Non-owner Car Insurance: Do You Really Need It?
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UPDATED: Nov 5, 2019
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Non-owner car insurance covers people who may occasionally drive a car, but do not own one. Normal car insurance covers drivers when they borrow someone else’s car, but if you do not own a car, you may not have enough liability insurance when driving.
Non-owner coverage is secondary coverage, which means it will apply on top of any other primary liability insurance. When the limits of the primary policy have been exhausted, your non-owner policy will kick in and provide additional coverage.
A normal non-owner policy consists of bodily injury and property damage liability coverage, and some companies may also offer medical and uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage as well.
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Situations when Non-owner Insurance Makes Sense
Not everyone needs a non-owner policy, but if you do not have regular access to a vehicle and do not live with the person providing the vehicle, then the following situations may be good candidates for a non-owner policy.
- You live in an apartment and work three blocks away and parking is non-existent at best. It just doesn’t make sense to own a car. But you occasionally borrow your best friend’s vehicle to drive upstate for the weekend.
- If you rent a car or use a car-sharing service like Zipcar or car2go, you may need to have your own liability coverage.
- If you were previously convicted of a DUI or other serious violation that requires an SR-22 or FR-44 filing and you don’t own a car, you will need a non-owner policy in order to satisfy the financial responsibility filing.
- If you no longer own a car, it’s still a good idea to maintain coverage by purchasing a non-owner policy. Having a lapse in coverage may cost you more the next time you buy a policy.
- If you are provided a company vehicle and do not own another car, you may not have coverage when using your company car for personal reasons.
It’s important to note that drivers may have liability coverage when renting a car or using a car-sharing service, so it’s important to read the fine print and see exactly what coverage is already provided.
In situations where you live with the person whose car you borrow, or if you have regular access to a vehicle, it’s better if you are added as a driver on their auto insurance policy rather than buying your own non-owner policy.
What Does Non-Owner Insurance Cover?
Non-owner insurance covers bodily injury and property damage that you are legally responsible for. For example, if you cause a four-car pile up while driving your friend’s car, your non-owner policy would pay for damages after his or her liability insurance limit has been reached.
If your friend forgot to pay their insurance bill and allowed their coverage to lapse, then your non-owner policy would be primary coverage for the damages.
Liability insurance covers not only property damage to other vehicles, but also pays medical bills, legal bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages. These can easily add up in a severe accident, and many states do not require drivers to carry high limits of liability.
In California and Arizona for example, drivers are only required to have 15/30 limits, which means $15,000 in bodily injury coverage per person or $30,000 per occurrence. These low limits can easily be exhausted in even a minor accident. And if you do not know what the liability limits are on the vehicle you are driving, it could be financially disastrous.
If your non-owner policy also offers medical and UM/UIM coverage, then you will have coverage for your own medical bills in the event of an accident, as well as coverage if other drivers do not have adequate liability limits on their own policy.
Which Companies Sell Non-owner Car Insurance?
Not every car insurance company offers non-owner insurance, so it’s not quite as easy to compare quotes for it. The companies listed below offer some form of non-owner coverage and can be visited for more information.
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