurance quotes before buying a non-owner insurance policy is wise. You should compare non-owner car insurance quotes from at least three carriers to see who has the cheapest price for the coverage you want.

How much does non-owner insurance cost?

The average cost is $325 a year, according to an Insure.com analysis.

A non-owner policy costs significantly less than a typical insurance policy because non-owner drivers typically drive less than drivers who own their vehicles, reducing the chances they’ll be in an accident.

Which companies have the cheapest non-owner car insurance rates?

While non-owner insurance is generally cheaper than conventional policies, there are still significant price variations between carriers, particularly if you have a less-than-perfect driving record. You’ll see below how major carriers compare non-owner policy costs.

CompanyAverage monthly ratesAverage annual rates
Geico$28$333
USAA$15$177
State Farm$22$262
Progressive$45$536
Travelers$28$338
Nationwide$41$490
Farmers$41$494
Allstate$53$641

USAA has the cheapest non-owner car insurance rates but is only available to military families. If you don’t qualify, State Farm is the cheapest option at an average of $262 a year.

Non-owner car insurance rates by state

There are substantial cost differences depending on the state. Here are the most expensive and least expensive state averages for non-owner car insurance:

Most expensive states for non-owner car insurance:

  • Florida — $545
  • Rhode Island — $518
  • Michigan — $494

Least expensive states for non-owner car insurance: 

  • Iowa — $153
  • South Dakota — $170
  • Nebraska — $186

Find out how much non-owner car insurance costs in your state in the list below.

StateAverage non-owner car insurance cost
Alaska$260
Alabama$380
Arkansas$266
Arizona$396
California$299
Colorado$282
Connecticut$395
Washington D.C.$310
Delaware$344
Florida$545
Georgia$312
Hawaii$395
Iowa$153
Idaho$187
Illinois$279
Indiana$259
Kansas$274
Kentucky$375
Louisiana$330
Massachusetts$445
Maryland$438
Maine$238
Michigan$494
Minnesota$302
Missouri$358
Mississippi$321
Montana$299
North Carolina$470
North Dakota$209
Nebraska$186
New Hampshire$318
New Jersey$459
New Mexico$293
Nevada$446
New York$421
Ohio$214
Oklahoma$242
Oregon$441
Pennsylvania$263
Rhode Island$518
South Carolina$368
South Dakota$170
Tennessee$363
Texas$447
Utah$444
Virginia$290
Vermont$296
Washington$349
Wisconsin$230
West Virginia$367
Wyoming$215

Do non-owner car insurance rates vary by location?


The costs of a non-owner policy can vary from community to community. The table below shows the average rates offered to people living in different California and Florida cities.

In California, the state average for non-owner car insurance is $299.

California CityAverage non-owner insurance, monthlyAverage non-owner insurance, annually
Los Angeles$35$422
San Diego$25$298
San Jose$25$299
San Francisco$27$319
Fresno$26$307
Sacramento$27$326
Long Beach$30$357
Oakland$26$317
Bakersfield$25$303
Anaheim$28$341

In Florida, the state average for non-owner car insurance is $545. 

Florida CityAverage non-owner insurance, monthlyAverage non-owner insurance, annually
Jacksonville$43$512
Miami$57$687
Tampa$53$632
Orlando$45$539
St. Petersburg$48$572
Hialeah$58$694
Port St. Lucie$47$558
Cape Coral$39$464
Tallahassee$52$628
Fort Lauderdale$51$611

Best companies for non-owner car insurance

Some of the best car insurance companies in the nation offer non-owner car insurance. Based on Insure.com’s rating of car insurance companies and non-owner rates, these are our editors’ top three picks for non-owner car insurance.

  1. State Farm. Aside from USAA, State Farm has the cheapest non-owner car insurance rates and is one of our best car insurance companies for 2024, with a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars overall.
  2. Travelers. No. 3 on our list of best car insurance companies, Travelers also offers low rates for non-owner car insurance.
  3. Geico. With cheap rates for non-owner car insurance and a rating of 4.2 on our best car insurance companies ranking for 2024, Geico is a solid choice.

How much insurance goes up for a lapse in coverage

A rate analysis by Insure.com found that a lapse in coverage for a week up to 30 days will increase your rate by an average of about 14%, or about $269, a year when you go to get a new policy. A lapse of over 30 days is 22%, about $442 more a year. In some states, a lapse of over 30 days can be much more — 20% to 46%.

Some insurance companies won’t even take customers who can’t show six months of prior coverage, forcing drivers to shop from high-risk providers for as much as double the price. That said, some states don’t allow insurers to charge more if a lapse was due to overseas military service, hospitalization or unemployment. 

What is non-owner SR-22 insurance?

If you don’t own a car, but your high-risk driver profile requires you to file a proof-of-insurance certificate with your state — such as an SR-22 or FR-44 — a non-owner policy can fulfill the liability coverage requirement you need to keep your driver’s license.

There may even be instances of needing a non-owner policy when you own a vehicle. If you’re happy with your current auto insurance carrier but find yourself in need of a state filing — such as an SR-22 or FR-44 — and your current carrier doesn’t offer them, you can take out an additional policy just to satisfy the state’s requirement. These supplementary policies are generally inexpensive as they don’t cover your vehicle and can be set to your state’s minimum requirements.

What does non-owner insurance cover?

A non-owner insurance policy primarily covers:

Some car insurance companies also offer:

Your non-owner auto insurance may also cover you when you rent a vehicle and get into an accident. However, not all non-owner policies extend coverage to rental cars, so check the policy’s fine print before buying your policy.

If you borrow someone’s car and cause injury of damage, the vehicle owner’s car insurance pays out first. If it’s not enough to cover damages, your non-owner policy would then pay out as secondary coverage — provided your policy’s liability limit is high enough.

Insight: If the car owner’s liability limit is $10,000 for property damage, and you cause $17,000 in property damage in an accident, your non-owner insurance would cover the last $7,000.

However, remember that this pays for the car that you hit, not your friend’s car or your rental vehicle. A non-owner policy doesn’t include collision coverage, so it won’t cover repairs to the vehicle you were driving.

What isn’t covered by non-owner insurance?

Optional coverage types, such as comprehensive, collision, towing reimbursement, and rental reimbursement, are not available with non-owner policies since no vehicle is attached to the policy. There are typically no deductibles associated with non-owner car insurance.

Frequently asked questions

Do you need insurance to drive someone else’s car?

In general, you do not need insurance to drive any car, as long as you have permission to drive it and you only drive it occasionally. In such cases, accidents would be covered by the car owner’s policy.

However, if you share a home with someone with a car you borrow, you may need to be listed as a driver on the car owner’s policy. The insurance company may not cover an accident you cause while driving a car you borrowed from someone in the same household.

Do you need insurance if you don’t own a car?

Licensed drivers who don’t own a car and do not drive others do not need car insurance.

But you can get driver’s insurance without a car. If you have a license, do not own a car but regularly drive a car that belongs to someone else, you need non-owner insurance. Also, if you frequently rent cars, you may want to consider buying non-owner insurance to increase your protection. Non-owner liability car insurance will kick in if you get into an accident and the damages exceed the amount specified by the owner’s liability coverage.

Where can I get non-owner insurance?

Many major providers offer non-owner car insurance. Here is a list:

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

Who has the cheapest non-owner car insurance?

In our most recent review, USAA had the lowest average annual rates for non-owner car insurance at $177 a year. State Farm is second at $262 per year.

Methodology

Insure.com commissioned non-owner car insurance rates in 2023 from Quadrant Data Services in all states. Rates are based on a 40-year-old driver with a clean driving record and good credit.

expert

What our expert says

Q: What is non-owner car insurance and how much protection does it offer?

expert-image
Zack PopeAgency manager, David Pope Insurance in Missouri.
"It is designed for you to have an additional amount of coverage for liability purposes when driving a vehicle that you do not own. This, however, does not give a person a safety net to drive your friend's car that is uninsured as there should be a base policy in place for the vehicle.”
How much is non owner car insurnace in your state?

When it comes to non-owner car insurance, rates can vary significantly depending on where you live. This type of insurance is ideal for individuals who do not own a vehicle but still need liability coverage when driving rental cars or borrowing someone else’s vehicle. Below, you'll find the average annual cost of non-owner car insurance in various states across the U.S.

Alabama $364/Year
Alaska $233/Year
Arizona $325/Year
Arkansas $232/Year
California $323/Year
Colorado $287/Year
Connecticut $422/Year
Delaware $720/Year
Florida $671/Year
Georgia $373/Year
Hawaii $407/Year
Idaho $190/Year
Illinois $286/Year
Indiana $263/Year
Iowa $193/Year
Kansas $255/Year
Kentucky $484/Year
Louisiana $366/Year
Maine $235/Year
Maryland $285/Year
Massachusetts $449/Year
Michigan $574/Year
Minnesota $257/Year
Mississippi $302/Year
Missouri $315/Year
Montana $230/Year
Nebraska $187/Year
Nevada $414/Year
New Hampshire $246/Year
New Jersey $993/Year
New Mexico $289/Year
New York $578/Year
North Carolina $989/Year
North Dakota $220/Year
Ohio $198/Year
Oklahoma $168/Year
Oregon $450/Year
Pennsylvania $216/Year
Rhode Island $476/Year
South Carolina $435/Year
South Dakota $170/Year
Tennessee $251/Year
Texas $408/Year
Utah $436/Year
Vermont $266/Year
Virginia $297/Year
Washington $270/Year
West Virginia $293/Year
Wisconsin $248/Year
Wyoming $216/Year
author image
Leslie Kasperowicz
Managing Editor

 
  

Leslie Kasperowicz is an insurance educator and content creation professional with nearly two decades of experience first directly in the insurance industry at Farmers Insurance and then as a writer, researcher, and educator for insurance shoppers writing for sites like ExpertInsuranceReviews.com and InsuranceHotline.com and managing content, now at Insurance.com.