Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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In a nutshell...

  • While car insurance is traditionally tied to a car, there are coverage options that you can get without owning a vehicle
  • If you operate a borrowed car, such as a friend’s vehicle, then non-owner coverage may be an option
  • This coverage type provides liability protection to you for any damages or injuries you may be responsible for

Owning a car is not always a necessity, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need insurance.

Many people borrow cars from their friends or family members, meaning that you need to make sure you are protected in the event of an accident.

Whether you’re borrowing a car, renting a car, or using a car sharing service, it’s important to have the proper insurance for your needs.

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You May Get Non-owner Coverage Without Owning a Car

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Owning a car is not always a necessity in the modern world, especially with public transit and ride-sharing services.

In these scenarios, it’s important to have proper insurance coverage in the event of an accident. Non-owner auto insurance may be the best insurance coverage to fit your needs.

The non-owner policy works by providing liability coverage for you when operating a rented or borrowed car; regardless of whether you own a car or not.

A non-owner policy may also provide coverage for medical bills or damages caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.

Coverage works differently in every state, based on state regulations, and may require research before operating a non-owned vehicle.

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You May Need Insurance If You Plan To Rent a Car

If you are renting a car but do not own a car, then you may need to get insurance coverage to operate the rental.

In these situations, if you do not have non-owner coverage, then you may have to get insurance coverage from the rental agency.

Rental car insurance is coverage provided by most rental agencies in the event you do not have any current coverage.

If you have non-owner car insurance, then you may still need rental car coverage if you damage the rented vehicle.

You May Need To Get Insurance If You Use Car Sharing Services

Car sharing services, such as Zipcar, offer vehicle solutions for those that do not own a personal vehicle of their own.

In these instances, however, it may be important to purchase an insurance policy to provide additional coverage.

What this means is that any costs associated with property damage or an accident would fall on you once that limit is reached.

Also, if you happen to be under the age of 21, then limits for car sharing services might be even lower, as drivers under the age of 21 are often more costly to insure.

You May Need To Get Insurance Based On Your Driving Record

In some states, your driving record may have an impact on your required insurance. If a driving record has multiple DUI convictions, this may result in your license being suspended.

In this situation, many insurance providers may be unwilling to provide insurance coverage to a high-risk driver; making it hard to obtain a vehicle as well.

Due to this, some states require a non-owner policy for drivers with a problematic record, similar to an SR-22 Financial Responsibility Certification.

This allows the state to ensure that drivers on the road have some level of protection, in the event of another accident.

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Choosing the Policy That’s Right for You

While many auto insurance policies tend to provide coverage to a car, there are options available for you when you don’t own a car.

Non-owner insurance coverage is one of the most common options, but you can get coverage in other situations as well.

If you are in a situation where you are required to have non-owner coverage, it’s important to abide by any requirements as accurately as possible.

In the event that you are unable to find an insurance provider willing to meet your coverage needs, contact your state’s Department of Insurance for guidance.

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